Napoleon Was Weirder Than I Realized | Paris, France

When I travel, I like to make lists of things I’d like to see where I prioritize my “CAN’T MISS” items near the top and work my way to the less important “We can go if we have time”, but still interested items, at the bottom. Visiting Napoleon’s Tomb in Paris was absolutely at the top of my list. As a historical figure, he stands out as having a lot of quirky personality traits alongside a huge ego and I figured his tomb would not disappoint.


I wasn’t wrong.

It was gregarious, over the top, and also absolutely gorgeous. It exceeded my expectations, that’s for sure. We wandered around, soaking it all in, and I was amazed at the beauty in the room. The loveliness of it all really surprised me but I was happy when we saw his actual tomb where he is buried is GINORMOUSLY MASSIVE, to help compensate for his short stature, or so I thought. He was actually 5’6″ – which I was surprised to find out. He was not nearly as tiny as my limited history knowledge remembered him to be (I suck at history though).


Since I was surprised about his real height, I decided to read up on him afterwards and was thrilled to come across some awesomely random “facts” about him. DISCLAIMER: I say “facts” because, as you know, anything on the internet has to be true, right? So, without fact checking or verifying these through Wikipedia (the front runner of truth and knowledge), I give you my favorites:

1. Credited with originating the phrase “a picture is worth 1,000 words,” what Napoleon actually said, as quoted in L’Arche de Noé, was: “A good sketch is better than a long speech.”

2. Napoleon had “Ailurophobia”, meaning he was afraid of cats (although debated as being true). He also was terrified of open doors; anybody entering the room had to squeeze through a barely adequate opening and then close the door immediately.


3. All of his meals were eaten quickly and in silence. He also did not allow people to clap at shows. Once, a singer sang an aria so well, that the Minister of the Italian kingdom broke the silence and shouted “bravo” several times. Then he came to his senses, got up from his chair and crawled on all fours out of the lounge to avoid being found by Napoleon.

And the piece de resistance………

(stop reading now if you are of virgin mind/spirit and easily offended….everyone else I know that made you even more interested)


4.  The doctor who performed Napoleon’s autopsy was feeling vengeful for not being included in the will and cut off Napoleon’s penis (yes, you read that correctly) to give to a priest in Corsica (along with removing other organs and body parts for people to take). Legends were whispered amongst the people that he was buried missing his *ahem* member. The family of the Corsican priest released it for auction in 1916 where it was discovered it had never been properly preserved but still was successfully sold. It has been purchased multiple times and now resides in……..New Jersey (again, you read that correctly). French officials remain skeptical it really is his and won’t exhume his body to know for sure.

So, there you have it. Knowledge is power, my friends. 


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