Valley of the Tomb

The Valley of the Tomb was Napoleon’s initial resting place from 1821 to 1840. His body was repatriated to France upon the request of Louis-Philippe and was re-buried in the Hotel des Invalides.

Napoleon’s burial place from 1821 to 1840

Geranium Valley, as it was named by Napoleon, covers 14 hectares and became known as the Valley of the Tomb.
Napoleon expressed his desire for his body to be buried near a source where Longwood House’s water was drawn if he could not be repatriated to France. The tomb with a wrought iron surround was topped with three stones. Until 1840, twelve British soldiers took turns to stand guard over the tomb in a specially-build guard house.

The French wanted to engrave “Napoleon” on the stones, but Saint Helena’s governor, Hudson Lowe, demanded that “Napoleon Bonaparte” be put on the tomb. This dispute resulted in nothing being engraved on the stone and it still remains blank today.

The Valley of the Tomb after 1840

In 1830, when Charles X fell, the wife of the island’s governor, Lady Dallas, a Francophile and liberal, ordered that twelve cypress trees be planted around Napoleon’s tomb as a sign of Franco-British friendship commemorating the first twelve marshals of the Empire.

One of these cypresses is still standing, together with two olive trees which were planted by the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VIII in 1925, and the other by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1957.

Find out visiting times and ticket costs for the Tomb.

Last updated on: 12 December 2018