Grotte Napoleon

Grotte Napoleon is a monument in Ajaccio, build to honor Ajaccio-born Emperor Napoleon, at a location, where the young Napoleon used to hide into a nearby cave.

The monument consists of a pyramid-shaped base, with a statue of Napoleon on top…a copy of Napoleon statue that used to be on top of column at Place Vendôme in Paris (today the original statue is located within Les Invalides).

Location of the monument is within “Chasseurs de la Garde“, where, according to a legend, the young Napoleon used to hide during his childhood here.

The name of the monument, “Grotte Napoleon“, translates into English as “Napoleon’s Cave“.

Grotte Napoleon Ajaccio France

PHOTO: Monument, as seen from Place d’Austerlitz, which is located just a short walk from Place de Gaulle. At Place de Gaulle, you’ll see another of Ajaccio’s Napoleon monuments, the ‘Napoléon et ses frèrès‘.

Grotte Napoleon in Ajaccio France

PHOTO: Two stairs, in both sides of the monument, go up to the statue on top. From the top, you’ll have great views to the city and all the way to the Bay of Ajaccio.

Napoleon I statue Grotte Napoleon Ajaccio France

PHOTO: A closeup of the monument’s highlight, a statue of Napoleon I, a copy of the original at cours d’honneur courtyard within Les Invalides in Paris.

Original version of the statue was made by Charles-Émile Seurre in 1833, initially to the top of the column at Place du Vendome.

However, that statue was replaced in 1866 by Dumont’s statue of Napoleon, where the Emperor is dressed in ancient Roman style.

Seurre’s statue was hidden during the events of the 1871 Paris Commune into Seine river, and it was rediscovered only in 1911, and placed to its current location in Les Invalides, to its cour d’honneur courtyard.

Grotte Napoleon monument’s pyramid shaped stone base was made from 1837-1839 in the town of Algajola in northern Corsica, with the copy of Seurre’s Napoleon statue added to it in 1923.

The monument is flanked by two eagle statues, which feature Napoleon’s dates of birth and death.

The dedication inscription in front of the statue reads:

“Napoléon Ier Empereur des Français 1804-1815 Nous l’avons vu gravir superbe les premiers échelons des Cieux”, in English:

“Napoleon I French Emperor 1804-1815 We Have Seen His First Magnificent Steps Towards the Gates of Heaven”.

Also in-scripted are the names of Napoleon’s greatest victories from the Battle of Montenotte onward, and the terms “Code civil, Université, Banque de France, Légion d’Honneur, Cour des Comptes, Concordat, Conseil d’État“, which are a reference to Napoleon’s administrative achievements during his reign.

The monument was completed into its current form in 1938.