Napoleon: General and Architect?
Napoleon Bonaparte is known for many things; wresting control over France in the aftermath of a bloody revolution, his incredible innovation of military strategy in the early 1800s, and his conquest of so much of Europe. Yet, he also had a huge impact on the city of Paris and its development as the capital of his new French Empire. In today's article, we are going to examine some of the buildings which he left behind.
Arc de Triomphe
One of the most famous monuments in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe, erected by Napoleon in 1810, though construction was not properly completed until 1836 as it was a colossal effort involving much marble and wind resistant demarcation for its builders. The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned as a glorious monument to the fallen French dead of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The Arc de Triomphe is such a world-famous monument that it is almost instantly associated with Paris in much the same way as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. Depicting ancient French warriors fighting stark naked against Germans in chain mail, the Arc de Triomphe glorifies and memorialises those French soldiers who gave their lives for their homeland.
L'eglise de la Madeleine was built by Napoleon as a great temple dedicated to the honour and victory of the French military. When looking upon La Madeleine, one would be excused if they thought they were looking at a replica of the Pantheon in Rome. Built in the style of an ancient Roman temple, La Madeleine now serves as a Catholic Church, dedicated by King Louis XVIII to Mary Magdalene after Napoleon was deposed from his throne.
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is another arch developed in a neoclassical style dedicated to Napoleon's victories on the field of battle. The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is situated in the Place du Carrousel, a historic square in the city centre near the Louvre Palace. The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is covered with the coats of arms of both France and Italy alongside several figures personifying history, art, fame, victory, and more. One of many of Napoleon's dedications to the success of his armies, this arch is a majestic addition to a beautiful city.
Place Vendôme Column
The Vendôme Column is a great column akin to Nelson's Column in London, both of which were inspired by Trajan's Column, an ancient monument to the Roman conquest of Dacia in modern day Romania. The Vendôme Column commemorates the Battle of Austerlitz, the titanic clash between the emperors of France, Austria, and Russia, where Napoleon defeated a larger allied force and forced his enemies into retreat, winning a heroic victory against his enemies. In the Vendôme Column Napoleon is depicted in Roman attire wearing a laurel wreath as a crown and holding a sword and globe. The column was pulled down in 1871 by the socialist revolution of the Paris Commune, but was later re-erected in honour of the emperor by the French Republic.