The Hundred Days

The Hundred Days

  • Napoleon's landing at the Bay of Juan near Antibes, February 28, 1815.

    RAHL Carl-Heinrich (1779 - 1843)

  • The return of the Emperor.

    HEIM François Joseph (1787 - 1865)

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Title: Napoleon's landing at the Bay of Juan near Antibes, February 28, 1815.

Author : RAHL Carl-Heinrich (1779 - 1843)

Date shown: February 28, 1815

Dimensions: Height 42 - Width 52

Technique and other indications: After Johann Adam Klein (1792-1875) Burin, colored etching, paper.

Storage location: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais - Photographer unknown

Picture reference: 06-509459 / 2005.1.44.20; East. C 4

Napoleon's landing at the Bay of Juan near Antibes, February 28, 1815.

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais - Photographer unknown

To close

Title: The return of the Emperor.

Author : HEIM François Joseph (1787 - 1865)

Date shown: March 20, 1815

Dimensions: Height 14.1 - Width 18.1

Technique and other indications: Black ink, brown wash, pen.

Storage location: Bonnat Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. G. Ojedasite web

Picture reference: 04-005557

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojeda

Publication date: December 2007

Historical context

Napoleon's fall and exile

From 1812, the vast Empire formed by Napoleon began to show signs of crumbling. Four days later, Napoleon abdicates at Fontainebleau and prepares to go into exile for the island of Elba, a French possession of 222 km² close to the Italian coast which was ceded to it in full sovereignty.

Image Analysis

The Hundred Days or the "Eagle Flight"

Barely installed on the island of Elba, the fallen Emperor dreams of returning to France. Many reasons pushed him in this direction: apart from the boredom of the stay and the refusal of his wife Marie-Louise and their son to join him, he encountered significant financial difficulties due to the fact that the annuity of 2 million francs that Louis XVIII had promised him was not paid to him and became aware of the growing exasperation which was developing in France against the King and the emigrants who had returned with him in the hope of scuttling the work of the Revolution. This is how, on board the inconstant, Napoleon landed by surprise with 6 other ships and 1,100 men at Golfe-Juan, near Antibes, on the 1er March 1815, as shown in this color etching by Carl-Heinrich Rahl, made in Vienna from a painting by Johann Adam Klein. The boats anchored so close to the coast that some soldiers, in a hurry to disembark, jumped into the water and, stretched out on the sand, were drying their personal effects, while, on a hillock, Napoleon conferred with the commanders of troops. From Juan-les-Pins, Napoleon and his army reach Grenoble, then Lyon and Paris. On March 20, 1815, Napoleon made his entry into the Tuileries, from where Louis XVIII discreetly fled the day before. A wash drawing by François-Joseph Heim (1787-1865), first prize of Rome in 1807 and member of the Institute in 1829, clearly shows the popular jubilation which accompanies the return of the Emperor, taken out of his coach by soldiers and carried in triumph towards the monumental staircase of the Tuileries Palace, which Napoleon had elected as his official residence in 1800. Moved by the same enthusiasm, the crowd rushes after him into the palace's anteroom, where soldiers attempt to contain it. However, this popular impetus was short-lived: if the fall of the monarchy took place without difficulty, the Emperor nevertheless realizes that the internal situation has changed considerably since his departure and that the notables put in power by Louis XVIII are not ready to undergo a new dictatorial regime. Wishing to reconcile the good graces of the French people, Napoleon thus agreed to reform the Constitution in a relatively liberal sense and entrusted Benjamin Constant with the drafting of a Additional act to the constitutions of the Empire, which will be proclaimed on 1er June 1815 during the Champ de Mai ceremony. Outside, on the other hand, the situation is more and more tense, and Napoleon does not manage to negotiate with the allied sovereigns, England, Germany, Russia and Austria, who are determined to do battle. once and for all with “the Corsican ogre”.


Waterloo and the final fall of Napoleon

Faced with imminent external danger, Napoleon strove to reconstitute a new army, but he failed to mobilize all his troops and only a small number of generals remained loyal to him. It was finally with an army of 124,000 men and 370 pieces of artillery that he headed north to face the two Anglo-Dutch and Prussian armies of Wellington and Blücher, far superior in number. Having succeeded in joining, they rout the French army in the plain of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. From now on, Napoleon's fate is sealed: on June 22, he abdicates a second time, then is deported in October on the island of Saint Helena at the request of the English government, while Louis XVIII regained his throne on July 8. It was on that day, welcoming the King on his return from Ghent, that the Prefect of the Seine Chabrol de Volvic invented the famous expression of "One hundred days" to qualify Napoleon's ephemeral return to power, a return that had disastrous consequences for France, since the latter, militarily annihilated, was forced to accept the harsh conditions of the Allies during the second Treaty of Paris on November 20, 1815. Symbol of the collapse of the First Empire, this treaty brought back the France to its borders in 1790 and obliges it to pay considerable financial compensation, as well as to undergo foreign occupation for three years.

  • One hundred days
  • fall of the Empire
  • Great Army
  • Bonaparte (Napoleon)


Jacques-Olivier BOUDON History of the Consulate and the Empire Paris, Perrin, 2000. Roger DUFRAISSE and Michel KERAUTRET Napoleonic France: external aspects, 1799-1815 Paris, Seuil, “New history of contemporary France” vol.5, 1999. Alfred FIERRO, André PALLUEL-GUILLARD and Jean TULARD History and dictionary of the Consulate and the Empire Paris, Laffont, (Bouquins collection), 1995 Louis MADELIN History of the Consulate and the Empire Paris, Laffont, (Bouquins collection), 2003 Alain PIGEARD Dictionary of Battles of Napoleon Paris, Tallandier, 2004 Jean TULARD Dictionary Napoleon Paris, Fayard, 1999.

To cite this article

Charlotte DENOËL, "The Hundred Days"

Video: The Hundred Days - The Hundred Days