Champagne-Ardenne Commemorative Programme for Napoleon’s 1814 French Campaign

Champagne ArdenneChampagne-Ardenne and Brie have launched a programme of events this year to commemorate the bicentennial of this historic campaign by Emperor Napoleon I and the Armies of the sixth Coalition, ending with his abdication and 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 Prussian and Bohemian Armies pursued, forcing Napoleon to stand his ground in Champagne-Ardenne.  This period of battle, in and around the Aube region, became known as The French Campaign.   Napoleon conceded defeat at Fontainebleau in April 1814 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 calendar of events throughout the region follows in the footsteps of the leaders of the Emperor’s armed forces with reconstructed camps and large scale battle re-enactments, exhibitions, concerts, tours and live entertainment in Châlons-en-Champagne, Reims Chaumont , Montmirail, Brienne-le-Château (young Bonaparte attended military school here, it is now a Napoleonic museum due to re-open this summer after refurbishment), Saint-Dizier and Nogent-sur-Seine.

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

7 – 9 February, Nogent -sur -Seine:

Camps, parades and battle re-enactments with 60 costumed participants, street entertainment, plus an exhibition ” Nogent in the time of Napoleon I” and tours of the city “In the footsteps of Napoleon”.  At national monument Château de la Motte-Tilly  there will be a Slavic melodies recital by tenor Ivan Netchiporko ( 8 February)

5 – 6 April : Napoleon Tinqueux festival
Bicentenary of the Battle of Reims with camps, bands, exhibitions, two battle re-enactments and demonstrations of military strategy, parades, light and sound show.

14 March – 7 June : Reims, Carnegie library

Exhibition on the ‘Medical and scientific life during the Revolution and the Empire’, with works and original documents on display.

May 16 – October 2 : Troyes

Exhibition dedicated to Napoleon and the French Campaign at  the Hôtel-Dieu le Comte, from regional archives.

17 -18 May : Napoleonic at Brienne-le-Château
More than 300 re-enactors at an enormous camp.  Events include a 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 ) plus re-opening of the Napoleonic Museum.

31 May – 1 June Montmirail :  (the largest events in the programme)

31 May – Large scale re-enactment of the Battle of Montmirail -Marchais 1814, one of the most important battles of the Campaign.  More than 1,000 soldiers & 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 –  Grand celebration of the 1814 Campaign with a giant picnic on the battlefield, orchestral concert plus a programme of entertainment.  

7 – 8 June : Châtillon-sur-Seine

Military parade, bivouac and Exhibition of the Marmont collection: maps, plans, military decorations, pictures etc. See Museum of Pays Châtillonnais –

The full program of commemorative events can be downloaded from the website (in English) at the following link:

For French-speakers, a Napoleonic map is available with explanations on the various battle sites.  The Napoleon Circuit is a 150km tourist trail across 20 key sites linked to the French Campaign.  For more information on the region, including where to stay, and visit suggestions, see

Issued on January 27th 2014 on behalf of Champagne-Ardenne Regional Tourist Board by of Doug Goodman Travel PR.  Tel: 0208 614 1448

Posted from Évigny, Champagne-Ardenne, France.

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