Monday, July 6, 2015

Under The Column Of The Grand Armee

After Cabana City we needed a place to park and plan our next steps, especially in view of our failing refrigerator. Attempts to get it repaired on the road had not been successful. Food was at risk, not to mention nutrition. The Column of the Grand Armee, which towers over Boulogne from the heights of Wimille, seemed a likely place for parking, telephone and thus wifi, and quiet. It is also an historic place of great interest.

Centered around Boulogne, as early as 1798, Napoleon began amassing and training the Army of England and building the invasion fleet that would take him across the Channel to defeat his most persistent enemy. For a great variety of reasons--did you know that the planned invasion was funded almost entirely by proceeds from what we Americans call the Louisiana Purchase? (Do the French call it the Louisiana Sale?) And that the Purchase was funded almost entirely by British banks?--the planned invasion never took place. The landing craft were unsuitable, the French never could best the British navy and control the Channel, etc. Anyhow, even before the decision to cancel was made, in 1804, the troops at Boulogne wanted to erect a victory column to celebrate their impending triumph. So the column was planned and undertaken. What it came to celebrate, however, was not victory in Britain but rather the first Legion of Honor awards, given at Boulogne, and, most importantly, the formation of the Grand Armee. In 1805, the Armee marched off to victories in Austria and elsewhere, but the column was not completed for another couple generations. We were impressed with the number of visitors we saw over the several hours we were there.

Anyhow, inspired by all this, and weighing the various lessons to be learned, we resolved to drive back to Amsterdam and have Rene fix the fridge. We're still under warranty. Maybe do a victory column later.
Beneath the Column of the Grand Armee

Quite a complex, really, considering...

The column

The Imperial Eagle

Handing out the Legion of Honor

Next morning, improving weather

He has turned his back on Britain and gazes now
toward Austria

1 comment:

Tawana said...

And if Napoleon had been successful, perhaps more of us would be speaking French.