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Le Plan Scénographique de Lyon c. 1550 is a giant axonometric (bird’s-flight view) scenic map of the French city of Lyon created during the height of the French Renaissance. The complete map is 1.7 meters high by 2.2 meters wide and is composed from 25 copperplate-printed, laid-paper sheets, each 34x44cm on average. Probably the earliest detailed view of the city, Le Plan Scénographique was produced approximately between 1544 (identified as a principal year of the survey drawings) and 1553 (after which date some built structures depicted in the map are known to have no longer existed). The map is presented as WSW-facing, but it is not spatially accurate and the compass directionality is not consistent.

Because the map is both very large and very detailed, the 2.5 gigapixel image published here is many times larger than most digitized historical maps available on the Web, allowing viewers to zoom in and view details at a high resolution (~384 pixels per centimeter of the original). The scale bar accurately shows the real-world measurements of the original map in centimeters. To view the original map at it's approximate real-world dimensions, I set the zoom level to ~32% for my 20-inch screen. The bottom-left pull-down menu allows viewers to switch between the original map and its historical derivatives. While the 1876 facsimilé is approximately the same size as the original, the other four derivative maps are significantly smaller and less detailed, and therefore the ruler is not accurate for those maps and they will appear very blurry when closely zoomed in on.

Upon mouseover, the three blue circle icons in the lower left (visible at less than 2% zoom) will bring up spatially-accurate maps detailing the 1550 map's area that should be self-explanatory (the floatover images take a few seconds to download).  They can also be viewed here in higher resolution.

Note that the map itself can blur temporarily as the site waits for the images showing a particular area and zoom level to download (dependent on the server speed and your Internet connection). If the current view seems to be loading slowly, it often helps to reload the page at the current url (the active url address contains the current XYZ coordinates, so the map will not reset).  This also allows users to create their own targeted links within the map (e.g., homme avec canne à pêche).

The top-right pull-down menu in the viewing window allows users to zoom to historic landmarks shown on the map. Target names accompanied by an "*" (e.g., "l'Antiquaille*") have accompanying historical images and metadata that can be viewed upon mouseover (more will be added). Left-clicking on a zoomed-to hotspot will open up a separate webpage describing that landmark.
To toggle on or off all the hotspot labels on the map press Alt + "➧➧" on the bottom-left of the viewer window, next to the "Z."

Many of the hotspots for religious buildings hyperlink to the appropriate page in a landmark two-volume work, Histoire des églises et chapelles de Lyon (1908), now a 110-yr-old historical document in its own right. For more background on this and other works of 19th-century scholarship (and nostalgia) including the Revue du Lyonnaise journal, see “Les Abbés De La Société: Figures De L'érudition Ecclésiastique Lyonnaise" by Philippe Dufieux (2007) and Représentations sociales de l’espace et histoire urbaine : les quartiers d’une grande ville française, Lyon au XIXe siècle by Pierre-Yves Saunier (1996). For modern interpretations of the targeted monuments, visit the Musée du Diocèse de Lyon and websites.

Visit to learn more about the history of Le Plan Scénographique de Lyon and the project.