It began as the location of the Ecole de Brienne, a prestigious military academy, in 1730, which operated until 1790.
Today, the historic school building is now a museum, the primary attraction and one of the only buildings in the village.
People Born in Brienne-le-Chateau
Brienne-le-Chateau in People's Lives
Napoleon Bonaparte: I came here in May of 1779 to attend the Ecole de Brienne school. I was 10 years old, and had just spent my first 5 months in France at another prestigious school in Autun, learning French. At this school, I was teased for my Corsican accent and mostly ostracized by my fellow students, all from noble French families. I became determined to become truly French, like them, and shake off my Italian heritage. However, I still retained my accent and never learned to spell in French. I spent much of my time reading, becoming an avid lover of books. I was a dedicated, intelligent, student, recognized as being "distinguished" in mathematics and also skilled in geography and history. A school examiner recommended that I become a sailor. I finished my studies here in 1784, at the age of 15, after which I gained a place in the Ecole Militaire in Paris.