Gap, Isère, Thursday June 29, 2017
The road that goes from Grenoble to Nice ( see chart below) is called the route Napoleon. Why? In 1814 Napoleon , having been flat beaten by the coalition led by the Brits, was sent to exile on the island of Elba, between Corsica and Italy. Bad idea: it was only a stone’s throw from the French Riviera and the devilish man , chomping at the bite to reconquer his imperial throne, was not long to arm a few vessels and to land in Juan les pins with 1200 men, with a view to overthrow the newly restored monarchy under King Louis XVIII. From Golfe Juan he headed north, passing through the southern Alps to reach Grenoble. This route was chosen because of its remoteness, and therefore the chance that his small army would avoid hostile royalists. From Grenoble he subsequently continued to Lyon and then Paris, acclaimed all along by crowds of enthusiastic supporters joining his army. The adventure , called ” the Eagle’s flight” by the Napoleonic legend, was not to last more than 100 days. Napoleon was sent back to exile, this time in the island of Sainte Helene in southern Atlantic, where he died soon after.
The ” route Napoleon ” today is a large scenic road punctuated with memorials of Napoleon’s last glorious flight