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Napoleon monuments in Paris

3-5 HOURS
440 total points

Since you have already succumbed to the desire to come to Paris like several million tourists, why not take an interest in the most famous of the French, Napoleon Bonaparte? It is not so much his life that you shall discover this time, a biographical research on the Internet would easily do the trick, but his long-lasting influence on Paris architecture and urban planning. You will discover six different places located in the most beautiful districts of Paris city centre and walk about three hours and fifteen kilometres. Prepare your shoes and your camera.

Palais Brongniart, Paris - Kinto
ArchitectureHistory

Palais Brongniart

50 points

Let's start our ride in the heart of Paris, in the second « arrondissement ». I decided to start here for the Palais Brongniart really defines Napoleon's contribution to Paris and France. While he is mostly remembered for his rôle as a military chief, Bonaparte also acted as a great builder and a great thinker whose obsession with both Antiquity and modernity has had a very deep impact on the way Paris and the French introduce themselves to the world. This palace, like many other Napoleonic ones, is a perfect example of Parisian neo-classicism. It is basically a 69m x 41m rectangle with Corinthian columns inspired by the Palazzo di Vespasiano in Rome. Napoleon ordered it to house the Paris Stock Exchange, which it actually did until the 1990ies, but also to reflect France's consciousness of the importance of the industrial revolution. Today, the Palais Brongniart gives free rein to artists and serves as a convention centre, so you will not visit it, unless you decide to throw a major party there !

Useful information:

Address: 28 Place de la Bourse, 75002 Paris, France

Colonne Vendôme, Paris - Kinto
ArchitectureHistory

Colonne Vendôme

50 points

Like you, Napoleon won many battles in his lifetime, but unlike you, I suppose, he immodestly decided to commemorate them in different ways, not the least by constructing amazing monuments as in the case of the Vendôme Column. This 44-metre high column was indeed erected to pay tribute to the Battle of Austerlitz and provocatively made out of bronze metal coming from 130 canons that belonged to the defeated Russian and Austrian armies. The frescos are my favourite part of the column, although I also like the Napoleon statue you see at the top. It is actually the third one to be installed up there: - The first one was placed between 1810 and 1814 and then removed by Louis XVIII - The second one has stood for thirty years (1833-1863) before being transferred to the Hôtel des Invalides (you will see it later) - The current one dates back to 1871. You may wish to shop in one of the jewellery shops the place Vendôme is worldwide famous for, but don't stay loo long, our journey is just starting.

La Madeleine church, Paris - Kinto
ArchitectureHistory

La Madeleine church

50 points

Not far from place Vendôme and a few footsteps from the Place de la Concorde, here is la Madeleine. This neoclassical piece of art is a complete restitution of both the Olympiaion in Athens and the Maison Carrée in Nîmes, so you can spare your trip down there. While the construction stretched over 85 years until 1845, the church acquired its definitive dimensions and shape yet under Napoleon. It had various purposes throughout history (it was even meant to become Paris first railway station!) and hosts today the funerals of prominent cultural figures from Edith Piaf to Coco Chanel to Johnny Hallyday (the French Elvis without the blue suede shoes). I guess one of the strongest assets of la Madeleine is its location, just in front of the National Assembly, and most of all in the middle of luxury shops and Paris finest patisseries 🎂🎂. Who wants a madeleine?

Useful information:

Address: Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris, France

Opening Hours:
- Monday: 09:30 - 19:00
- Tuesday: 09:30 - 19:00
- Wednesday: 09:30 - 19:00
- Thursday: 09:30 - 19:00
- Friday: 09:30 - 19:00
- Saturday: 09:30 - 19:00
- Sunday: 09:30 - 19:00

Arc de Triomphe, Paris - Kinto
ArchitectureHistory

Arc de Triomphe

40 points

Here is one of the most famous and monumental ensembles in Paris, l'Arc de Triomphe! After his victory at Austerlitz in 1805, Napoleon ordered the construction of the arch as he promised his armies would one day return home through arcs of triumph. The work started in 1806 and was completed in 1836, long after Napoleon's death (you will soon learn the Emperor passed away, if you ignore it). It was first planned to be installed in Place de la Bastille, but ended up west of Paris, at the top of the Champs-Elysées. Not too bad an idea. Its dimensions are very impressive (55 m high, 45 m long and 22 m wide) and if you dare climb up to the top, you will be awarded by a glimpse of what French Grandeur looks like. Otherwise, proceed immediately to the last stopover of our journey. Napoleon is awaiting us on the left bank. But don't miss the giant metal tower on the way 😉

Useful information:

Address: Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris, France

Invalides Court of Honor statue, Paris - Kinto
ArchitectureHistory

Invalides Court of Honor statue

60 points

In order to discover it, you will have to access the Invalides Court of Honor, then turn around and look up. Here he is! This is the second statue of the above-mentioned Vendôme Column. It features Napoleon as a "little Corporal", which has become the Emperor's traditional representation. What I like in this statue is the impression that Napoleon is almost alive and looking at us. He might also be a sort of dark, but unthreatening soul, which wanders inside the premises of the military hospital of les Invalides to visit his wounded soldiers. The statue had a rather bumpy history. It was withdrawn from place Vendôme in 1863, placed in the city of Courbevoie until the Franco-Prussian war erupted, and finally installed in the courtyard of Les Invalides in 1911. During the transportation to protect it from the Prussians, the statue fell into the water and was only recovered four months later in two pieces. Legend has it that the head was actually never recovered and the one you are seeing now is only a pale copy. Can you see any difference?

Useful information:

Address: 129 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, France

Opening Hours:
- Monday: 10:00 - 17:00
- Tuesday: 10:00 - 17:00
- Wednesday: 10:00 - 17:00
- Thursday: 10:00 - 17:00
- Friday: 10:00 - 17:00
- Saturday: 10:00 - 17:00
- Sunday: 10:00 - 17:00

The Dome (Tomb of Napoleon), Paris - Kinto
ArchitectureHistory

The Dome (Tomb of Napoleon)

70 points

Napoleon died in 1821 on the island of St Helena (now you know!), but his remains were repatriated to France only in 1840 and placed in the tomb in 1861 as the works stretched out over twenty years. The 23 metres large crypt lies 6 metres deep under the royal chapel of Saint-Louis des Invalides Cathedral. The tomb is nearly 4 metres long and 2 metres wide, it is made of red quartzite and green granite and it contains six coffins (you can never be too careful!). The tomb is guarded by twelve white marble statues of women and surrounded by ten marble bas-reliefs that pay tribute to the Emperor's reign. This is certainly one of the most impressive tombs I have ever seen and I think you will agree. Et voilà. Here is where our journey ends. However, there are over 200 places in Paris connected with Napoleon. If you are still intrigue, then, as next step but without me this time, go and visit the Museum of the Legion of Honor, located only 10mn far from here, which presents France's largest collection of decorations and insignia, created by Napoleon himself. What a perfect way to reward yourself for your 10 kms challenge in central Paris.

Useful information:

Address: 129 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, France

Opening Hours:
- Monday: 10:00 - 17:00
- Tuesday: 10:00 - 17:00
- Wednesday: 10:00 - 17:00
- Thursday: 10:00 - 17:00
- Friday: 10:00 - 17:00
- Saturday: 10:00 - 17:00
- Sunday: 10:00 - 17:00