If you’re motoring in France this summer, you might want to keep Frank Samson’s number handy in case of encounters with the Gendarmerie Nationale. The Paris lawyer is his country’s ‘Mr Loophole’, renowned for his expertise in motoring law, especially when it comes to keeping driving licences intact.
There’s another reason why Samson is a force to be reckoned with: for the past 10 years, he’s spent his spare time playing Napoleon I in historical re-enactments, most recently this week's re-run of Waterloo.
‘He doesn’t play Napoleon, he becomes Napoleon,’ according to France TV Magazine. Apart from the physical resemblance, the 47-year-old is an expert horseman and even mimics the first emperor’s smell: Farina 1709. Alas, like his hero, Samson's career as emperor is coming to an end. ‘Like him, I’m going to abdicate,’ he says. ‘I don’t want people joshing “look at that old crock Samson – that makes 25 years he’s been playing Napoleon!”’
Obiter notes that the speed limit in St Helena is 30mph – and 20mph on the road to Longwood, Napoleon’s island prison.