What are you talking about?
Wasn‘t Napoleon a french emperor back in the 1800‘s? Yes,yes he was but i‘m talking about a little street in Australia. To be more precise a street in Cottesloe, one of Perth‘s most beautiful suburbs and it wasn‘t even named after this Napoleon but i‘m going to tell you more about that later.
Napoleon St is a one-way shopping precinct right next to the Cottesloe trainstation and probably disregarded by most of the tourists as they are all heading the other way to the famous Cottesloe foreshore and the magnificent beach that the suburb is renowned for.
The street is not even a few hundret metres long but packed with lots of individual shops where you can spend a whole afternoon strolling from one shop to another and enjoy a drink and some food in between.
The reason why i recommend visiting this street is because most of the shops that are located here you won‘t find in any of the big shopping malls and the owner and employeers in the shops take pride in making your shopping more enjoyable.
Every now and then the street is centre of a village festival or special event and the nearby roads will be closed of for public traffic for the duration of the event. This is the time to enjoy local food and homemade produce and to get in touch with the australian community. For more information about upcoming events you can visit the community site from the town of Cottesloe.
The suburb itself is beautiful to just walk around and explore the area and at nighttime you can listen to music or go to one of the restaurants or the pub located on Stirling Highway on the corner of Napoleon Street.
MUST DO´S at Napoleon St
- Grab a coffee at Cimbalino – honestly this place is awesome and they know how to make good coffee. They also have a variety of little snacks and food for breakfast and lunch. The shop itself is pretty cute with names of former customers and their favourite drinks written on the walls.
- Have a relaxing evening with friends at Van‘s – Van‘s is a family owned restaurant and coffee shop at the end of the street and it seems to be open literally every day. It offers everything from coffee and breakfast in the morning to lunch and dinner with a nice beer or glass of wine in the afternoon and evening.
- Try an almond croissant at Baker Street – Baker Street is a premium artisan bakery at the beginning of Napoleon St which has a wide variety of breads and pastries but if you are into almond croissant you are going to LOVE it there.
- Stroll down the street and enjoy all the little chlothes and decoration shops along your way.
- If you can manage to come when a street fair is on – do it! It is great. The whole street is packed with little stands that are selling local or homemade produce and food, often accompanied by life music, street art or kids entertainment programs.
There is a whole bunch of other great things that you can see and do while you are already in Cottesloe.
As i mentioned before there is of course the famous Cottesloe beach which is especially worth a visit during March when the annual ´´sculpture by the sea´´exhibition (a major free to public arts event) is on. The free Cott-Cat is a bus that runs a loop from the trainstation to the beach every 10 minutes during the summer months but otherwise it is just a 10 minutes walk from the trainstation to get down to the foreshore.
But it is also worth to have a look on the other side of Napoleon Street that leads down to the river.
Starting with the Grove library on the left and the Cottesloe Central shopping center on the right it is nice to walk down to the river especially after the rain when you can smell the Peppermint Trees and if you are an early riser you can see the most beautiful sunrises above the river.
The Library also offers some heritage tours around Cottesloe, Peppermint Grove and Mosman Park if you want to learn more about the history and development of the area.
Other streets close to Napoleon Street like Station Street and Jarrad Street also hold some interesting shops like Boatshed Market where you can buy and try fresh produce or Fiddlestick Toys which is a children store where you can find anything from books and games to toys and crafting equipment.
With the Cottesloe trainstation close by you should definetely consider to catch the train to Fremantle which another amazing and famous suburb.
Back in the 1850‘s future Napoleon St was little more than a government owned piece of land reserved for trucker, an unsurfaced track to the railway siding.
In 1882 the famous halfway house (today the Albion hotel on the corner of Stirling Highway and Napoleon St) was bought by Robert Napoleon Bullen as an investment to transform the former inn into a big landmark with huge improvements. The plans for the future Albion Hotel were made but Robert Bullen passed away before he could fullfill his dream .His name lives on in Napoleon St which, since macadamised in 1899, has always been the shopping precinct and heartbeat of Cottesloe and his neighbour Peppermint Grove. This is probably due to the fact that it was close to the railwaystation and also close to the first post office that opened up in the area in 1897.
The first shop in the street was run by a Lady called Miss McDonald who sold sweets and cakes.
Once Napoleon St was paved and made into a one-way street it gained a more cosmopolitan appearance with specialty stores and boxed ornamental shrubs along the street.
A keepsake of this time might be found today in painted paving stones in front of some buildings along the street.
1990 a Dome International Coffee shop was introduced and was followed by other tea and coffee shops ever since.
Today the oldest excisting shop in Napoleon St is ´´Shiraz´´.
How to get there
It‘s pretty easy. You can catch the train from the city (blue Fremantle line) depart at Cottesloe station and head east. If you have a car you can drive down Stirling Highway towards Fremantle and take a right turn when you see the Cottesloe Central shopping center on the left side.