Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 887 pages of information about Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon Complete.

There had been erected on the Place Louis XV., which was called then the Place de la Concorde, four large square rooms of temporary woodwork, for dancing and waltzing.  Stages for the presentation of pantomimes and farces were placed on the boulevards here and there; groups of singers and musicians executed national airs and warlike marches; greased poles, rope-dancers, sports of all kinds, attracted the attention of promenaders at every step, and enabled them to await without impatience the illuminations and the fireworks.

The display of fireworks was most admirable.  From the Place Louis XV. to the extreme end of the Boulevard Saint-Antoine, ran a double line of colored lights in festoons.  The palace of the Corps-Legislatif, formerly the Garde-Meuble, was resplendent with lights, and the gates of Saint-Denis and Saint-Martin were covered with lamps from top to bottom.

In the evening all those interested betook themselves to the quays and bridges, in order to witness the fireworks which were set off from the Bridge de la Concorde (now called Bridge Louis XVI.), and which far surpassed in magnificence all that had ever been seen.

CHAPTER XXII.

Wednesday, Dec. 5, three days after the coronation, the Emperor made a distribution of the colors on the Champ-de-Mars.

In front of Ecole-Militaire a balcony was erected, covered with awnings, and placed on a level with the apartments on the first floor.  The middle awning, supported by four columns, each one of which was a gilded figure representing Victory, covered the throne on which their Majesties were seated.  A most fortunate precaution, for on that day the weather was dreadful; the thaw had come suddenly, and every one knows what a Paris thaw is.

Around the throne were ranged princes and princesses, grand dignitaries, ministers, marshals of the Empire, grand officers of the crown, the ladies of the court, and the council of state.

This balcony was divided on the right and left into sixteen compartments, decorated with banners, and crowned with eagles, these divisions representing the sixteen cohorts of the Legion of Honor.  Those on the right were occupied by the Senate, the officers of the Legion of Honor, the court of appeals, and the chiefs of the national treasury, and those on the left by the Tribunate and the Corps-Legislatif.

At each end of the balcony was a pavilion.  That on the side next the city was styled the imperial tribune, and intended for foreign princes, while the diplomatic corps and foreign personages of distinction filled the other pavilion.

From this gallery an immense staircase descended into the Champ-de-Mars, the first step of which formed a bench below the tribunes, and was occupied by the presidents of the cantons, the prefects, the sub-prefects, and the members of the municipal council.  On each side of this staircase were placed the colossal figures of France making peace and France making war.  Upon the steps were seated the colonels of regiments, and the presidents of the electoral colleges of the department, holding aloft the imperial eagles.

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Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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