(20 March–28 June 1815)
The period between Napoleon's return from the island of Elba and the date of the second restoration of Louis XVIII. Napoleon landed at Cannes on 1 March while the European powers were meeting at the Congress of Vienna. He won great popular acclaim as he moved north through Grenoble and Lyons. He arrived in Paris on 20 March, less than 24 hours after Louis had fled. Napoleon's attempt to win over moderate royalist opinion to a more liberal conception of his empire failed. Moreover, he failed to persuade the Allies of his peaceful intentions, and had to prepare to defend France against a hastily reconstituted ‘Grand Alliance’. By the end of April he had only raised a total strength of 105,000 troops, the Allies having a force of almost 130,000 men. Nevertheless, Napoleon took the offensive and forced the Prussians to retreat at Ligny. Two days later, on 18 June, Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo. He returned to Paris and on 22 June abdicated for the second time. Six days later Louis XVIII was restored to power.