Napoleon was crowned Emperor of the French on Sunday, December 2, 1804, at Notre-Dame de Paris in Paris. It marked "the instantiation of modern empire" and was a "transparently masterminded piece of modern propaganda".
Napoleon wanted to establish the legitimacy of his imperial reign, with its new dynasty and new nobility. To this end, he designed a new coronation ceremony unlike that for the kings of France, which had emphasized the king's consecration and anointment and was conferred by the archbishop of Reims in Reims Cathedral. Napoleon's was a sacred ceremony held in the great cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris in the presence of Pope Pius VII. Napoleon brought together various rites and customs, incorporating ceremonies of Carolingian tradition, the Ancien Régime and the French Revolution, all presented in sumptuous luxury.
On May 18, 1804, the Sénat conservateur vested the Republican government of the French First Republic in an emperor, and preparations for a coronation followed. Napoleon's elevation to emperor was overwhelmingly approved by the French citizens in the French constitutional referendum of 1804.