|Bogotá's City Hall, designed by a French architect in French Rennaisance style.|
There's an exhibition going on now in north Bogotá of Memorabilia from French general and dictator Napoleon Bonaparte. In the exhibition you'll actually be able to see the saber used in Napoleon's coronation as emperor, the royal jewels, the emperor's hat and, even, the emperor's brother's bed!
In other word's, it's a display of hero worship rivaling that of Colombia's own 'El Libertador' Simon Bolivar.
Napoleon influenced Colombian history - from a distance. It was thanks to his invasion of Spain - tho not his intention - that Colombia and the rest of South America achieved independence as early as they did. With Spain weakened by French occupation, criollo loyalty to the crown withered and some Latin American leaders saw their chance to throw off Spanish rule.
|Last weeks in Bogotá! A Napoleon talks on the phone in La Candelaria.|
|Le Corbusier the Great.|
|French bread in Cafe de la |
Peña in La Candelaria.
While Colombia has received fewer European immigrants than have other Latin American nations, several French citizens have made their marks here.
|French-Colombian citizen Ingrid Betancourt |
while a captive of the FARC guerrillas.
|Pascal Tournamille, from Toulouse, |
proprietor of the La Tartine
restaurant in La Candelaria.
|A French immigrant's tomb in |
Bogotá's Central Cemetery.
Colombian leaders must regret that France did not have the U.S.'s success in digging a canal across Panama, which the French attempted to do in the 1880s, when the isthmus still belonged to Colombia. If the French had succeeded, then the U.S. likely would not have torn Panama off of the rest of Colombia, as U.S. Pres. Teddy Roosevelt later did.
'Treasures of Napoleon' runs until early May in the Claustro La Enseñanza, Calle 72 No. 7-51. Entry ranges from 15,000 pesos for students to 25,000 pesos for regular people on weekends and holidays. Open Sundays 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Mon, Tues, Wed 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Thurs, Fri. and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours