History begins on March 1st, 1815, when Napoleon Bonaparte first set foot on Golfe-Juan beach, after one year of exile. By his side, 1200 men ready to conquer Paris and sit their emperor on the throne once again.
It marks the beginning of a six day and 324 kilometre epic journey. At the time, Napoleon and his men took the direction of the Alps and followed the muleteers footpaths to avoid being detected by the royalist resistance. The "Route Napoleon", officially named in 1932, regiously follows a part of his itinerary, going through two regions (Provence-Alps-Côte d'Azur and Rhône-Alpes) and four departments (Alpes Maritimes, Alpes de Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes and Isère).
From Vallauris Golfe-Juan to Castellane
Mythical starting point of the journey, Vallauris Golfe-Juan holds a reconstitution of Bonaparte's landing on the beach every year, at the begining of March. Gradually leaving the seaside, the itinerary goes through several typical Provence villages, such as Cannes and Grasse.
From Castellane to Gap
As soon as the army advances inlands, altitude becomes apparent. Catellane city, near the Gorges du Verdon, is an important stage before going though the difficult col des Lèques. Following the Durance, the troops reach Dignes, Sisteron and Gap where the terrain becomes more and more uneven, and hilly.
From Gap to Grenoble
Once Gap is reached, the Alps finally appear. Kilometre after kilometre, Napoleon is reassured at finding that his popularity remains intact. If one place had to be remembered, it would be the town of Laffrey. This is where at the " prairie de la rencontre ", the futur emperor will summon the royal army to join his own troops.
This symbolic victory will lead him to Paris.