2015 will commemorate the bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo. An event that shaped Europe's history.
Walking in the footsteps of Napoleon's army
On the Napoleon Trail in Wallonia, you will travel from Beaumont to Waterloo via Thuin, Charleroi, Fleurus, Ligny. This itinerary, which follows the French emperor's route to battle the British and Prussian forces, is a GPS route for cars, coaches and bicycles. A series of signs has been created to make it easy for visitors to make their way to each of the sites linked to the history of Napoleon in Wallonia. A history to be (re)discovered in a Michelin guide and through video pods.
Four days to win
The battle of Waterloo, signalled the end of Napoleon's escape from the Island of Elba, a hundred day period in which Napoleon had taken back his throne, without shedding any blood. But the treaty of Vienna, which put an end to French ambitions, was signed and the European powers united against Napoleon.
Napoleon launched a lightning offensive against the armies of Wellington and Blücher, in Belgium. With an army of 120,000 men, he crossed the border at Hestrud on 15 June. On 16 June, two battles took place: the battle of Quatre-Bras (in Genappe) and the battle of Ligny led by Napoleon himself. Napoleon was victorious and his enemies retreated towards Wavre and Brussels. On 17 June, Napoleon split his army to pursue his enemies and, above all, prevent them from communicating. The ultimate battle took place on 18 June. Wellington chose the venue, and reinforced two points: Hougoumont farm and Haie-Sainte farm. The battle lasted the whole day, but at 7pm, after having given everything, Napoleon was defeated. 50,000 men were killed or injured that day, as were 10,000 horses.
Bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo
Two hundred years on, in 2015, we have the opportunity to remember these crucial moments which left their indelible mark on the history of Europe. There is a whole host of festivities from 18 to 21 June 2015: re-enactments, a pyrotechnics show on the Lion's mount, the inauguration of Hougoumont farm and the discovery of the new Waterloo memorial.
You can already follow in the footsteps of Napoleon's army by following the Napoleon Trail in Wallonia equipped with a GPS. The signs help to make sure that you won’t miss any of the sites that were marked by the battles, the armies’ camps or by the 94km march between Beaumont and Waterloo.