France -- That European nation ruled by the Italian emperor Napoleon, a man Simon Wiess greatly admired. It is where Marshal Andre Massena lived out his last years and is where Simon's son Mark Wiess traveled when he got the acorns from the grave site of Napoleon. Simon named his eldest son Napoleon and his youngest son Massena as a sign of his admiration for those men.
Paralleling the tumultuous years in Simon Wiess' birthplace of Poland, France was also in turmoil. The French people became so angry at the monarchy that in 1789 they formed a National Assembly followed shortly by the French Revolution. The Republic of France was formed and King Louis XVI and his Queen Marie Antoinette were sent to the guillotine in 1793. It was a terrible time for France as Maximilien Robespierre, with his Jacobin allies and the Committee of Public Safety are thought to be responsible for as many as 40,000 more executions. Finally, in 1799, a group of three Consuls -- Abbe Sieyes, Roger Ducos and Napoleon Bonaparte -- who restored some semblance of order. Napoleon soon manipulated himself into the position of First Consul, moving the other two consuls into retirement, and became the leader of France. In 1802 he was named Consul for Life and in 1804 he was named the Emperor of France.
The year of 1812 saw Napoleon's march on Moscow and his terrible defeat there followed by the disastrous retreat from Russia. In 1815, Napoleon was forced to abdicate and was exiled to Elba. He escaped and began his One Hundred Days of rule, ending at Waterloo and leading to his exile to the island of St. Helena where he died in 1821. His body was to have two temporary resting places -- first on St. Helena and then in 1840 in France, with it finally being interred in his tomb in 1861.
Our records do not indicate whether Simon Wiess ever visited France, but his extensive travels throughout the Mediterranean and the Northern Atlantic would suggest that he had every opportunity to do so.