Photo of Eagle Statue Marking the Route Napoleon Traveled
Photo of Eagle Statue Marking the Route Napoleon Traveled
The coastal road between Cannes and Antibes on the French Riviera may be world-famous for its timeless beauty, but all French history buffs are also familiar with it because this is here, in the small seaside community of Golfe Juan, that on March 1, 1815 Napoléon Bonaparte, fresh from escaping exile on the island of Elba, set off to win back his title in Paris with a group of loyal supporters. Later on, the segment of the road they took from the coast to Grenoble became the mythical Route Napoléon and has remained a well-traveled thoroughfare until this day.

Even if he chose this particular itinerary in order to avoid any potential resistance in royalist towns as opposed to the quality of the scenery, it is hard to imagine that he did not pause and marvel at it from time to time.

In those days Cannes was not hosting its star-studded film festival and Antibes was not welcoming summer visitors to the groovy sounds of its prestigious jazz festival yet, but there is little doubt that the area was already well worth slowing down for, even if one was eager to go ahead and take over the French government… again.

If you want to experience the Route from its very start, staying in Cannes would be ideal as New York Habitat has a wide range of accommodations in Cannes to consider.

-You could stay on the ever-popular Croisette, right next to the Hotel Martinez, in our 2 bedroom furnished apartment in Cannes – Croisette (PR 579).

-Or you could enjoy the peace and quiet of the Californie neighborhood by making yourself at home in a cute little house with a view, a garden, not to mention the beach just a 15-minute walk away, in our 2-bedroom furnished villa in Cannes – Californie (PR 292).

As they were marching up towards Paris, the French general and his reduced troop came across sweet-smelling Grasse, proudly perched on its hilltop and already the world’s perfume capital. Beside its perfectly balanced microclimate, Grasse has also managed to keep its authentic medieval looks while attracting modern art lovers in its numerous galleries. Moreover, if you’re there in early August, you cannot miss the rambunctious “Fête du jasmin”, the annual Jasmine Festival whose festivities include a parade, street performers, a flower battle and fireworks.

Further up, Digne (or Digne-les-bains) served as the former emperor’s luncheon’s stop and a small plaque on a wall at the corner of rue du Jeu de Paume and cours des Arès will not let anyone forget it. Sitting right at the border between Provence and the Alps, surrounded by endless lavender fields, Digne is first and foremost a much sought-after spa resort thanks to its renowned thermal baths and incredibly favorable climate.

From there, you can easily explore the Verdon canyons, indulge in extreme sports or just stay on the beach of Saint André, right on the nearby lake.

Even if military history is not your thing, you will enjoy your stay in a region that combines sea, mountains, sunshine and literally thousands of flowers. Do not hesitate to let us know what you think by adding you own comments here-under.