Directorate, Consulate and First Empire. Key Dates

Napoléon Bonaparte gains a reputation as a successful general in the defence of the French Revolution, and then takes personal power and declares himself Emperor


Paris was also standardised under Napoléon Bonaparte. On February 4 1805 the State Council decreed that within 3 months every house in Paris would be given a street number. The numbers would be of two colours according to whether they were perpendicular or parallel to the Seine and even if they were on the right, and uneven on the left. The numbers in perpendicular streets would increase as they went away from the Seine and in parallel streets would rise with the flow of the river towards the sea.

Paid for initially by the Paris Commune in 1805 perpendicular street numbers were black on ochre, and in parallel streets red on an ochre background. House owners were then responsible for maintaining them in oil paint or in varnishing them or having them remade in tiling.


On Sunday June 18 1815 Napoléon Bonaparte was overwhelmingly defeated at the battle of Waterloo, a village just south of Brussels. By dawn on Wednesday 21 June he reached the Elysée Palace in Paris where, for the second time, he abdicated the next day.

Napoléon left France for the last time on July 15, to sail to the harbour in Torbay, England. On August 7 he was transferred to a British warship for the two-month-long journey to Britain’s remotest island colony, St Helena. The man who had shaken up Europe over the previous 15 years died there aged 51 on May 5 1821.