Napoleon Movie: Must-See Places Associated With The French Emperor

As the new Napoleon film starring Joaquin Phoenix releases all over the world today, make sure you check out the places which made him the man he was
A still from Napolean (2023)
A still from Napolean (2023)IMDB

As the new Ridley Scott film "Napoleon" starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby has hit the theaters, Napoleon Bonaparte is once again in the spotlight, having another cultural moment. Despite being dead for over 200 years, Napoleon's ubiquity in popular culture continues to grow. It was Napoleon who once said, "Victory is not always winning the battle...but rising every time you fall," his life has been an example of this saying.

A man whose name is synonymous with a tyrant etched in history, the conqueror of Europe; Napoleon Bonaparte was a notorious leader with an illustrious life. If you are excited to watch the new movie or want to know more about the Frenchman, make sure you visit these places associated with him.

Ajaccio, Corsica

The birthplace and ancestral home of Napolean, now a museum
The birthplace and ancestral home of Napolean, now a museumShutterstock

One of the top places to explore for those interested in Napoleon Bonaparte's life is the Napoleon Mansion on the island of Corsica. This historic house, which is now a museum, is where Napoleon was born on August 15, 1769. The Napoleon Mansion is filled with exhibits related to Napoleon's family, his childhood, and his rise to power. Visitors can wander through the rooms where Napoleon spent his early years and see the bed where he was born.

Getting there

You can fly to Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport, which is the main airport of Corsica and is located about 5 km from the city centre. From there, you can take a taxi, a bus, or a rental car to the Maison Bonaparte, which is on Rue Saint-Charles in the old town of Ajaccio.

Austerlitz, Czech Republic

Statue of Napoleon Bonaparte as First Imperator of France, Ajaccio, Corsica
Statue of Napoleon Bonaparte as First Imperator of France, Ajaccio, CorsicaShutterstock

The Battle of Austerlitz is widely regarded as one of Napoleon Bonaparte's most brilliant military victories. On December 2, 1805, Napoleon's French forces defeated a coalition of Russian and Austrian forces in a historic battle that took place near the town of Austerlitz, located in what is now the Czech Republic. Today, visitors to the region can visit the site of this historic battle, as well as a museum and memorial dedicated to the event.

The site is marked with a number of monuments and memorials, including a large stone obelisk that commemorates the battle. In addition to the battlefield, visitors can also explore the Austerlitz Museum, which is located nearby. You can pay your respects at the Austerlitz Memorial, which is located on the battlefield. The memorial features a large bronze statue of Napoleon, as well as a number of plaques and markers dedicated to the soldiers who fought and died in the battle.

The Pyramid of Austerlitz, built in 1804 by Napoleon's soldiers
The Pyramid of Austerlitz, built in 1804 by Napoleon's soldiersShutterstock

The Pyramid of Austerlitz is a historical monument in the Netherlands, built by Napoleon’s soldiers in 1804. It is inspired by the Great Pyramid of Giza, and has a stone obelisk on top of it. It is located in the Utrecht Hill Ridge, a natural area with forests and hills.

Getting there

If you are in Brno, you can take a car and drive to the battlefield, which is only about 25 km east of Brno. Alternatively, you can take a train from Brno to Slavkov u Brna, which is the closest station to the battlefield. The train ride takes about 15 minutes and costs around 2 euros. From Slavkov u Brna, you can take a bus (number 502) to Austerlitz, which is the town near the battlefield.

St. Helena, Atlantic Ocean

Longwood House which was the residence of Napoleon during his exile
Longwood House which was the residence of Napoleon during his exileShutterstock

This is the remote island where Napoleon was exiled for the second and last time in 1815, after his escape from Elba and his return to power. He died there on May 5, 1821, and his body was buried there until 1840, before being transferred to Paris. You can see his house, his tomb, and his relics there.

Coffee shop in Jamestown, St Helena. On the walls, pictures of Napoleon
Coffee shop in Jamestown, St Helena. On the walls, pictures of NapoleonShutterstock

Napoleon has been quoted as saying, “The only good thing about St. Helena is the coffee.”  Or that's what they vehemently claim. Whether it's true or not, this place holds much significance as it is full of history and artefacts associated with Napoleon. And of course, the coffee.

Getting there

The nearest airport to Jamestown, the capital of St. Helena, a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean, is Saint Helena Airport (HLE), which is about 14 km away from the city centre. You can fly to St. Helena from Johannesburg, South Africa, once a week, every Saturday, with the South African carrier Airlink, using an Embraer E190-100IGW.

Moscow, Russia

Red Square with Vasilevsky descent in Moscow
Red Square with Vasilevsky descent in MoscowShutterstock

This is the city which Napoleon invaded in 1812, hoping to force the Russian tsar to surrender. He captured the city, but found it largely abandoned and burned by the retreating Russians. He stayed there for a month, before retreating in the face of the harsh winter and the guerrilla attacks. You can see the Kremlin, the Red Square, and the Borodino Panorama.

Getting there

There are three main international airports in Moscow: Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo. The nearest airport to Red Square is Vnukovo, but it may not be the most convenient option depending on your flight schedule and destination.

The fastest and easiest way to get to Red Square from any of these airports is by taking the Aeroexpress train, which runs every 30 minutes and connects the airports with different railway stations in the city centre.

Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace
Schonbrunn PalaceShutterstock

Vienna is the city where Napoleon tied the knot with his second wife, Marie Louise of Austria, in 1810, following his divorce from his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais, due to her inability to produce an heir. It was also in Vienna that he signed the Treaty of Schönbrunn with Austria in 1809, after vanquishing them in the Battle of Wagram. Visitors can marvel at the stunning Schönbrunn Palace, the grand Hofburg Palace, and the impressive Belvedere Palace while in Vienna.

Getting there

If you are flying, you can land at the Vienna International Airport (VIE), which is located about 18 km southeast of the city centre. The airport serves many domestic and international destinations and is the hub of Austrian Airlines. From the airport, you can take a train, bus, taxi, car, shuttle or towncar to the city.

Waterloo, Belgium

The immense Butte Du Lion on the battlefield of Waterloo where Napoleon died
The immense Butte Du Lion on the battlefield of Waterloo where Napoleon diedShutterstock

This is the site of the final and decisive battle that ended Napoleon’s rule and his military career. It took place on June 18, 1815, near Waterloo, Belgium, where a coalition of British, Prussian, and other forces defeated Napoleon’s army. You can visit the battlefield and see the monuments, the museums, and the reenactments that commemorate the event. You can also climb the Lion’s Mound, a large artificial hill that was built in 1826 to mark the spot where the Prince of Orange was wounded during the battle. You can visit the Waterloo Battlefield, and the Wellington Museum.

Getting there

In Belgium, you can take a train to Braine-l’Alleud, which is the closest station to Waterloo. From Braine-l’Alleud, you can take a bus (number 36 or W) to Waterloo town centre or the Lion’s Mound, which is the main monument of the battlefield.

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