The Paris Meridian Line



My strolls do follow an invisible thread in the steps of the photograph Atget, to see how the old Paris is now.
For these set of new strolls, I have added an other invisible red thread, walking in the steps of François Arago, along the Paris Meridian Line.
The exercise is not that difficult though. All across Paris, there are bronze medallions, dotted in a precise line between the north and south of Paris. They were originally placed in 1994 by Dutch artist, Jan Dibbetts to honor French scientist François Arago.
Let's cross Paris, from the south to the north, following these medallions or at least their identified location since many of them might be gone since 1994.

  • The first stroll starts from the Cité Universitaire and crosses the Parc Montsouris.

  • The second stroll includes the Paris Observatory, which was built symmetrically on the Meridian line, used for a long time by French sailors, from 1667 to 1911, until its replacement by the Greenwich meridian. As a young man working at the Paris Observatory, Arago was commissioned in 1806 to extend the measurement of the meridian up to the Balearic Islands.

  • The third starts from the Church of Saint Sulpice. Its gnomon became famous with Dan Brown's best selling book, Da Vinci Code, though in reality it is just an astronomical instrument to calculate the date of Easter.

  • The fourth tangents the Louvre's pyramid, an other location with occult theories.

  • The fifth continues towards the Palais Royal Gardens, where in 1785 a clock maker installed a small cannon aligned on the meridian line, allowing to set watches at noon sharp.

  • The last stroll goes through Montmartre where the North obelisk (Mire du Nord) in the private garden of the Moulin de la Galette is the counterpart of the South obelisk (Mire du Sud) in the Montsouris park.