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Relief maps of France
Relief maps of France

This highly unique collection of some 100 scale models, in particular relief maps, was begun during the reign of Louis XIV in 1668 and further enlarged upon until 1873. The collection was registered as a "listed monument" on 22 July 1927.
Initially such large scale models, 1:600, were built for strategic military purposes in order to simulate and plan operations. 
Entire teams of engineers and topographers would be mobilised the length and breadth of the country in order to complete the painstakingly detailed models: built by skilled carpenters, they display an astonishing degree of accuracy (down to minute details such as trees, and windows). 
Due to their size, they could not be built from one single piece of wood. Instead each one consists of several large wooden tables. 
Sixteen of the most remarkable relief maps are soon to be exhibited in the imposing Nave of the Grand Palais. They provide a unique insight into town planning and construction techniques, military campaigns and warfare, as well as a historic record of former fortified towns, and transformation of the surrounding territories.

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