COVID RIDE : NAPOLEON IS NO MORE CONFINED

Story and Photos by ITN European Reporter Herve’ Rebollo:

Salut à toi American rider,

Confinement in France is over. YES!!! … Finally almost done … More or less ended … But it’s still quite complicated  … In fact since the morning of Monday the 11th May we can get out from home but … we are not authorized to go more than 100km from home (means 62 miles). And none restaurant, theater, stadium or concert places is opened …

Ok, I can deal with it. Two months without riding never happened to me before … I’m almost getting mad with it … Let’s go. Ride it man!!

Studying the map, I’ve decided to go to the little city of MONTEREAU FAULT YONNE, an historical place in the French history. Here, in 1814, the BOSS, Napoleon (not Springsteen), won his last battle … before having some “trouble” with the all rest of Europe …

So, riding along tiny roads, it’s exactly 100km from home at the crow flies …it means I would have a round trip of about 230km this sunny Sunday 17th of May. The idea was having a cool lil ride, learning about history of my Nation and bringing home a maximum of cool pix.

The weather was simply perfect. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday. Keep bucolic my friend!

On my way, I made a stop at the SAFRAN’s aerial museum. It was closed, not a problem, got my fist cool pic of the day!

And did you know that no more that 50km from Paris center we have petroleum, with oil exploitation sites ? If I’m not wrong we have about 65 oil wells around Paris.

And some big oil refineries …

Nice villages after amazing sites …

It took me finally 3 hours to reach my destination …

And I already had some cool pix in my camera … But the best was yet to come.

Welcome to MONTERAU FAULT YONNE!

Or simply Montereau, which is a commune in the SEINE ET MARNE department in the Île de France region which in turn is in north-central France.

The city takes its name from its geographical position on the confluence of the YONNE and the SEINE rivers. Fault, also spelled faut comes from the verb faillir (“to fail”) in its old meaning to fall. Montereau is where the Yonne falls into the Seine. Historically, the city has sported a strong industrial base and thus has strong blue collar roots. In recent decades, unemployment has become an increasing problem, especially within the immigrant community.

And finally, He was still there, waiting for me … the absolute idol of the French people …

The Battle of Montereau (18 February 1814) was fought during the War of the Sixth Coalition between an Imperial French army army led by Emperor Napoleon himself and a corps of Austrians and Württembergers commanded by Crown Prince Frederick William of Württemberg. While Napoleon’s army mauled an Allied army under Von Blücher, the main Allied army commanded by Prince of Schawarzenberg advanced to a position dangerously close to Paris. Gathering up his outnumbered forces, Napoleon rushed his soldiers south to deal with Schwarzenberg. Hearing of the approach of the French emperor, the Allied commander ordered a withdrawal, but 17 February saw his rear guards overrun or brushed aside.

Ordered to hold Montereau until nightfall on the 18th, the Crown Prince of Württemberg posted a strong force on the north bank of the Seine River. All morning and past noon, the Allies stoutly held off a series of French attacks. However, under increasing French pressure, the Crown Prince’s lines buckled in the afternoon and his troops ran for the single bridge to their rear. Brilliantly the French cavalry got among the fugitives, captured the spans over both the Seine and Yonne rivers and seized Montereau. The Allied force suffered heavy losses and the defeat confirmed Schwarzenberg’s decision to continue the retreat to the city of Troyes.

 

See there a reenactment for the century of the battle:

It was the last Napoleon’s victory …

And time for me to come back home crossing the French campaign. Short but great ride in this half deconfined country with such a strange ambiance … no one on the roads, except some lost bikers like me …

Hope you can freely ride now in your State, in the USA my American friend. Take care and be safe in your daily life. See ya soon on the road, who knows?

Hervé, your French rider friend