© Copyright 2000 Invicta Media. Last updated 17th February
The tallest stone column in France on
the hills behind Boulogne, overlooking the Channel;
Napoleon pins medal on a soldier
Napoleon's invasion of England
Erected in a renewal of French national pride in the 1840s,
the 53 metre-high column is topped with a statue of
Napoleon. It marks the base camp where Napoleon massed
France's biggest ever army, 80,000 men, ready to invade
Panels on the base of the Colonne mark
Napoleon presenting medals of the Lègion d'Honneur
(newly-established after the Revolution, France's highest
honour) to heroes of his Grande Armée. The gold
French Imperial eagle adorns the railings round the
monument. Nearby the old arsenal is preserved from the Grand
Armée's extensive camp.
Napoleon looks the other way!
After the Second World War, the French government turned
the statue of Napoleon round to face inland, as a mark of
respect to her British allies in the war. Previously the
statue had looked towards England, the land he had
confidently expected to conquer.
soon to be Emperor of France, plans the invasion of England
from his base in Boulogne. The British cartoon
shows the French forces attacking from
right: troops in barges face a
barrage of fire from the English fleet in the Channel.
Meanwhile hot-air balloons - a relatively new 18th century
invention - face defending English kites; not very different
to the barrage balloons that held up cables to catch V1
rockets heading for London in WW2. Finally, while the
English are busy above ground, the French army crosses under
the Channel by a secretly-dug Channel Tunnel - a possibility
that was seriously feared during the invasion scare of
An English battalion of the Napoleonic
Today, enthusiasts from both sides of the Channel meet in
Boulogne to re-enact battles from the Napoleonic Wars. You
can find more about Napoleon's stay in Boulogne in the
Château-Musée museum in the town, which also
has a collection of Egyptian relics brought back to France
after the Battle of the Nile ended Napoleon's attempt to
conquer Egypt, and establish a French Empire in the East to
- for more details of the wars
with the English
in a review..
Reviewer - ??
Location: between BOULOGNE and
Follow the signs from Nausicaa on the
Tel: 00 33 3 2 ... (see Tourist Information Office)