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Guide to Ajaccio: Home of Napoléon Bonaparte

Military commander, short man with his hand folded across his chest, dictator riding on a magnificent horse. Napoléon Bonaparte has many images and titles that precede his name. But beyond the pages of history textbooks, who was this Frenchman? Napoléon I certainly left his mark on French history, including in his hometown of Ajaccio on the island of Corsica. Here’s a brief history of Napoléon Bonaparte as well as a guide to Ajaccio.

Guide to Ajaccio: Home of Napoléon Bonaparte

Napoléon’s Early Life in Ajaccio

Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1769, Napoléon was born in the town of Ajaccio on the French island of Corsica. It was just the year prior that France had annexed this Mediterranean island from the Italian city state of Genoa, according to  Napoléon attended elementary school in Ajaccio, and at age 9, he left for mainland France to improve his French, according to Corsica had its own dialect and had heavy Italian influence, per “He was however to keep his accent when speaking French, and his spelling was full of Italianisms, confusions and pure inventions,” says Thierry Lentz.

Napoléon’s Military Career

Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Throughout his life, he would go between mainland France and his home island of Corsica. In 1784, Napoléon started at the École Militaire in Paris. The irony of his military achievements is that he finished 42nd out of 58 students at the Paris military academy, per Britannica. Nevertheless, Napoléon Bonaparte made a name for himself and France with his military achievements; out of the 60 battles fought, he only lost 7, according to the World History Encyclopedia

In 1804, he named himself emperor and continued his military campaigns. However, his defeat by Russia led him to exile to the island of Elba in 1814, according to Not one to give up too quickly, Napoléon escaped exile and came back to France to reclaim his throne. The following three months or so would be named Napoléon’s Hundred Days, as he sought to regain control of France but to no avail, per The Collector. His fate was determined with his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, which led to his exile once again. In 1821, he died in exile on the island of Saint Helena, and later his remains were transferred to Les Invalides in Paris, per

Napoléon Bonaparte’s Legacy

Photo by JR Harris on Unsplash

It’s been hundreds of years since Napoléon Bonaparte lived, but you’ll still find his influence throughout France, including Ajaccio. Although his reputation includes military defeat, escaped exile and dictatorship, Napoléon Bonaparte managed to leave a positive legacy. Napoléon founded the Bank of France and the Napoleonic Code, which saw the end of feudalism, per PBS. “He is often ranked alongside Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar as one of history’s most brilliant generals,” according to the World History Encyclopedia. “He also implemented a set of civil laws, best known as the Napoleonic Code, that was adopted throughout much of continental Europe and influenced the judicial systems of many modern nations.”

Today you can explore Napoléon I’s heritage and legacy in Ajaccio. His family home has been turned into a museum that can be visited today. Admire the artwork at the Palais Fesch, an art museum with many pieces from Napoléon’s uncle. Several statues in his likeness can also be visited. Here are more activities to explore in Ajaccio and Corsica.

Morning Boat Cruise to Îles Sanguinaires and Gulf of Ajaccio

Discover the bright blue waters of the north shore of Ajaccio with a private boat tour. You’ll float past famed singer Tino Rossi’s home, the Chapel of the Greeks and the citadel. Your private boat tour includes a stop at the island Mezu Mare where you can take a swim or see the Alphonse Daudet lighthouse.

Discovery of Ajaccio in Napoléon Bonaparte’s Footsteps

Reading a history book just won’t suffice. If you’re a history buff wanting to trace the steps of Napoléon Bonaparte in Ajaccio, look no further. We’ll organize a private guided tour as you explore Napoléon’s birthplace of Ajaccio and see history for yourself.

Wine Tour to Sartène and Alta Rocca

Ajaccio sea view
Photo by Jon Amdall on Unsplash

Corsica’s crystal blue waters and Napoleonic history aren’t the island’s only assets. Dive headfirst into Corsican wine country with visits to the town of Sartène and the Alta Rocca region. Sip on one of Corsica’s famed wines such as Vermentino or Sciacarello. Your private chauffeur will take you to some of the region’s finest domains.

Where to Stay in Ajaccio

Les Mouettes
Indulge in a stay at this four-starred hotel nestled against the coast. This 19th century villa offers 27 unique rooms where you can rest your head after a full day at the beach and in the town of Ajaccio. At Les Mouettes, hotel guests may enjoy access to its private beach as well as snorkels and lounge chairs. Take a dip in the hotel’s saltwater pool and enjoy a glass of wine on its terrace.

Longing to see the legacy of Napoléon Bonaparte with your own eyes and feet? You might be interested in: Luxury Stay in Southern Corsica or The Highlights of Corsica in Comfort and Style. Need some help planning your trip?

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