In February 1814, the Pope was released from his imprisonment. Napoleon had expressly forbidden that the Pope pass through the city of Aix because he did not wish him to receive any popular acclamation. Nevertheless the people of Aix flocked to see him to express their solidarity with his suffering and their joy at his release. Eugene was one of them.
When his dreams of military supremacy failed, Napoleon was obliged to free the Pope. The Pope left Fontainebleau on January 23, 1814 and, in stages, made his way back to Rome. On February 7, he passed through Aix. at midday. The people of Aix went out in their thousands to greet him. His vehicle had quite some difficulty making its way through the crowd. On their knees, the crowd shouted: “Long live the Pope,” and asked for his apostolic blessing. Abbé de Mazenod went even further. He gained a position at the carriage door and lost his hat. His foot slipped off the footrest and, as a result, abrasion from the carriage wheel inflicted a scratch on his heel. The coach stopped at the Orbitelle gate without entering the city. After a change of horses, the coach left for Tourves, near Toulon. That is where the Pope was to pass the night. (Eugene to Forbin-Janson, February 10, 1814).
Abbé de Mazenod decided to follow the Pope. He leaped aboard a vehicle and followed Pius VII right up to Tourves. He had the good fortune of being admitted to the papal apartment, to speak with the Holy Father and to receive his apostolic blessing. (JEANCARD, Mgr Jacques, “Mélanges historiques”, p. 235)