Saturday, June 20, 2015

Paris Maps

One of the things that has always attracted me, even before I got into RPGs, are maps. An interesting maps like those in Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings or the various maps of Lloyd Alexander's Prydain  series, drew me right into the book. When I started playing D&D creating maps of the dungeon or the wilderness were one of the enjoyable aspects of DMing. Exploring and mapping someone else's world or dungeon was a big part of my enjoyment of D&D. So it's not big surprise that in my Honor+Intrigue game, I've used historical maps a lot. The players in my campaign are based in Paris. Fortunately, there are a number of very detailed maps of Paris from Medieval times up to the present. Since my game is set in the 1620s I try to use maps from close to that time period.

Here are several maps I’ve found helpful. One odd fact is that many maps from the period have north to the left of the map. The north side of the Seine is known as the right bank, so I have no idea why the cartographers drew their maps the way they did. It is a bit confusing for me and my players.

The Plan de Merian1615 is the main that I use for my campaign. There is a less detailed version of the Merian map in color. There are higher resolution versions available, but I’m getting a warning for the site that hosts the one I found with my recent search, so I didn’t include that link. There is also a Higher Resolution Plan de Merian version though the original for this versions has some fold marks not present in the other versions.
If I was playing in the time of Louis XIV I’d use the Plan de Paris 1657. One significant difference between the two periods is the buildup of noble mansions on the Isle de Louis and the additional bridges. Notice there is now a bridge west of the Pont Neuf (the lower part of the map).

The Paris Plan 1589-1643 is helpful for locating churches since it lists the locations by number. It also includes some locations that are not on my main map.

There is also the Paris Map Vassalieu 1609, but that is too early for the time period I am running, but perfect for the end of Henri IV’s reign or for the conflict right afterwards.

The Plan_de_Turgot1739 is large with great resolution. It is too late for my use, but it may be helpful for Louis XV or even late in Louis XIV’s reign. I use it on occasion because you can zoom in and read street names more easily than on the earlier maps. Also a lot of modern references use the name of the streets that Turgot uses rather than the names from earlier times. Street names change in Paris.

For Revolutionary France, the time period of Scaramouche and the Scarlet Pimpernel, the 1797 Jean Map of Paris and the Faubourgs map would be useful.
This map, Birth ofParis was created by Alex Wagner, Founder & CEO of A la carte Paris from a Medieval map of Paris. It shows the names of some of the famous quarters and of landmarks of modern Paris like the Eiffel Tower. It is useful as an orientation between modern Paris and the older, and much smaller, city.

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