An estimated 20,000 men perished on June 18, 1815, on the plains of Waterloo, Belgium, the site of Napoleon Bonaparte’s downfall and a dramatic coda to the decades-long Napoleonic Wars.
On that day, Napoleon sought to capture Brussels and separate and divide the armies of the Duke of Wellington and Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. Despite defeating the Prussians on June 16 at the Battle of Ligny, Napoleon was unable to force them to retreat entirely, meaning they were still free to support Wellington’s force. Needing a decisive victory to prevent an invasion of France, Napoleon decided to attack, according to Antara Bate of HistoryHit.
The climatic one-day battle ranks as the third bloodiest of Napoleon’s campaigns and signaled the beginning of a nearly 50-year peace in Europe.
Today, the hallowed grounds draw over a quarter-million visitors, a number boosted by the area’s panoramic views and serene surroundings.
At least, that was until this month.
Beginning June 1 and running until the end of the month, a “unique dining experience” has popped-up over the battle’s landscape. Advertised as “Dinner in the sky,” the restaurant boasts that adventurous foodies can eat 164 feet above where Wellington defeated Bonaparte once and for all.
According to The Brussel Times, “a total of 3,000 guests will be hosted at a table perched 50 metres above the Lion’s Mound, highlighting the history of the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington.”
“Aside from a four-course menu (two starters, a main course, and a dessert),” The Times continued, “diners will be served entertainment by soldiers in full regalia, campfires, cannon, drums and a video mapping animation on the facade of the panorama.”
Tourists making the trek for the 208th anniversary of the battle and perhaps seeking a more somber experience, however, “Couldn’t escape [the pop-up] if [they] wanted to.”
Hoisted by a large crane near the famed Lion’s Mound, the attention-grabbing restaurant went even further on June 18 by treating diners and tourists alike to the dulcet tones of ABBA blasting across the hallowed grounds.
One visitor took to Twitter to describe the tourism-gone-rogue experience, as he was subjected to the famed Swedish quartet’s hit, “Waterloo” as he surveyed the battlefield.
The original Twitter post lamented that “Belgian commercial interests turn[ed] the #Waterloo battlefield into Disneyland.”
The experience ranges from €150 (roughly $164) for cocktails to well over €300 ($328) for an evening dinner.
It remains unclear, however, if Beef Wellington is on the menu.
Claire Barrett is a digital media editor at HistoryNet and a World War II researcher with an unparalleled affinity for Sir Winston Churchill and Michigan football.