March 2, 2014

Off the Map

I haven’t blogged for several weeks because I’ve been busy working on the final editorial changes to Paris Red. In a couple of instances, I had to examine the key relationships in the book and bring a little more clarity to them, and to do that, I had to go deeply back into the novel. I also took the time to read the manuscript aloud, and that helped me find a few slack sentences.

Now I’m done! Tomorrow I’m sending off the above beribboned manuscript. (And yes, the ribbon is pink instead of red, but it’s what I had in the drawer. I recycle ribbon.)

And though I’ve been “off the map” here on my blog, I’ve never been far from a map of 19th century Paris. This is a reproduction of an 1860 map by Andriveau-Goujon here in my workroom at home:


And here is a reproduction of an 1878 map of Paris by Logerot that’s hanging in my office:


When I first started researching Paris Red, I had trouble finding maps of pre-Haussmann Paris. Somewhere along the way, I stumbled upon the Geographicus web site and found multiple maps that were reproduced with such clarity that I could use the site’s search tools to look at Victorine Meurent’s neighborhood, or find Rue Guyot, where Manet had his studio.

A couple of years ago, in my endless researching, I found that Geographicus had made some of its maps available to Wikipedia. I downloaded high resolution files, sent them off to Zazzle to get printed, and had a local framer put the reproductions on foam board. I then I hung the maps where I could see them daily and where they fit. (The map in my workroom is 43 inches wide, and the one in my office at school is even wider.) The Logerot map reflects changes that Haussmann was making, but it was so beautiful I couldn’t resist it.

I love being able to stand close to the maps, almost with my nose on them. When I was writing, I often studied the streets and plotted out routes for Victorine to walk. I also liked finding spots I read about. Here’s a close-up of Rue Maître-Albert, where Victorine lived for a time:

map close

If you’d like to get your own maps, here are the Wikipedia links for the 1860 Andriveau-Goujon map and the 1878 Logerot map.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Love this post about your Paris maps! Well done to find such excellent ones.

    I feel exactly the same about maps of Paris recently/today — love studying them, ‘reading’ them, planning routes on them, looking up places and streets and quartiers and buildings and just anything, and probably owning too many … we had a very large one laminated in our kitchen in Sydney but it’s too big for our space in the UK 🙂

    Cheers and happy writing.


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About Maureen Gibbon

Writer. Author of the novels Swimming Sweet Arrow, Thief, Paris Red.

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