Wednesday, March 25, 2009

O'er the hills and o'er the main

A couple of weekends ago we went to Golfe-Juan for the re-enactment of Napoleon's escape from Elba.
Napoleon Bonaparte had been exiled to the island of Elba off the coats of Italy in 1814.
His exile lasted less than a year and he managed to escape with 1,200 men on the 26th February 1815 . The group landed in Golfe-Juan a couple of days later.

This is Napoleon about to set foot on French mainland once more. I thought 'Napoleon' looked as if he was contemplating his next step and wondering how he would be received by the French people - good acting .

After landing Napoleon was given a horse and insepcted the regiments.
The real Napoleon was welcomed back with open arms as the army refused to fire on the deposed Emperor.
However, the new reign only lasted until the Battle of Waterloo -a period called Napoleon's Hundred Days although it actually lasted 111.

Sappers from the Grenadier Guards - or in French sapeurs - the engineering corps who traditionally wore beards to distinguish themselves from other soldiers. They also wore leather aprons , gauntlets and carried axes.

The French fire service are called sapeurs-pompiers because Napoleon created the fire brigade from a military engineering division and, of course, firemen still carry axes like the original sappers.
Grenadier Guards tent insignia -they have little grenade insignias around Napoleon's eagle [the word for explosive grenade comes from the french word for pomegranante [grenade] because the early greandes looked very similar in shape]

I am not sure which regiment this standard bearing soldier was from but I liked his expression and the distant tiny soldiers across the sea in the background.

Some drummers drumming.
There are a lot of re-enactors in Golfe Juan for the Napoleonic weekend. They camp in Napoleonic era tents on the beach and everything looks very authentic.

These soldiers were just waiting to take part in the parades later in the afternoon but I thought they looked like a museum tableau or maybe a still from the tv series 'Sharpe'.

1 comment:

Magpie Magic said...

Wow, the photos are great and the info is very interesting. I like the way you combine both to show a little history in an accessible way.