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FOLLOW THE ROUTE NAPOLEON SOUTHERN FRENCH ALPS DRIVING A LUXURY CAR
SOUTHERN FRENCH ALPS DRIVING A LUXURY CAR HIRE
The current Route Napoléon, first opened in 1932, follows the route taken by Napoléon. Banished to the Mediterranean island of Elba when he fell from power in April 1814, he intended to overthrow Louis the 18th and to regain power by marching with loyal soldiers. He started his journey from Golfe-Juan to Grenoble, about 300km. The Route Napoleon is a journey that ended in his defeat at Waterloo but takes in stunning gorges and alpine citadels. Napoleon traced the route through the Alps leading to fabulous scenery and views. In contrast with the mountain passes this route is more designed for speed and the ability to really appreciate the performance of your sports rental car, together with smoothness that makes this route a fantastic driving experience for anyone with many photo opportunities.
Antibes – Golfe Juan
When Napoleon 1st, in exile on the island of Elba discovered his funds were running low and that he should be banished even further away, he decided to escape. He disembarked at Golfe Juan next to Antibes. The first part of the journey took them through Antibes Here starts the Route Napoleon, now the RN7. In Antibes, you could spend every day at the beach. Antibes, called by some the cultural heart of the Côte d’Azur, and his old town asks only to be explored. Visit the Musée Picasso for its splendid artwork, sculpture and terrace, and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. Enjoy dozens of restaurants, or take a quick ride into Juan-les-Pins for its lively nightlife.
The Gorges du Verdon
On his way to Grenoble Napoleon stopped in Castellane and was greeted with cries of “Long life the Emperor”. From Castellane, you may taste all water sports. Bathed of sun, the Alps of Haute Provence accommodate you. You will be proposed trips adapted to your desires: rafting, canyoning, sailing, rappelling and others. All motorized sports are prohibited. You’ll enjoy nature and wildlife tours. If you have one hour to spare between activities, walk up to the Chapel. The view is spectacular. Absolutely worth a visit. After resting in Castellane, Napoleon and his band of man made it through the perilous Gorges de Verdon, where legend has it that he nearly died when a mule pack carrying gold, overbalanced and fell into a steep ravine.
The “gorge du Verdon”, are the French version of the Grand Canyon. At over 730 meters up you can see down into the gorge, a fantastic experience at 40km from the route Napoleon. If you’re looking for a more challenging drive, it’s at this point that you can turn off and try some of the mountain passes, like Col du Labouret, where the views are just as spectacular. For a slightly more testing drive, head through the Col du Labouret, then onto Lac de Serre Poncon – the descent being slightly more challenging, and the scenery just as rewarding. The road is challenging at high speeds. If you love the fast, sweeping and open roads, this stretch of Route Napoleon is really worthwhile tackling.
Sisteron lets Napoleon pass without fuss. After passing through Digne, Napoleon entered the city where he didn’t receive any protest from the Royalist troops. Let’s visit the Citadelle and the walk to the top is worth the effort. The view from the top is quiet remarkable and the Fortress is very interesting to explore.
Napoleon received a rapturous welcome in Gap, the alpine town at 750m above sea level. He printed lots of proclamations, saying, “I was deeply touched by all the feelings that you have shown me. You’re right to call me your father. I live for the honour and happiness of France”. When he left Gap, the whole town followed him.
The drive onto Laffrey celebrates the place where Napoleon met the King’s Army sent down from Grenoble and capitulates. Napoleon rode among them, shouting that he was their Emperor. They lowered their rifles and joined his side. He said “It’s over. In eight days we will be in Paris”. The Route Napoleon passes the monument erected to commemorate the meeting.
A Triumphant Road to Grenoble and then to Paris
Napoleon marched triumphantly into Grenoble where a plaque details his remarks that “before Grenoble, I was an adventurer, but after I became a Prince”.
The British were not happy and began to gear up for war. Napoleon was in power for 100 days before losing to British, Prussian, Russian and Austrian forces at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. He lost the support of his beloved French people and turned himself into the British, who exiled him on the island of Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean, where he later died.
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