VOLONNE / SISTERON
It was not until the morning of 5 March that the Emperor found a little “serenity” when a rider returned from Sisteron to say that the Citadel had been disarmed, the city taken over and all resistance stifled. He continued on his way in the wee hours to Volonne where he had a meal. Easily crossing the Durance River, Napoleon entered the village at around 10am. Lunching at the Auberge du Bras d’Or, on Rue Saunerie (souvenir plaque), he was greeted by the Royalist Sub-Prefect and Mayor. Despite the presence of a few Royalists, cries of “Long live the Emperor” were heard everywhere, since the farmers remained staunchly loyal.
Today, Volonne is known as the “Little Nice of the Alps,” for its south-western-facing exposure. Along the Durance River, over a hundred bird species can be observed: a paradise for ornithologists! There are many medieval remains in the village. On the other side of the Durance River, on today’s Route Napoléon (RN85), the prestigious castle is appreciated for its park and architectural features.
Chapelle Saint-Jean offers an exceptional vista over the Durance Valley. At the crossroads of key roads –Route Napoléon, Routes de la Lavande, Trail of Santiago de Compostela– Sisteron is a popular stopover between the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps linking Provence and Dauphiné. It boasts nine listed National Heritage sites, including the impressive Citadel.
The region is perfectly suited for mountain biking with over 600km of marks trails. It is also ideal for gliding to discover Upper Provence from the air in a glider or ultralight craft.
• Mural at the Fountain – Volonne
• Auberge du Poisson d’Or where Napoleon had breakfast on 5 March 1815 (17, Rue Victor-Heyries) – Volonne
• Souvenir plaque: Napoleon “passa et pissa” (25, Route Napoléon) – Volonne
• GR406, authentic Route Napoléon between L’Escale, Volonne, Salignac and Sisteron
• In Rue Saunerie, a souvenir plaque marks where Napoleon had lunch at Auberge du Bras d’Or on 5 March 1815 – Sisteron
• La Bonne Étape**** Hôtel-Restaurant Relais & Châteaux Château-Arnoux Saint-Auban: www.bonneetape.com
Napoleon menu: free Fine Napoléon with water for aperitif, Consommé Austerlitz, Chicken Marengo, Imperial ice cream with lavender honey
• Grand Hotel du Cours*** (Sisteron): www.hotel-lecours.com
• Hôtel la Citadelle (Sisteron): www.hotel-lacitadelle.com
• Ristorante Au Romarin – 103 rue Saunerie à Sisteron: +33 (0)4 92 34 88 04
• Camping l’Hippocampe**** (Summer activities on the theme of Napoleon) – Route Napoléon – Volonne: www.l-hippocampe.com