Interview – nephew of Napoleon I.he is He is also a good strategist in developing tourism. In the origin of the marking by the Council of Europe on Napoleon’s destination, he explains the reasons behind it.
Le Figaro. – Is Napoleon still today’s “excellent tourist agent” France?
Charles Bonaparte. –I’d rather say it is an asset of tourism in Europe. In 2004, I founded the European Union of Napoleonic Cities, which includes about sixty cities in thirteen countries in Europe. Its goal is to ensure the promotion of culture and tourism around Napoleon and to sell a world show to all people on the planet who are interested in Napoleon. Our circuit was named in 2015 the “Cultural Route” by the Council of Europe, just like the Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle Roads or the Charlemagne Route. With the support of European funds, we are also setting up operations to support the development of Napoleonic tourism, such as virtual reality on monuments, placing signs between cities or even rehabilitating museums.
But isn’t this Napoleonic tourism a bit old and is intended for some “fanatics” of the emperor?
The audience you are talking about is not our target at all. When I go to China to promote the European destination via Napoleon, we reach a larger population. Napoleon is no longer just Napoleon. It is in the picture that I made of it elsewhere. In the prevailing globalization culture, the emperor is one of the few surviving heroes. In Las Vegas, there is a Napoleon attraction that attracts 30 million visitors every year. In France, we must think about this topic and ask ourselves why the Napoleonic sites were not visited enough. La Malmaison and Fontainebleau, to name a few, suffered from public discontent. There is a big gap between the demand for modern tourism and the supply of these places. We can no longer talk about Napoleon to the new generations as we did with my generation. We must find ways of expression and promotion that offer more virtual reality. The massive influx of tourists to Napoleon’s sites will depend on our ability to make dreams come true.
Napoleon was a great traveler. But he had it Tourist behavior?
In fact, over fifteen years in power, Napoleon had spent a good half outside of France on the roads and battlefields. On his many travels, he was more interested in what I might call a form of military tourism, visiting fortifications and strongholds, which he sometimes gave very accurate descriptions of in his correspondence. The pleasure of going somewhere and feeling its beauty, in a purely contemplative form, was completely alien to him. It wasn’t his main concern.
Charles Bonaparte, Liberty Bonaparte, Grasset, 336 pages, 23 €.