America has Disneyland; France may have Napoleonland.
At least those are the plans according to the Telegraph.
“Napoleonland”, the brainchild of former French minister and history buff Yves Jégo, is being touted as a rival to Disneyland – assuming, that is, it can gather the £180 million needed to leave the drawing board.
The plan is to build the unlikely amusement park on the site of the brilliant but doomed French leader’s final victory against the Austrians in the Battle of Montereau in 1814 just south of Paris.
Sounds a little strange considering that they will recreate the battle of Waterloo (Napoleon’s biggest defeat) with reenactments in which the public can join in and the Battle of Trafalgar, another big defeat. It will be portrayed with a water show. But that’s not all:
Other curious potential attractions include a ski run through a battlefield “surrounded by the frozen bodies of soldiers and horses” and a recreation of Louis XVI being guillotined during the revolution – the precursor to Napoleon’s rise to power.
“It’s going to be fun for the family,” he Mr Jégo told the Times.
Yes, what family doesn’t enjoy bloody sport? I can hear the parents now, “Look kids, blood is pouring from the king’s neck and his body’s still twitching!” Don’t call me when the nightmares start.
What about Napoleon’s trip to Egypt? Maybe that will draw a lot of Muslims who now make up a big part of French society.
And speaking of Egypt, perhaps the theme park restaurant could use a Rosetta Stone menu. You pick out a few hieroglyphics and see what comes to the table. Just hope you don’t pick lamb’s head with liver quenelles. At least there would be no doubt what dessert offerings would include. You would think you could get a nice napoleon there.
The French may be on to something. Perhaps we’ve been on the wrong track with our amusement parks with their goofy characters and happy demeanor. Look through American history and you’d find a wealth of possibilities. We already have Civil War reenactments. Memphis could do that, too, along with reenactments of the sinking of the Sultana. It was the greatest water disaster ever with 1,800 losing their lives. Maybe the park could take you out in boats traveling among the drowning as Napoleonland has planned. Keep your life jackets on!
Then there could be the Tom Lee swim marathon. Contestants could see how many people they could rescue and get a medal if they save 32 like Tom Lee did when the steamboat sank. The yellow fever epidemic that almost wiped out the city could be commemorated, too. What young boy wouldn’t like to see a gross out hospital exhibit?
France may be showing us the way. Maybe Bass Pro should hold off its plans to renovate the Pyramid and turn it into a megastore. There might be life – or death – in it yet.