view-countries-simple.phtml

Napoleon’s tomb


Napoleon's tomb St Helena by Tricia Hayne It was Napoleon himself who chose the Sane Valley as his final resting place © Tricia Hayne

Today, a fence separates visitors from the tomb itself, somewhat accentuating its isolation in this lonely but serene spot.

It is said that Napoleon himself chose Sane Valley as his final resting place – though this was not quite how it turned out. Approached down a sometimes slippery track that was originally cut for the funeral cortege, the original (and now empty) tomb is quite well hidden, about 10–15 minutes’ walk from the road. Today, a fence separates visitors from the tomb itself, somewhat accentuating its isolation in this lonely but serene spot. At the time of Napoleon’s interment the tomb was surrounded by willows, but these have now been replaced by Norfolk Island pines, backed by a profusion of well-tended but natural-looking shrubs. Still standing in its original spot, though, is the guard shack: even after Napoleon’s death, the British kept a close watch over the former emperor. His memorial stone bears no inscription, for the simple ‘Bonaparte’ was rejected by Hudson Lowe, and the French were insulted by his counter-suggestion of ‘Napoleon Bonaparte’. Napoleon’s body, securely encased in four separate coffins, remained here for nearly 20 years until, in 1840, it was removed and taken back to France, where it resides with due decorum at Les Invalides in Paris.

Back to the top

St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha articles

View all

A trip to St Helena

Photographer Scott Bennett shares his experiences exploring and capturing on camera one of the most remote places he has ever visited, the tiny island of St Helena. 

Read more...

Unusual dive sites

We've all heard of the Great Barrier Reef, but what about these more unknown dive sites?

Read more...

The world’s best whale-watching destinations

With whale-watching being the fastest-growing tourist activity worldwide, you may be keen to catch a glimpse of some for yourself. Here are some of the best destinations to do so.

Read more...

Related books

View all