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The Route Napoléon

Napoleon, Return from Elba

And the Eagle will fly from steeple to steeple, all the way to the towers of Notre-Dame.

Napoleon I is without doubt one of the world’s best-known figures.
What a dazzling destiny in less than 20 years! Endowed with exceptional intellectual faculties, a charismatic and ambitious leader of men, he changed the face of the political world. After the terrible Russian campaign and the famous Berezina, the Treaty of Fontainebleau put an end to his reign, condemning him to exile on the island of Elba with an annuity that was never paid out, while retaining his title of emperor.
The unpopularity of the Bourbons and the misunderstanding of the Allies encouraged him to attempt an incredible adventure.

Disembarking on March 1, 1815 at Golfe Juan with a thousand men, he crossed the distrustful, even hostile Provence to Sisteron, where everything could have come to a halt.
The crossing of the Dauphiné is a series of favorable welcomes all the way to Laffrey. There, waiting for the troops sent by King Louis XVIII to arrest him. The soldiers give in at the first words of the deposed Emperor and follow him, as they did on the first day.
At the gates of Grenoble on March 7, the adventurer became a Prince again, in his own words. He continued on to Paris, joined by many nostalgic and enthusiastic soldiers and Marshal Ney in Auxerre. He resumed power on March 20 for the “Hundred Days” until June 18, 1815. Defeated at Waterloo and abandoned by the Chamber, he was forced to abdicate once again on June 22, 1815, and was exiled to St. Helena, where he died on May 5, 1821.

The Route Napoléon, created in 1930, recalls this fantastic epic. It crosses 4 départements: Alpes Maritimes, Var, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Isère.

Numerous documents, guides and books are available from Tourist Offices and bookshops.

The Route Napoléon by car

The section of the Route Napoléon from Peyroules to Barrême, passing through Castellane, where the emperor slept, and the Col des Lèques, offers a unique experience following in the footsteps of Napoléon Bonaparte.

For this section, the current road follows the Emperor’s route.

The route is a captivating combination of history and breathtaking scenery. From Peyroules, the road winds through the mountains, offering spectacular views. Castellane is a charming medieval town, with cobbled streets and picturesque surroundings.
Continuing towards the Col des Leques, the landscape rises with enchanting panoramas of forests and alpine meadows. Historical relics along the way are a reminder of the region’s milestones.

This adventure offers a journey through the region’s history, culture and natural beauty.

The Route Napoléon on foot or on horseback

The Route Napoléon can be explored both on foot and on horseback.

The ” Route Napoléon à pied ” itinerary is a Grande Randonnée (GR®) hiking trail.
406) running 165 km from Grasse to Sisteron. This route is described in detail in the FFRandonnée topoguide.

The ” Route Napoléon à cheval ” is a 350 km long equestrian trail linking Grasse
in Vizille (Isère).
This Grand Itinéraire Equestre crosses 4 départements.
It is described in a guidebook and on the website.

In the Alpes de Haute-Provence region, these routes are common in their entirety, with the exception of a few sectors where a small equestrian variant has been fitted out to avoid tricky sections, and the Volonne – Sisteron sector where the equestrian route passes through the village of Peipin.

For fans of historical walks!