The Route Napoléon starts in Golfe Juan where the emperor landed on his return from the island of Elba on 1st March 1815 on his way to Grenoble via the Col Bayard.
The 325 kilometre-long road goes through Castellane, Barrême, Digne-les-Bains, Malijai and Sisteron in the Alpes de Haute Provence.
After having been obliged to abdicate on 6th April 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to the island of Elba. From that moment he had only one thing in mind: to escape and overthrow the monarchy of Louis XVIII.
- On 26th February 1815, he left the island of Elba and landed in Golfe Juan on 1st March along with two or three thousand men.
- To avoid the royalist troops stationed in Basse-Provence, he decided to reach Grenoble via the interior.
- He marched through Castellane and Digne-les-Bains on 3rd and 4th March 1815 and arrived in Paris with his men on 20th March 1815.
When you take the Route Napoléon, you go through a variety of landscapes.
Dominated by its rock, Castellane is a very picturesque village and the gateway to the Gorges du Verdon – heaven for those who love white water sports and hiking. Then you go through the villages of Senez and Barrême where heritage and open-air activities will guarantee you a rich and unique stay. Continue your trip through the Clues de Taulanne and the Clues de Chabrières (small gorges) in an amazing mineral landscape where you may get a glimpse of the famous Train des Pignes.
Digne-les-Bains offers well-being or preventive care, particularly with lavender essential oils to get you ready to brave its famous via ferrata.
Along the once tumultuous Durance River, you can discover Malijai where the vivid memory of the Emperor’s passage is celebrated every other year in July with a procession of troops in Napoleonic costume. Go upstream via the exceptional mountain biking site of the Val de Durance.
You will then be leaving light-filled Provence, the land of multiple fragrances and landscapes, through the medieval town of Sisteron which huddles between its proud citadel and the Rocher de la Baume as you enter the Dauphiné which stretches as far as Grenoble.
Hikes along the Route Napoléon
In 2015 for the 1815-2015 Bicentenary, hiking itineraries were inaugurated in Napoleon’s footsteps in the Alpes de Haute Provence. The Voie Impériale (GR 406 – Imperial Way) between Castellane and Sisteron is a unique Grande Randonnée itinerary in France on the theme of Napoleon.
It links Castellane, Digne, Volonne and Sisteron over a distance of 110 kilometres in 5 days on foot or on horseback.
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