In the history between Napoléon and Fontainebleau, there are many facts to recall. One of them is his farewell to the guard, when all was lost for him.
It took place in 1814, after his defeat, a few days before he was taken to Elba island by the British, where he would stay until his last breath.
In a poignant scene, the Old Guard paraded in the courtyard of Fontainebleau. Facing the immaculate ranks of his Old Guard, Napoleon’s words were laced with emotion as he told them: « Soldiers of my Old Guard, I bid you goodbye. For twenty years I have found you uninterrupotedly on the path of honour and glory. Lately no less than when things went well you have continously been models of courage and loyalty. With men like you our cause was not lost; but the war could not be ended: it would have been civil war, and that would only have brought France more misfortune. So I have sacrificed our interests for those of the Patrie. I am leaving you, my friends, are going to go on serving France. France’s happiness was my one thought; and it will always be what I wish for most. Don’t be sorry for me; if I have chosen to go on living, I have done so in order to go on serving your glory. I want to write about the great things we have done together! ….Goodbye, my children! I should like to press you all to my heart, but at least I shall kiss your flag! »