Champagne-Ardenne’s Napoleonic Commemoration Programme

 Champagne Ardenne200th Anniversary of Napoleon’s 1814 French Campaign

Champagne-Ardenne Tourisme is coordinating an extensive programme of events throughout the year to commemorate the bicentennial of this historic campaign by Emperor Napoleon I and the Armies of the sixth Coalition.

This famous campaign ended with the abdication of the Emperor and his subsequent exile on Elba.

Napoleon attempted to secure France as the dominant power in Europe.  He was defeated at the Battle of Leipzig and retreated to France. The Coalition Armies (Britain, Russia, Prussia, Austria, Sweden and the Germany States) pursued him towards Paris, forcing Napoleon to stand his ground to the east of the capital in Champagne and Brie.  This period of battle that took place on French territory between Reims and Troyes, became known as The French Campaign.

It was an area that Napoleon knew well since the young Bonaparte had attended military school at Brienne-le-Château from the age of 10. The school today houses a small museum dedicated to Napoleon and the subsequent battles he fought in the area. The museum will be closed for refurbishment in June 2014 and is due to reopen in the summer of 2015.

After a series of battles in which victory passed from one side to the other, Napoleon was eventually defeated by the Coalition at Arcis-sur-Aube on 20th March 1814. He abdicated at Fontainebleau in April and was exiled to Elba.  Less than a year later he escaped and returned to power only to face defeat by the British & Prussian armies led by Wellington at Waterloo on 18th June 1815.   This enabled the Coalition forces to enter France and restore Louis XVIII to the throne.  Napoleon died in exile at Saint-Helena in 1821.

A programme of events throughout the region follows in the footsteps of the leaders of the armed forces with reconstructed camps and battles, exhibitions and conferences and live entertainment in towns throughout the area, including Châlons-en-Champagne, Reims, Troyes, Montmirail and Brienne-le-Château.

Some of the highlights of the events programme are as follows:

* 5 – 6 April : Napoleonic Festival at Tinqueux, Reims

Bicentenary of the Battle of Reims with camps , bands , conferences, exhibitions, re-enactment and demonstrations of military strategy, parades, light and sound with the voice of Robert Hossein and two re-enactments of the Battle of Reims –

* 17 – 18 May : Napoleonic Festival at Brienne-le -Château

More than 300 re-enactors at an enormous camp, battle re-enactment of the capture of the castle of Brienne , war game demonstrations , parade, children’s games, and an evening  show outlining the First and Second Empires ( 17 May ) .

* 31 May – 1 June: Napoleonic Festival at Montmirail

31 May – Grand re-enactment of the Battle of Montmirail-Marchais 1814, one of the most important battles of the Campaign.  More than 1,000 soldiers & 100 cavalry will take part with rallies, cavalry charges , artillery , field hospital and regimental parades  where visitors can experience the daily life at camp of soldiers in the field.

1 June –  Bicentennial celebration “Campaign of France 1814 ” , commemorating 1914 Reconciliation with a giant picnic on the battlefield  plus entertainment.

The programme in English for the weekend can be downloaded from the following link:

The full programme of commemorative events is available from local tourist offices and can be downloaded from the tourist board’s website (in English) at the following link:

A Napoloeonic map with explanations on the various battle sites (in French only) is also available from local tourist offices and on demand from the regional tourist board.  The Circuit Napoleon is a 150km tourist trail across 20 key sites linked to the French Campaign.

A 2-night break combining Napoleon and champagne is available at the hotel-restaurant Le Tadorne, a 17th century timbered house at Piney. The break includes admission to the Napoleonic museum in Brienne-le-Château, a tour of a champagne wine cellar with tasting, two dinners (gourmet dining and regional produce – excluding drinks), one champagne aperitif and a free bottle of champagne per couple. Prices from €158 per person.

For more information on the region, including where to stay and other visit suggestions, see

Issued on 18th February 2014 on behalf of Champagne-Ardenne Regional Tourist Board by of Doug Goodman Travel PR. Tel: 0208 614 1448.


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