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The Cartographic CapitalMapping Third Republic Paris$
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Kory Olson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940964

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786940964.001.0001

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A New Way of Seeing Paris

A New Way of Seeing Paris

The Service Géographique’s Carte de France

(p.130) Chapter 4 A New Way of Seeing Paris
The Cartographic Capital

Kory Olson

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the century-long evolution of the Dépôt de la Guerre’s Carte d’état-major and subsequent Service géographique’s Carte de France. I focus more specifically on the army’s 1906 ‘Paris’ sheet (feuille XXIII_14), which documented the capital city within the greater Seine department. As the Dépôt de la Guerre became the Service géographique de l’armée, it decided to abandon the outdated état-major map for a new Carte de France. The Service géographique needed not only to portray the nation accurately, but do so in a manner that most citizens could understand. So even simple choices such as font and colour had significant impact on how people viewed and understood the national terrain. This Paris sheet was not only one of the best-recognized sheets from the series, it also presented the army’s, and by default the government’s, comprehensive view of the growing capital city, Feuille XXIII_14 served as part of the larger introduction to the nation of the new modified état-major that the Service géographique would be user-friendly and commercially viable. No longer portrayed by Alphand’s 1889 ‘Opérations des voiries’ as the isolated bourgeois ‘island,’ greater Paris has now breached the wall, fills the Seine department, and overflows into surrounding department.

Keywords:   Service géographique, Etat-major, Carte de France, Paris, Topography

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