Napoleon and the Battle of Craonne


Napoleon statue

Napoleon statue was erected by the Aisne Tourist Board in order to commemorate the Battle of Craonne.

This battle, which took place on March 7, 1814 near the village of Craonne, was the Emperor’s last victory.

It opposed his troops to the Russian and Prussian armies, and tragically resulted in the death of 5400 of his soldiers and 5000 Coalition soldiers.

Napoleon directed the military operations from the Moulin de Vauclair.

This windmill, which belonged to the former Cistercian abbey of Vauclair, stood on the hills located to the west of the village.

A century later, French and Germans engaged once more in tragic offensives along the Chemin des Dames and the nearby Ferme d’Hurtebise.

As a result, both the windmill and the village of Craonne were entirely destroyed.

The village has been kept in its war state and consequently turned into a memorial site, known as Vieux Craonne; Craonne is the name of the ‘new’ village, rebuilt after the war.

Napoleon statue in Craonne

Georges Hurotte sculpted the statue of Napoleon I, which stands on the site of the windmill.


Statue erected on site of Moulin de Vauclair

The Minister of the Interior Michel Poniatowsk unveiled Napoleon statue on June 30, 1974.

Napoleon is represented focused and gazing towards the battlefield, dressed in his famous overcoat and with his sword at the waist.

His hands are folded in his back, and he holds the long view he used to observe the battlefield downhill near Craonne.

A table of orientation, at the rear of the statue, allow the visitors to discover the site of the battle.

The following dedication is engraved at the base of Napoleon statue:

“Commémoration de la Bataille de Craonne le 7 Mars 1814

Ce monument a été érigé par le Comité de Tourisme de l’Aisne,
Inauguré le 30/06/1974 par Michel Poniatowski.
Ministre d’Etat – Ministre de l’Intérieur.”

“Commemoration of the Battle of Craonne of March 7, 1814

This monument was erected by the Aisne Tourist Board
Inaugurated on 06.30.1974 by Michel Poniatowski.
Minister of State – Minister of Interior. “

Directions: Picardie region – Aisne department – Route Départementale RD18CD – Craonne

Coordinates Napoleon statue: Lat 49.440124 – Long 3.764756