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Napoléon et Paris - Throne

Napoleon and Paris


Dreams of a capital

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Why you will love it?

Whether it’s a question of some of his largest military victories (Austerlitz, Iéna, Wagram) or of his defeats (Bérézina, Trafalgar, Waterloo), no one can ignore the military man that was Napoleon Bonaparte. But as First Consul and Emperor established in Paris, he was also an organizer and figurehead for change of the capital, in its administration as much as its topography. Musée Carnavalet has displayed a variety of objects, furniture, and paintings that guide you in the discovery of the other side of Napoleon. Enjoy! Parisianist.

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About this place

16 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003 Paris
Line 1 - Saint Paul

Monday : Closed
more less
Monday : Closed Tuesday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Wednesday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Thursday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Friday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Saturday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Sunday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm
14 July 15 August

Our Insiders' Article

Napoleon and Paris

“I want to rest alongside the Seine amongst the French who I love so much.” Paris shaped Napoleon, and Napoleon transformed Paris. His military genius is known throughout the world, but his relationship with Paris, not so much. L’Arc de Triomphe, Rue de Rivoli, and the Canal de l’Ourcq are some of the visible evidence of Napoleon’s influence, but they aren’t alone. Musée Carnavalet pays homage to “the other Napoleon,” builder and administrator, shown through around 200 unique and historic objects.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Napoleon’s tomb is indeed found on the edge of the Seine in Paris, under the golden dome of l’Hôtel des Invalides.


The first two parts of the exhibition take place through a succession of arches. The first part is dedicated to Napoleon’s rise to power, with objects and works of art that illustrate his time as First Consul and Emperor. The second part highlights his administration of the city and his “court” at the Tuileries Palace. Finally, the large construction projects (whether they have been realized or not) are mentioned in the third part of the exposition.

Parisianist Fun Fact: the gigantic bust of Napoleon that aligns with the arches weighs more than a ton. This piece is normally found in the Louvre and was very difficult to transport and put in place!


Here is some fun information to know about the objects of Napoleon’s Paris you will find in the exhibition:

The birth of metallic architecture (Pont des Arts, Pont d’Austerlitz). There is a model of one of the arches of Pont des Arts.

The abandoned projects of Napoleon: the obelisk on Pont Neuf, the elephant statue on Place de la Bastille, and the Palace of Rome on the hill of Chaillot (actual Trocadéro)

The realized projects by Napoleon to satisfy Parisians: reorganization of the market in Les Halles, creation of fountains, canals and fairground festivals.

The assigning of numbers to houses in the streets, a system that is still in place today.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Put yourself in the middle of Place de la Concorde and you will see the construction projects of Napoleon in every direction: Arc de Triomphe, la Madeleine, the Arc du Carrousel, and the Assemblée Nationale (the institution, not the building)


If you are passionate about Paris or Napoleon Bonaparte, head to Musée Carnavalet right now! The diverse objects on display--costumes, objects, paintings, and other authentic historic treasures--demonstrate the links between Napoleon and the capital. However, aside from the imposing bust of the Emperor, the exhibition is not exceptionally “fun” or impressive to really attract those who don’t love history. As for Napoleon, you either love him or hate him, but he remains tightly bound to the grandeur and magnificence of today’s Paris.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Napoleon had the idea of making Versailles a theme park filled with models of emblematic monuments of the cities of the Empire. 

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