On 25 March 1802, the Treaty of Amiens was signed, and peace, which was to last for under a year, returned to Britain and France. Although the politically sage saw the ‘peace’ for what it was – a ploy by Napoleon to remove the blockade on the French ports to allow the re-provisioning of his army – the British Haut Ton lost no time in returning to their beloved Paris in their thousands.
“The Dover and Calais mail packets did not recommence running till the 18th November 1801, but English visitors had begun to arrive as early as September or October. One of the earliest packets brought sixty-three ladies, and the Calais hotels were packed, seven hundred and ninety-eight passengers landing in ten days. In the last decade of Prairial (June 1802) there were ninety-one arrivals, in the last decade of Thermidor (August) ninety-seven, in the last decade of Fructidor (September) one hundred and fifty-six. The cost of a trip to Paris was what in those days seemed moderate. For £4/13s you could get a through ticket by Dover and Calais, starting either from the City at 4.30 a.m. by the old and now revived line of coaches connected with the rue Notre Dame des Victoires establishment in Paris, or morning and night by a new line from Charing Cross. Probably a still cheaper route, though there were no through tickets, was by Brighton and Dieppe, the crossing taking ten or fifteen hours. By Calais it seldom took more than eight hours, but passengers were advised to carry light refreshments with them. The diligence from Calais to Paris, going only four miles an hour, took 54 hours for the journey, but a handsome carriage drawn by three horses, in a style somewhat similar to the English post-chaise, could be hired by four or five fellow-travellers, and this made six miles an hour. £30 would cover the expense of a seven weeks’ visit, including hotels, sight-seeing, and restaurants.” [Alger, John Goldsworth: Napoleon’s British Visitors and Captives, 1801-1815]
Louis was no exception in wishing to return to Paris, though his reasons were more prosaic, as he took the opportunity to sort out his business affairs. These obviously required his attention, because they had been handled by a representative, with a power of attorney, and this arrangement was by now not all it should be. Louis, perhaps accompanied by Frances, stayed at the Hotel d’Irlande, Rue de la Loi, a very fashionable street which was renamed the Rue de Richelieu in 1806. On 15 October 1802 he appeared before the Notary Public in the Département de la Seine and gave his London address as 41, Dover Street, Piccadilly. He summoned Citizen Barison to give account of his holdings and dealings, as Barison had been acting as his proxy or agent and was in default. Barison had been summoned to attend at the same hour of 9 a.m., but as he did not show up by noon, judgement was given against him.
Louis then found a replacement agent, for a fortnight later, on 3 November, Louis again appeared before the Notary and this time granted his power of attorney to Joseph Guillon, of 263 Rue Montmartre. This suggests that Louis had kept a representative in Paris throughout the 15 years of war, and that some form of trade, presumably in silks, other cloth and shapes, was carried on during this period. The fact that he continued this arrangement implies that he was still importing materials in 1802, even if his tailoring activities had diminished. To allow judgement to be completed, the magistrate requested confirmation from the mayor of Ispagnac that Citizen Louis Bazalgette was the same Jean Louis Bazalgette who had been born in Ispagnac in 1750. In confirmation, a copy of Louis’ Acte de Naissance was received by the court on 20 March 1803.
According to the book from which the above quote was taken, Louis was on the list of visitors who had an audience with Napoleon. Many of the more important British visitors did so, and although Louis was by this time a British subject there was potentially a risk that he could have been regarded as an emigré and interned, or worse. No doubt his passport and other documents stated his importance to the Prince of Wales. Passports at the time had to be issued by the French government or ambassador.
It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall at that audience and to know what they talked about, unless it was just a paying of respects. Since he was a royalist it seems unlikely that he would have chosen to visit the Emperor on his own account.
Louis returned to London a little after the beginning of November, 1802.