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Napoleon’s Paris: A Guide to the Napoleonic Sites of the Consulate and the First French Empire 1799 – 1815

Napoleon’s Paris: A Guide to the Napoleonic Sites of the Consulate and the First French Empire 1799 – 1815

Napoleon’s Paris: A Guide to the Napoleonic Sites of the Consulate and the First French Empire 1799 – 1815

David Buttery

Pen & Sword (2020)

ISBN 9781526749475

Paperback, 264 pages

Finally, a guidebook for Napoleonic History enthusiasts! The book is divided into ten chapters, the first two provide a short history of Napoleon and his plans for the city of Paris. The next seven chapters talk about the different places and sites to see. In general, each chapter gives a short overview of about the site and then it gives practical information, such things as where it is located, what Metro stops are near it, where to park for the optimistic driver, opening hours, cost of tickets to get in, a map highlighting the things the author recommends, whether is food available, etc. One of the most important things he includes is a web address for the reader to find out current information on what exhibits are there, possible changes to the hours they are open, and the current ticket prices.

Chapter Three is called the Musée Napoléon and is about the Louvre and things in its vicinity, such as the Tuileries Gardens and the Arc du Carrousel. He provides information on the different wings of the museum, where to go to see Napoleonic artwork, and what to look for on the exterior of the building. Chapter Four covers the Arc de Triomphe and talks about its history, the various reliefs, and sculptures on it, and of course the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Memorial Flame. Chapter Five discusses the 1814 Battle of Paris and where to go to see the main avenues of approach the Napoleon’s enemies took to take the city. Possibly the best thing to see is the huge The Defense of the Barrière de Clichy Monument.

Other chapters cover Walks along the Seine, A Fitting Tribute which covers the Hotel des Invalides where Napoleon is buried and of course the magnificent Musée Armée, and there is even a chapter on the Napoleonic sites outside of Paris. My favorite chapter is Chapter Seven Heroes of the First French Empire. This is about Pièrre Lachaise Cemetery, where so many of Napoleon’s marshals and generals are buried. The cemetery is filled with tombs and mausoleums that are unique in their architecture.  Trying to find a specific individual can be difficult, but the author has included a map and a detailed guide on how to find of many of the most famous individuals, and a description of the tomb itself. This is well worth the price of the book in itself!

The final chapter contains practical tips on such things on where to stay, how to get around the city, where to eat, and personal safety.

This is a must have guide for those visiting Paris. I wish I had it when I was last there.

Robert Burnham

August 2020