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1791 Esnauts and Rapilly Map of Paris, France

Nouveau Plan Routier de la Ville et Fauxbourgs de Paris. - Main View

1791 Esnauts and Rapilly Map of Paris, France


Revolutionary Paris just prior to the rise of the Jacobins and the Reign of Terror.


Nouveau Plan Routier de la Ville et Fauxbourgs de Paris.
  1791 (dated)     22 x 31 in (55.88 x 78.74 cm)


A fine 1791 dissected pocket map of Paris issued by esnauts and Rapilly. Centered on the Seine, this map depicts Revolutionary Paris just following the 1789 storming of the Bastille. France at this time was in the early stages of the French Revolution. The nation was being governed by the Assemblee Nationale Constituante and Paris by the Paris Commune. Though Revolutionary sentiment was high among the Parisian populace, it had not yet taken on the radicalism that would soon follow. Thus street names and building names here reflect their pre-Revolutionary names rather of the more egalitarian nomenclature adopted later in the Revolution (ie. Palais Royal = Palais de l'egalite). One year after esnauts and Rapilly printed this map the Paris Commune became insurrectionist - refusing to following the orders of the politically dysfunctional Legislative Assembly, leading partially to the Assembly's fall, the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins, and the French Revolution's most extreme and darkest days, known in French as La Terreur or the 'Reign of Terror.'

Unlike many cartographers, esnauts and Rapilly survived and even thrived throughout the French Revolution. This map was first issued in 1777 and updated regularly through the early 1800s, thus offering a fascinating cartographic overview of one of Paris' most dynamic and terrifying historic periods.


Esnauts and Rapilly (fl. c. 1775 - 1811) were Paris based print sellers and publishers active in the latter part of the 18th century. The firm was founded by Jacques Esnauts and Michel Rapilly. Esnauts and Rapilly are best known not for their cartographic works, but rather for their fashion prints. The important publication La Galerie des Modes highlighted the fashions of the French aristocracy just prior to the French Revolution and is considered to be the first published "fashion magazine". At this time, Paris was the center of the fashion world and Esnauts and Rapilly's plates were widely distributed to eager fashionistas the world over. The firm also published a number of important and influential maps including several depicting pivotal moments in the American Revolutionary War. Not wanting to miss out on potential customers, Esnauts and Rapilly gave exact directions to their bookshop on many of their publications: "at the Baker's shop, opposite the Cutler." More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Dissected and mounted on linen. Folds into original gilt-stamped leather pocket.


Vallee, Leon, Catalogue des plans de Paris et des cartes de l'ile de France, (Bibliotheque Nacionale), 1151, GE FF 3511.