Napoleon’s spectacular imperial barge goes on show after restoration

A spectacular imperial barge built for the infamous Napoleon Bonaparte has been unveiled at the Naval Museum in Brest, France, following a restoration project.

Ten specialist restorers worked on the vessel, which was constructed over 200 years ago in 1810, for two months prior to the opening of the new display. Visitors can appreciate the 62-foot barge from all angles, thanks to glass bays underneath and a mirror that hangs over the top.

Napoleon Bonaparte declared himself France’s emperor in 1804 and made a lasting impact on the country as a military leader, waging wars against many of the European powers of the time.

He ordered the secretive construction of the imperial barge in the spring of 1810, and it was first used to ferry him around during a visit to the French naval fleet at Antwerp later that year.

The manager of the Naval Museum said the barge is one of its “treasures” and the only vessel of its kind preserved in France.

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