About Far South-Eastern France – Alpes Maritimes and Haute-Provence
On March 1, 1815, after ten months in exile, Napoleon landed just east of Cannes, with a modest following of 700 men. His welcome was less than overwhelming – emissaries sent in advance had been imprisoned – so next morning the party marched north into the snow-covered heights of Haute-Provence, and arrived in Grenoble at 11pm on March 7. Today, the spectacular Route Napoléon can be driven in a single day at a push, but a mid-way break around Sisteron is even better, and makes a terrific alternative route to or from the coast instead of the motorway trek south via Marseille.
Many of the best places to visit can be seen by following part or all of the Route Napoleon, but the other highlight of this section is the majestic Grand Canyon du Verdon.
There are flights from Paris to Lyon, Grenoble and Nice; and fast TGV trains from Paris serve Lyon (two hours) with connections to Grenoble. The Train des Pignes – the Pinecones Train – is a spectacular local journey connecting Nice and Digne, as good as the old Alpazur train which sadly no longer functions.