in ten maps, France as you’ve never seen it before

On Twitter, cartography enthusiasts challenge themselves to publish a map every day that presents a region, country or continent from an unusual perspective. Our selection.

For several years it has been the meeting point for all lovers of maps, plants and other representations of the world. On the occasion of # 30DayMapChallenge, budding cartographers have a lot of fun on social networks, especially Twitter, posting a map every day in November that presents a region, country or continent in an original way. Often based on scientific data, sometimes imagined from scratch, they offer an unexpected reading of the geography of France and the world. Paris underwater, cities with the shortest and longest names … Our selection of ten maps that present France in a different light.

Our closest neighbors

Metropolitan France shares 2,913 km of land borders with eight countries: Germany (448 km), Andorra (57 km), Belgium (620 km), Spain (623 km), Italy (515 km), Luxembourg (73 km), Monaco (4 km) and Switzerland (573 km). Not to mention the maritime border with the UK. What is the closest border to your municipality? Reply with this map created by Jules Grandin, graphic journalist.

Paris underwater

If rising waters threatened several hundred coastal towns in France, what if it occurred in the capital? Julien Dupont Kobri, who calls himself an “imaginary cartographer” on Twitter, has produced the (hopefully fictitious) map of a Paris almost entirely covered in water. The Père-Lachaise cemetery is thus transformed into Port Lachaise, the Montmartre hill becomes an island, while the Eiffel Tower rises from its 324 meters high in the middle of the Seine. The author even traces the hypothetical lines of river boats that connect what remains of emerged land.

-ac, -ière, -euil … Journey through the France of suffixes

Anyone interested in toponymy (the study of toponyms) will no doubt have noticed: some suffixes of city names are specific to certain regions. Therefore, cities in -ac (Figeac, Bergerac …) are particularly common in New Aquitaine and Occitania, while those ending in -ville (Deauville, Trouville, …) are found particularly in Normandy. This is shown by this map published by Olivier Marchon, author of several geography books, taken from his own Incredible Atlas of France (edited otherwise).

Y, Eu, … Cities with shorter names

Y in the Somme, Sy in the Ardennes, Cuq in the Tarn … Some city names can be summarized in one, two or three letters. Clara Dealberto, graphic designer, had fun creating a map of France with the name of the smallest city by department. “I have ordered the municipalities by department based on the length of their name, sometimes it is final (like Y, in the Somme, big winner) but sometimes there are draws. In this case I took the first in alphabetical order, because it was necessary to make a choice“, He specifies.

… and the longest

On the contrary, this map indicates which municipality in each department is the municipality with the longest name. It is in the Bas-Rhin, in Alsace, that long names are the most numerous. With 45 letters and seven dashes, the champion of France is Saint-Remy-en-Bouzemont-Saint-Genest-et-Isson, in the Marne. Not enough, however, to break the European record held by Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (58 letters), in Wales.

The roundest cities

You are unlikely to know Soulangis, Brion and Vregny. These municipalities have the distinction of being the roundest in France. To measure this parameter, the author defined a roundness score using QGIS, an open access geographic information system.

The lighthouses of Brittany

The highest concentration of lighthouses in the world is found in Brittany. That of the Virgin Island (82.50 m) is the highest in Europe and the highest in the world built in freestone. Romain T., an independent cartographer, depicts those of the Finistère coast here in the dark. Like a constellation of stars in the sky.

The French subways

In France, six cities have a metro network: Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Rennes and Toulouse. Boris Mericskay, professor-researcher in geomatics at the University of Rennes 2, compares the geographic footprints of these six networks on the same scale. With its 16 lines, the Paris metro seems very difficult to decipher …

Reliefs of Martinique

In topographic maps, contour lines are lines that connect points of the same elevation. They therefore represent the relief of a territory. This Twitter user relied on data from the National Geographic Institute (IGN) to represent the reliefs of the Marin district, south of the island of Martinique.

Pain au chocolat or chocolatine?

Finally, let’s add our two cents to this eternal debate: Should we ask the bakery for a “pain au chocolat” or a “chocolate”? It all depends on the region, as this map by Mathieu Avanzi, linguist specializing in regional French, author of As they say at home – The great book of French in our regions (edited by Armand Colin). While the word “chocolatine” is used mostly by southwestern speakers, “pain au chocolat” prevails in the rest of France. In Alsace and the north of France the terms “petit pain au chocolat” and “croissant au chocolat” are even used.

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