Friday, October 19, 2012

Paris Part Deux

In my search for Metro maps to include in my last post, I looked through a lot of very interesting, very old guidebooks and maps. There are, of course, standard features in these types of resources. Guidebooks all mention exchange rates, how to take the Metro, and what to see in the Louvre. Maps all have the major boulevards and monuments marked. But today I want to take some time and share some of the more unusual items that I came across. 

Detail from Guide-indicateur des rues de
 Paris Moyens de Transport by Leconte (1930)
The front side of this first map is a standard plan of Pairs, just like you would find in any guidebook. Turn it over, however, and you find an illustrated map of all of Paris' most noteworthy and impressive monuments. As it only lists main roads (and no Metro stops), this may not be the most helpful map if you are trying to get from your hotel to that cute cafe off the beaten track, but the charming (and detailed) illustrations of Paris' churches and monuments more than makes up for it.

Detail from map of Pere Lachaise from Paris and its environs
 ed. Muirhead and Monmarche (1921)

Every good guidebook is going to have a map of the entirety of Paris. The best ones, however, also have maps of other attractions. One of my favorite examples is the lovely map of Pere Lachaise Cemetary that can be found in Muirhead's Paris and its Environs. Today, some of the most popular gravesites in Pere Lachaise are those of Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, and Jim Morrison. This map, published in 1921, does not include any of those gravesites, but it will lead you to the graves of Honore de Balzac, Moliere, Chopin, and the famous lovers Heloise and Abelard.

Then there is this little gem that promises a tour of Paris (including Versailles and Fontainbleu) in just four days. The guide has itnieraties for both the morning and afternoon of every day, with a special evening trip to Versailles on the last day. For each excursion, the traveller is provided with a starting point (including the relevant Metro stop) and a one-page map of the walking route with descriptions of all of the noteworthy attractions along that route.While most of our guidebooks from the turn of the turn of the twentieth assume a minimum of three weeks or so to explore the city, this pocket-sized volume offered a quick and dirty tour of the City of Light for the traveller with less than a month of free time.  Personally, I think I would be too exhasuted to stand by the end of this whirlwind tour.

Finally, there is this map from 1924, published by the department store Bon Marche. Like many maps printed for tourists, this includes a list of relevant monuments and museums to visit. This map is special in that it includes a list of libraries, churches, chapels, and synagogues for the conveniece of the traveller. It not only lists the famous Catholic churches and cathederals that one typically associates with a visit to Paris, but includes the headings "English and American Chapels," Calvinist Chapel," and "Lutheran Chapel." There is even a listing for what is now called the Great Mosque of Paris, although at the time that this map was published, the mosque was still under construction as you can see in the image below. 
Detail from Plan de Paris: dresse specialement pour les magasins du Bon Marche by H. Trope (1924)
Construction on the Great Mosque of Paris was not completed until 1926.