The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Winter 2022

  • Text
  • Giveaways
  • Recipes
  • Christmas
  • France
  • Vineyards
  • Villages
  • Medieval
  • Provence
Discover France’s magical winter wonderland destinations - from the French Alps to the French Riviera. Read about the biggest bûche de Noël, Christmas log cake, in the world and see Paris when it snows. Head to the sweet village of Flavigny in Burgundy where the film Chocolat was filmed and to Rouen, the Ardèche region and Côtes du Rhône. Go gaga for gorgeous Gascony and feel festive at the colourful Christmas market of Metz, Lorraine.Toulouse, feel good films, recipes, guides and giveaways…

Arc de Triomphe, stands

Arc de Triomphe, stands at the end of the Champs-Élysées. Napoleon promised his troops at Austerlitz that they would have the honour of ‘going home beneath triumphal arches’ and building began when the first stone was laid on his birthday, August 15th, 1806. But it took decades to be completed and was only finally inaugurated in 1840 when Napoleon’s coffin was carried beneath it to reach his final resting place at Les Invalides. A visit to the Château de Malmaison, the country retreat Napoleon bought because Josephine fell in love with it, gives an insight into a more personal side of his story. Some of its rooms are very Napoleonic in style. The Salle de Conseil (meeting room) is decorated to resemble a military tent and the large library houses his desk and some 500 books, which are leather-bound and bear his monogram, B-P for Bonaparte. Upstairs is the Arms Room where you can see another Jacques-Louis David painting, ‘Napoleon crossing the Alps’, and the Austerlitz table, commissioned by Napoleon, on which a large central portrait of him is surrounded by smaller pictures of the generals who helped him win the battle. Chateau de Malmaison Napoleon’s library Fontainebleau Place de Vendome © Marc Bertrand, Paris Tourist Office Arc de Triomphe © Jacques Lebar, Paris Tourist Office Les Invalides © Daniel Thierry, Paris Tourist Office l’Armée. There are displays of some of his field equipment, medals, clothes, and one of his famous bicorn hats. More widely, there are displays of the weapons and uniforms of his day. And, connected to the Invalides is the magnificent Église du Dôme where his tomb is on display in the middle of a vast circular domed hall. By the time his body was returned from exile 19 years after his death, the Bourbon royal family was back on the throne, but half a million people still turned out to line the streets to honour this former Emperor of France. In the space beneath his tomb the wall is decorated with some of his words, expressing what he saw as his legacy. His Code Napoleon, which revolutionised the laws of France did, he said, more good for France than all the laws which preceded it. His reign, in his own words, had ‘left well-being everywhere’. Immodest, yes, but there is no doubting Napoleon’s lasting legacy to France and to Paris, where his presence can be seen if you know where to look. On the ground floor are the dining room, where they hosted candlelight dinners for important visitors from Paris, music room and billiards room. Upstairs are sumptuously decorated bedchambers, extensive wardrobes and dressing rooms - important to Josephine who once bought 520 pairs of shoes in a single year. The Château of Fontainbleau, previously a royal palace attracted Napoleon as soon as he became emperor and he had the French Revolution-damaged castle repaired and refurbished. There are mementoes ranging from paintings to pieces of his furniture and his coronation sword. It was here that Napoleon signed his abdication in 1814 and made a moving farewell speech to his Old Guard before leaving France for exile on the Island of Elba. It is fitting to end a tour of Napoleon’s Paris at Les Invalides, home to the Musée de 88 | The Good Life France The Good Life France | 89

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