Legible, digital maps of Paris in the 1820s and 30s are hard to come by (okay, were hard to come by in the days before Wikimedia Commons–that ‘detailed full city maps’ section is a relatively new addition and a joy to behold), which is a shame because the Paris of Les Misérables was a very different place from the Paris of today. Some places have been demolished, especially in Haussmann’s reconstructions in the 1850s; others have been renamed; others still exist but are difficult to find. In this section are a handful of maps of varying degrees of legibility, plus some information and a few off-site resources.

Detailed Full City Maps

Map of Paris by Girard (1830): The holy grail. Huge, attractive, legible, and from the right time period. Did I mention huge? 12,058 x 7,192, 37mb.

Map of Paris by Collin (1823): Another nice, big, legible one from the era where the novel is set. 13,017 x 8,747, 49mb.

Map of Paris published by Esnault Jeune (1819): In a similar vein to the two above. 10,000 x 7,056, 39mb.

Map of Paris by W.B. Clarke (1834): Captioned in English. 8,518 x 6,374, 19mb.

Map of Paris by Girard (1843): Medium-sized, pretty, contains the whole city. Pity the text is too small to read in most cases. 2768 x 1596, 7.5mb.

Map of Paris by Tardieu (1839): Less attractive but more functional–if you know what you’re looking for, you can usually read the street names. In PDF format; zoom in until you can read it. 4.7mb.

Simplified Full City Maps

Panorama of Paris (1826): Greatly simplified, but with landmarks (churches, hospitals, markets, etc) clearly marked. 6,994 x 4,750, 7mb.

Map of the Paris Omnibus Routes (1831): A clear but slightly abbreviated map of Paris (some smaller streets and some street names have been left off) that shows the omnibus routes. 3209 x 2457, 2.2mb.

Close-up Neighborhood Maps

Right Bank, 1819: Excellent little fragment of an 1819 map, showing the Ile de la Cité and the right bank from the Halles to the Place Royale. 1444 x 1067.

“Insurrectionary quarter” of Paris, 1849: A fragment, showing the area surrounding the rue Saint-Denis. Slightly blurry but legible. Site of the barricade is highlighted in red. 768 x 1024.

Rue de la Chanvrerie: Unknown date. Closeup of the immediate area surrounding the barricade, quite easy to read. 380 x 430.

Outside of Paris

Paris and its environs (1815), military map by Collin. 4,205 x 2,951, 6mb.

Paris and its environs (1841), much more extensive map of the Paris area by Picquet. 4,112 × 3,133, 8.9mb.

Montfermeil, between 1825 and 1835: from a map of the towns surrounding Paris. 1200 x 780. [Zoom 1 | Zoom 2 | Zoom 3]

Montreuil-sur-Mer, 1717:  Has the layout of the town, but street names are unmarked. 1424 x 1054, 290kb.

Cartography Links

Cartographie de Paris et de sa banlieue: An excellent site which contains many maps of Paris through the ages.

Historic maps, searchable by street name: A subdivision of the above site that lets you input a street name to see close-ups of it on seven maps from 1705 to the late 19th century. The search itself is a little buggy and doesn’t always turn up results, but the concept of a 19th century Mapquest is too cool to pass up.

Nomenclature des voies database: Reliable, fully searchable statistics on every single street in modern Paris, including their histories and former names. In French, but would probably be useable by anyone with Babelfish and a French dictionary. [Seems to be down at the moment, alas.]

Atlas du Patrimonie de la Seine-Saint-Denis: Contains several images and maps of Montfermeil and the surrounding region, as well as some of the greater Paris area.

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