Our plan today was to visit the coastal town of Wimereux but on the way we passed once more through Boulogne-Sur-Mer and stopped first of all at La Colonne de la Grande Armée. This is a monument based on the design of Trajan’s Column in Rome which was begun in 1804 but not completed for forty years or so and is a fifty-three metre-high monument topped with a statue of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.
Nelson’s column, by the way, in Trafalgar Square in London is shorter at forty-six metres high.
It marks the location of the base camp where Napoleon assembled an army of eighty thousand men all reeking of garlic, impatient and ready to invade England. It was initially intended to commemorate a successful invasion, but this proved to be rather premature and as he didn’t quite manage that it now commemorates instead the first distribution of the Imperial Légion d’honneur.