A work of art in honour of Napoleon and General Pajol
At the junction between the Seine and Yonne rivers stands a bronze equestrian statue of Napoleon, erected in 1867 in memory of the battle of Montereau.
During this battle, in February 1814, General Claude-Pierre Pajol, a great figure of the Napoleonic army’s light cavalry, distinguished himself by breaking the Austrian column which was positioned on the main road to Montereau. With this attack, the enemy was deprived of all its artillery, and, taken by surprise, was pushed back southwards beyond the territory of Seine-et-Marne.
If every General had served me as you have, the enemy would not be in France".
Thanks to this, General Pajol succeeded in recapturing the bridges of Montereau and in bringing victory to Napoleon. When he returned to Montereau, Napoleon embraced him and made him a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour on 19th February 1814, saying: “If every General had served me as you have, the enemy would not be in France".
It was to pay homage to Napoleon and, indirectly, to his father, that Charles-Pierre-Victor Pajol sculpted the equestrian statue of Napoleon on its granite pedestal decorated with two high reliefs.
This work also recalls the battle of Montereau, during which Napoleon, from the heights of Surville, delivered what would become a famous statement: "Do not fear my friends, the cannonball that will kill me has not been melted yet".