| Communiqué de presse

“Napoleon & École Polytechnique”
A Brand-New Online and In-House Exhibition

On the occasion of the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon I, on May 5, 2021, École Polytechnique and its museum, the Mus’X, are commemorating this anniversary with a brand-new exhibition[1] on its campus just south of Paris, France and an original virtual audio series.

May 5, 2021 marks the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon I, an illustrious figure in France’s as well as in École Polytechnique’s history. On this occasion, from May 5th to November 5th 2021, École Polytechnique and its museum, the Mus’X, give the general public the opportunity to revisit the ties between Napoléon Bonaparte and École Polytechnique, which owes to Napoleon I its military status, its flag, and its motto: “For the Nation, Science, and Glory”.   

By browsing through a virtual series in thirteen episodes, available via a dedicated website, Napoleon-polytechnique.com, and an exhibition on the school’s campus, visitors can relive the Napoleonic era through key events, decisive actors, and emblematic objects or representations involving the school. The thirteen episodes, told in chronological order, end outside the walls of École Polytechnique, at Les Invalides, which houses the tomb of Napoleon I as well as that of his son, the King of Rome (Napoleon II).

“Through this unique exhibition, École Polytechnique commemorates its ties with Napoleon Bonaparte, paying tribute to the man who shaped the school’s military DNA and instilled in it a profound attachment to the country. This virtual journey plunges us into the heart of the Napoleonic era and reminds us of the contributions of teachers, scientists, and students at l’X to scientific and societal progress even this early on, especially during the expeditions led by Bonaparte. This exhibition offers a wonderful example of École Polytechnique’s unique heritage, rich with more than two hundred years of history, that l’X and its museum bring to the spotlight,” states Eric Labaye, President of École Polytechnique.

Founded in 1794, École Polytechnique received continuous attention from Napoleon Bonaparte. Long before coming to power, he visited the school regularly and considered it to be “his goose that lays golden eggs” due to the large number of officers in his army and leaders of his administration who came from the school. He returned to École Polytechnique for a last visit during the Hundred Days period to salute the contribution from Polytechnicians in the defense of Paris in 1814, commemorated by the statue of the Conscript, now installed in the “Cour d’Honneur” courtyard at École Polytechnique.
This online and in-house exhibition will be accessible from
May 5th to November 5th 2021 at the Mus’X at École Polytechnique and via:
[1] The exhibition at the Mus’X will open as soon as health & safety conditions in France allow

À propos de l’École polytechnique

Largement internationalisée (41% de ses étudiants, 40% de son corps d’enseignants), l’École polytechnique associe recherche, enseignement et innovation au meilleur niveau scientifique et technologique. Sa formation promeut une culture d’excellence à forte dominante en sciences, ouverte sur une grande tradition humaniste. À travers son offre de formation – bachelor, cycle ingénieur polytechnicien, master, programmes gradués, programme doctoral, doctorat, formation continue – l’École polytechnique forme des décideurs à forte culture scientifique pluridisciplinaire en les exposant à la fois au monde de la recherche et à celui de l’entreprise. Avec ses 23 laboratoires, dont 22 sont unités mixtes de recherche avec le CNRS, le centre de recherche de l’X travaille aux frontières de la connaissance sur les grands enjeux interdisciplinaires scientifiques, technologiques et sociétaux. L’École polytechnique est membre fondateur de l’Institut Polytechnique de Paris.

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