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Napoleonland
January 22, 2012 2:45 AM   Subscribe

In one of the strangest new bids to get tourism dollars, Yves Jégo, the current veep of France's Radical party and the former Overseas Secretary of State, has announced plans to start raising funds for a new theme park dedicated to Napoleon.

"Napoleonland" is meant to be a rival to the hated but hugely popular Disneyland Paris, and-- according to Jégo's original blog entry here (in French)-- he suggests an educational and immersive family park where visitors "might don skis and glide down snowy battlefields" or see a recreation of Louis XVI's execution. If €200m can be raised, then Jégo hopes to see Napoleonland finished by 2017.

Reactions, in France and elsewhere, have been mixed, to say the least.
posted by suburbanbeatnik (34 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
At Moscow’s gates, he suggested in a blog, visitors might don skis and glide down snowy battlefields and later across the Berezina river, scene of a disastrous battle, “surrounded by the frozen bodies of soldiers and horses”.

Because nothing screams vacation excitement like slaughter and death.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:57 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


You must not be this tall to ride Josephine.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:11 AM on January 22, 2012 [32 favorites]


I love it when kooky European racists make America look relatively sane by comparison.
posted by bardic at 3:18 AM on January 22, 2012


Will they have a ride where people get to loot valuable paintings and statues? I bet that would have long lines. Though I think the one where 90% of you die as you retreat across frozen wastes of Russia and Central Europe might be somewhat less popular.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 3:40 AM on January 22, 2012


This story is just a politician talking out his ass and the newspapers having fun with it. No one is going to invest €200, never mind €200 million, in a Napoleon theme park.
posted by pracowity at 4:07 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love it when kooky European racists make America look relatively sane by comparison.

Huh? Napoleon's legacy is pretty complex, but I fail to understand your comment.
posted by Jehan at 4:07 AM on January 22, 2012


The water-slides are going to be off the fucking hook!
posted by Fizz at 4:35 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Strangely enough (not so strangely, in fact), this story is getting much more traction in Britain than in the French media...
posted by Skeptic at 4:37 AM on January 22, 2012


Strangely enough (not so strangely, in fact), this story is getting much more traction in Britain than in the French media...

"Only one soul was to be seen, and that was Madame Defarge—who leaned against the door-post, knitting, and saw nothing."
posted by Fizz at 4:39 AM on January 22, 2012


Skeptic, I'm not surprised. I think Pracowity is right-- and the French most likely realize that this is a transparently ridiculous thing that won't go anywhere.

But I kind of wish it would happen, since I really, really want to visit the ultimate Reign of Terror haunted house. Imagine the possibilities!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 4:41 AM on January 22, 2012


In fact, if you read the French article, you'll notice that this is simply a case of a small-town mayor, who also happens to be a candidate in the upcoming parliament elections, launching a fanciful, and so far entirely unfunded, scheme for a theme park to create jobs in his own constituency. Of course, offered a chance to harrumph over those crazy Continentals, the British press couldn't let pass the occasion.
posted by Skeptic at 4:49 AM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


If I get to have one of those novelty photos taken where I substitute my face into Ingres' Napoleon on his Imperial Throne, I am so there.
posted by the painkiller at 4:54 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's already an awesome water park in San Dimas.
posted by stargell at 5:05 AM on January 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Damnit stargell, you beat me by a minute. I will favorite you anyway.
posted by scalefree at 5:07 AM on January 22, 2012


Dnalnoelopan was I ere I saw Napoleonland!
posted by argonauta at 5:19 AM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


As English-trolling goes, this reminds me of the infamous "German scheme" to lease Majorca, 20 years ago.
posted by Skeptic at 5:21 AM on January 22, 2012




March of the Emperor
posted by jeffburdges at 5:43 AM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


If I get to have one of those novelty photos taken where I substitute my face into Ingres' Napoleon on his Imperial Throne, I am so there.

I fully expected to see Napoleon taking a crap when I clicked that link.
posted by Slothrup at 5:46 AM on January 22, 2012


If they can get Kate Beacon to do the designs than I would be in like a shot, because her Napoleon is adorable.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:48 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


If they can get Kate Beacon Beaton to do the designs than I would be in like a shot, because her Napoleon is adorable.

Because she's too awesome to misspell.
posted by Fizz at 5:58 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jeffburdges, thanks for the link to the commercial! That was hilarious!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 6:15 AM on January 22, 2012


I rather see a them park devoted to this Napoleon.
posted by jonmc at 6:34 AM on January 22, 2012


No one is going to invest €200, never mind €200 million, in a Napoleon theme park.

I, however, would gladly invest €20 in a good novel set in an alternate universe where Napoleon managed to keep Europe under his boot. Is there such a thing?
posted by hat_eater at 7:10 AM on January 22, 2012


Looks like British tabloids are trying hard to find worthy targets these days... It's a very local story and there's about 10 articles in the (mostly regional) French press about this. The concept is not even that stupid in fact: if done properly, a theme park based on French history could be actually interesting and, as Jégo mentions in his blog, there are already successful parks in France based on something else than cartoon characters. By the way, there's a Napoleon Festival organised by the town of Sarzana, Italy.
posted by elgilito at 7:18 AM on January 22, 2012


I thrill to ponder the mixture of paternalistic condescension and nationalistic contempt I could receive while being served at a French historical attraction engineered to bring in tourists...
posted by nanojath at 7:22 AM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


The water-slides are going to be off the fucking hook!

The WaterLuge!
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:37 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jehan: "I love it when kooky European racists make America look relatively sane by comparison.

Huh? Napoleon's legacy is pretty complex, but I fail to understand your comment.
"

makes as much sense as 99.6% of accusations of racism in politics
posted by 2manyusernames at 7:43 AM on January 22, 2012


A theme park is ridiculous. But they could get away with a statue monument sixty feet high like the Genghis Khan one in Mongolia. Almost every large city has a monument to some monstrous historical character. In the United States we have monuments to Andrew Jackson and Jefferson Davis and Richard Nixon and Teddy Roosevelt's face is carved on Mount Rushmore which is a two fer since that mountain was a holy place for the Sioux when some knuckleheads decided to blast a third of it away with dynamite.
posted by bukvich at 8:06 AM on January 22, 2012


hat_eater: such a work was written pretty early on. In 1836, Louis Geoffroy wrote Histoire de la Monarchie universelle: Napoléon et la conquête du monde (1812–1832) (Napoleon And The Conquest Of The World), in which, according to WIkipedia, "Napoleon subdues Russia in 1812, invades England in 1814 and goes on to become the enlightened ruler of the Earth. The book details with great and methodical precision the conquest of the rest of the world by the Emperor, and the technical and scientific achievements made by a united planet under Napoleon’s wise leadership: electric-powered dirigibles, weather control, flying automobiles, typewriters (called “writing pianos”), miracle cures, making sea water drinkable, and even the discovery of a new planet: Vulcan."
posted by Numenius at 8:18 AM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


If I get to have one of those novelty photos taken where I substitute my face into Ingres' Napoleon on his Imperial Throne,....

Whoa! That brought me back 25 years. A woman gifted me a big colour xerox version with my face on it (translation:"fuck you; pompous bastard")
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:39 AM on January 22, 2012


Arnold J. Rimmer would be pleased.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 9:00 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cadel Evans, you just won the Tour de France, what are you doing next? "I'm gonna go to Napoleonland!"
posted by Human's Nephew at 10:28 AM on January 22, 2012


Napoleon And The Conquest Of The World

Wow, not only was this book first of the genre in modern times but it also predates Verne's visions by a generation. Thanks! (It's also something of a bibliographic rarity, unfortunately.)
posted by hat_eater at 12:41 PM on January 22, 2012


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