[1814] - Allies take Paris (news reaches London 5 April)

Following the French retreat from Russia and their defeat at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813, the Russian Tsar Alexander I and Frederick William III of Prussia looked to invade France. In particular, Alexander I wanted to take Paris as Napoleon had taken Moscow in the autumn of 1812. Consequently, an allied force of around 100,000 soldiers (consisting of Russians, Prussians and Austrians) invaded France on New Year’s Day 1814. Napoleon’s brother Joseph Bonaparte had been left to defend Paris with a force of around 50,000 men.

The allied army arrived just outside of Paris in late March 1814: on 30 March they began their attack on the city. After a series of early successes, Russian forces assailed Montmartre and Joseph Bonaparte fled the city. Peace negotiations were initiated and, on 31 March, the French diplomat Talleyrand handed the keys of the city to Alexander I. A week later Napoleon was compelled to abdicate. He was subsequently exiled to the island of Elba after the signing of the Treaty of Fontainebleau on 11 April.

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