Louis Napoleon well knew how to make the day memorable. All that was wanting was money—a prodigious pile of Napoleons. With this he could easily make a pageant.
The young baby-prince was baptized in the ancient church of Notre Dame, which was fitted up in a magnificent style expressly for the occasion. On each side of the grand nave, between the main columns hung with gold and crimson drapery, a series of seats were erected, also covered with crimson velvet and gold decorations. Around the altar seats were erected for the legislative body, the senate, the diplomatic corps, and officers of state. Above these, galleries were formed, hung with drapery, for the occupation of ladies. The appearance of the interior was grand in the extreme, but it needed the splendid concourse soon to be present, to add a wonderful beauty to it.
A few minutes past six o’clock a burst of drums announced the arrival of the grand cortege in the ancient city, and the archbishop of Paris, with his assistants, went to the door or grand entrance of Notre Dame, to receive Napoleon and Eugenia. The princes and princesses had already alighted, and were ready with the clergy to receive the emperor and empress.
The procession was in something like the following order: First came the cross, followed by the archbishop and his vicar-generals. Next came the military officers of the imperial household. Then what are called the honors of the imperial infant, as follows—the wax taper of the Countess Montebello; the crimson cloth of Baroness Malaret; and the salt-cellar of the Marquess Tourmanbourg. Then came the sponsorial honors. These ladies all walked in couples, and were dressed in blue, veiled in white transparent drapery. The grand duchess of Baden and Prince Oscar of Sweden immediately preceded the prince.
The royal babe wore a long ermine mantile, and was carried by a gouvernante with two assistants, one on each side of her. The nurse followed, clad in her native costume—that of Burgundy. Marshals Canrobert and Bosquet followed the infant, and their majesties next appeared under a moving canopy.
The cardinal-legate had appeared and been welcomed before, and took his seat upon a throne erected expressly for him. Immediately in front of the altar there was erected a crimson platform, on which two crimson chairs were placed for the accommodation of Napoleon and Eugenia. Far above there was a crimson canopy lined with white, and spotted with golden bees.
Napoleon advanced up the aisle on the right of Eugenia, and a pace in advance. He did not offer her his arm, as that is considered improper in a church, according to Parisian notions of propriety. Eugenia was dressed in a light blue, covered with an exquisite lace, and she was covered with dazzling diamonds. The jewels she wore were worth nearly five millions of dollars. The blue color worn by nearly all the ladies present, was considered the appropriate color for the ruder sex of the baby. Napoleon wore the uniform of a general officer, but with white knee pants and silk stockings. He wore several orders.