He is one of those characters who divide, responsible for slavery for some, heroes for others.
But Napoleon remains "a major figure in our history," Gabriel Attal explained Wednesday, leaving the Council of Ministers, announcing at the same time that Emmanuel Macron will commemorate the bicentenary of the emperor's death.
"Obviously, there will be a commemoration by the President of the Republic", declared the spokesperson of the government, indicating that its modalities would be announced "later by the Elysee".
Napoleon, who died on May 5, 1821 on the island of Sainte-Hélène, "is a major figure in our history", to be looked at "with eyes wide open" and "in the face, including in those moments that may have be more difficult "and" on choices that appear today questionable ", according to the spokesperson.
"One of the greatest misogynists"
Emmanuel Macron, who has celebrated many memorial events since the start of his five-year term, has so far not publicly stated his intentions for this bicentenary.
The appropriateness of celebrating this anniversary is the subject of debate, with Napoleon being both one of the favorite characters of the French and a controversial figure for his actions during the fifteen years in which he exercised power, between 1799 and 1815.
Thus, the Minister responsible for Equality between women and men, Elisabeth Moreno, criticized the emperor on Sunday, at the RTL / Le Figaro / LCI grand jury, as being "one of the greatest misogynists" and for having "Reestablished slavery", while recognizing that he was "a great man of French history".
The bicentenary of Napoleon's death will also be the occasion for a major exhibition to be held at the Grande halle de la Villette in Paris between April 14 and September 19 to "paint a true portrait of a fascinating character who has shaped France today ”.
Many demonstrations are also planned in Ajaccio, the birthplace of the emperor.
It remains to be seen what will be on Emmanuel Macron's program.