Not a cry you often hear on the streets of France, these days. But, there we were, sitting by the dock, waiting for Napoleon III to arrive, greet his wife Eugenie, and survey his new lands. Sadly, as the Mayor said, we weren't able to greet the Crown Prince, in whom rests the future of France. He finally turned up (delayed, as the announcer said, by the Spanish, who just didn't appreciate the importance of the French royal family - 150 years clearly hasn't changed much) and it has to be said, the cheers were muted. Apart from the woman standing right behind me, who was extremely vocal in her appreciation for His Majesty.
150 years ago yesterday, The Emperor of France arrived to take stock of Nice and its surroundings, who had just chosen to join him, rather than Italy, or whatever the other options were. He landed at Villefranche, due to an unfortunate miscalculation as to the depth of water needed for the Imperial Yacht - though the official reason given was due to maritime conditions. (Again, according to the announcer today.) Wouldn't you have hated to be the one to break *that* to the Mayor?
"Excuse me, sir, but you need to come in to the mairie and dress up today"
"Why? It's hot. Fuck off."
"The Emperor is coming here."
"Don't be silly, we're a small fishing village in the middle of nowhere. Why would he come here?"
"The idiots in Nice fucked up - he'll be here in about an hour - best get started on your speech!"
Yeah. A bad day, all things considered. His speech was good though - they gave it again today, to welcome Napoleon again. We all waved flags (though they were the modern French flag, not the relevant one from the time), occasional cheers were heard of "Vive l'Empereur", people were dressed in costume and must have been dying from the heat (and the Most Bossy Woman In The World was shouting at them to make sure they all curtseyed in time with each other and turned at the same time as each other - it was positively military!), and there were horse-drawn carriages to convey the Imperial Party around Villefranche. (Sadly, as you'll see below, they didn't close the roads, so the Emperor got stuck in traffic. Bet that never happened in the old days...)
The hired guests:
Emperor and guests:
Emperor and carriage:
Emperor's marching band:
Emperor hitting traffic jam: