Brimming with history, culture and breathtaking landscapes, the Napoleon Road is an emblematic itinerary that crosses the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. From the shores of Vallauris to the citadel of Sisteron, walk in the Emperor’s footsteps and travel back in time to 1815.
Golfe-Juan to Vallauris
After his exile on the Italian island of Elba, Napoleon – determined to make a triumphal comeback to power – landed on the beach of Golfe-Juan one morning in March 1815. It is here that your adventure begins. With your feet planted in the sand, imagine the Emperor and his troops appearing over the horizon. Next, head to the town of Vallauris, reputed for its pottery traditions, to hunt down some unique and colourful pieces. If you fancy trying your hand at pottery making too, you’ll find plenty of studios there. End the day with a stop-off at the Château de Vallauris, home to the Musée National Picasso, the Musée Magnelli and the Musée de la Céramique. So inspiring!
Fancy seeing where the Emperor’s troops set up camp over 200 years ago? Simply head to Cannes, Rue du Bivouac Napoléon, at the foot of the superb church of Notre-Dame de Bon Voyage. You won’t regret the trip : an official “outdoor sports capital”, Cannes is always on the move! You can enjoy a Tai Chi session on the beach at dawn or an invigorating run at dusk… Choose your pace and revel in the pleasure of some alone time. Last but definitely not least, Cannes is obviously an international movie hub. If you visit in May during the Film Festival, you might even get to climb the red carpet.
The third stage of your adventure on the Napoleon Road, the town of Grasse is the world’s perfume capital. Bewitching and colourful, it is an ode to the senses, plunging visitors into a fascinating world of fragrance. Visit Le Domaine de Manon, where you will discover how plants used in perfumery are grown in the company of passionate artisans. The Emperor’s memory continues to be celebrated in Grasse: in 2015, Maison Galimard launched a fragrance for men named “Napoléon 1815”. Continue your tour in Napoleon’s footsteps at the nearby Plateau de Roquevignon, where the Emperor rested with his troops. Epic!
Napoleon and his troops moved northwards and reached Digne-les-Bains on March 4th, where the Emperor sat down at L’Auberge du Petit Paris to savour… an omelette! Digne is a capital of lavender growing and you can learn everything there is to know about Provence’s blue gold here. The town is also an ode to relaxation: its world-famed thermal baths also harbour a fabulous well-being centre. If you fancy a shot of adrenalin instead, climb aboard with Etoile-Rando for a white water or canyoning adventure just a stone’s throw from Digne.
Similarly to Digne, Sisteron also boasts having Napoleon to dinner! The Emperor’s visit to the Hôtel du Bras d’Or in Rue Saunerie is immortalized by a commemorative plaque. Enjoy a stroll round the streets of this town ranked among “France’s 100 most Beautiful Detours”and plunge into the past as you push open the doors to the Gallo-Roman Museum or climb to the top of the Citadel. Imperial views are guaranteed!