The astonishing map of the birth of Paris

I just wanted to share with you this map of Paris that I stumbled upon, dating back to the year 1180.

Back then, Paris was but a tiny village surrounded by rolling fields. It’s amazing to behold.

For fun, I have superimposed the names of the most central areas and monuments that came much later and that you might visit today. Most of them are located way out in those rolling fields of course!

One can clearly see that Paris began with Ile Saint Louis and the Marais, which today retain a lot of the buildings and architecture of the later 1600’s. This is historic Paris.

The site that we call Paris is actually believed to have been founded as a settlement in 250BC, by a Celtic tribe called the Parisii, who established a fishing settlement on the banks of the river Seine.

To think that it took them almost 1000 years (a thousand!) to progress from initial settlement to small village status (as per the image above) is a measure of how much progress has accelerated in the last decades compared to earlier eras! 😉

I hope you enjoyed this map as much as I did. Let me know your thoughts below.


Alex Wagner
Founder & CEO
A la carte Paris

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Edwin Matzner says:

    Indeed: amazing picture. Where did you come ascross it, and how did you make it into a jpg?

    1. Hi Edwin,
      I was looking for some info on pre-peripherique Paris actually, when I came upon this somewhat older map. Not sure I remeber where now. I added the words using a bit of image editing software.
      I wonder what Paris will look like in the year 3000? Probably the same Haussmanian façades as today, at least I hope so! 🙂

  2. Carol Busseau says:

    I am so enjoying your emails; I long to return to Paris! I have been twice, once in September and once in July (frankly, won’t be doin’ that month again!) and want to come in the winter. It’s on my list, and your emails keep my fantasy alive. When the time is right, I will be back! In the meantime, paris alacarte has left me with great memories!

  3. Dario Quinones says:

    Hello Mr. Wagner: I very much like your emails, especially this map. There is one thing though; I believe that the Isle St. Louis should be placed on the three small islands to the east of what I believe is Isle de La Cite. Please excuse me if I’m mistaken. Thank you.

    1. Yes, you’re right. My mistake. Thanks.

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