Plan de Paris et ses Fortifications.
Published 1844, Paris
Size: 36" X 50"
A rare, beautiful and informative city plan of Paris depicting the newly built fortifications and city walls erected to protect it from foreign powers. The city plan is adorned by 34 city views. These views give to viewer an appreciation of the distinguishing features of one of the great cosmopolitan cities of the world. Although Logerot’s map is more commonly published without these views, their addition emphasizes a city at the forefront of artistic and architectural progress in the mid 19th Century.
Yet, it should be noted, that it is the emphasis on the fortifications and the city walls that are of importance with this particular map. These fortifications, principally the city walls surrounding Paris were erected between 1841 and 1844. As such, the city walls and the fortifications on its outskirts, that this map celebrates, were the source of great civic pride, but one that created the mistaken belief that Paris was impregnable. In fact, these defences proved inadequate against a disciplined German army that bombarded the besieged city 1871 during the Franco-Prussian War until the morale of its citizen body broke and the city capitulated. This conflict between France and the nascent German State is of great importance to the understanding of the causes that eventually led to the two World Wars of the 20th Century. The Franco-Prussian conflict not only provided Chancellor Otto Von Bismark the opportunity and ability to proclaim the union of the different German States into the German Empire, but the effects of the Treaty of Frankfurt of 1871, gave to Germany the territories of Alsace and parts of Lorraine, as well as inflicting heavy reparation costs on France. These terms planted the seeds for future grievances and the perception of humiliation by France that ultimately led to the First World in 1911.
In all, a fascinating map depicting the defence network of Paris after its completion in 1844, but one that, by its inadequacy, led to the conditions for its defeat in 1871 at the hands of a disciplined adversary and eventually to a greater conflict in the 20th Century, but this time on a global scale.