Scavenger Hunt : The Invinsible Line

Paris is a beautiful & magnificent city. Full of love & light to shed on the world.

Many visitors walk around with their gaze up on the Eiffel Tower or on the grand architectural detailing on buildings that makes this city so beautiful. But few look at the details that are directly under their feet.

Directly under their feet is an invisible monument that marks an invisible line that crosses all of Paris & defined the starting point for the whole world!

I am talking about The Paris Meridian Line (or as Dan Brown liked to call it – The Rose Line). This line was the Prime Meridian or Zero Meridian, that the world used as the datum for all measurements of longitude. It was established in 1667 and revised/extended several times, most famously by François Arago (1786-1853).

Unfortunately, in 1884 it lost out to the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as the universal starting point for the Prime Meridian that still stands today. The French, being a stubborn bunch abstained from that directive and continued to use the Paris meridian until 1911.

This imaginary line crosses North/South through parks, city streets, private properties and even has some famous monuments sitting on it & aligned with it.

Now that line is gone & almost forgotten – save – for the artistic tribute to Arago by Dutch artist, Jan Dibbets. In 1994/95 he recreated the line by placing 135 bronze medallions and marking small pieces of the line.

This Arago Line is most noticeable, in the only remnant (within Paris) still existing today. At the Paris Observatory you can see an actual piece of the line created in the paving pattern.

But throughout Paris, the artist placed the medallions – each 12cm [4.7″] in diameter, inlaid into the ground along a 9.2km [5.7 mile] stretch of the Paris Meridian Line.

The Medallions have the word “Arago’ & a letter ‘N’ & ‘S’ to represent North & South directions. A newer version – La Meridienne Verde Medalions – fills in where previous medallions were missing.

These are your guides & finding as many as you can may be difficult but will give you a new – out of the ordinary – adventure in Paris.

The Hunt Is On!

Find the 5 southern-most markers (within Paris) and what monuments/buildings are they close to.

Some are difficult to find, others are missing with a hint of their existence. The fun is in the searching while finding them is an added reward.

HINT :
To start you off, these are the locations of some of the medallion markers within the Louvre.

  • In the Louvre (Richelieu Wing), 18th – 19th c. French Sculpture area, in the passage between the 5th – 18th c. and the 18th – 19th c. areas
  • In the Louvre (Richelieu Wing), 18th – 19th c. French Sculpture area, on ‘mezanine-level’ walkway on the south side of Cour Puget
  • In the Louvre (Richelieu Wing), 18th – 19th c. French Sculpture area, between the escalators, at the top
  • At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid.
  • At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid.
  • At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid.(missing just void)
  • At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid.
  • At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid.
  • In the Louvre (Denon Wing), Etruscan and Roman Antiquities area, on the main ground floor stairs
  • In the Louvre (Denon Wing), Etruscan and Roman Antiquities area, just inside the door to Room 31
  • In the Louvre (Denon Wing), Etruscan and Roman Antiquities area, Room 31
  • In the Louvre (Denon Wing), Etruscan and Roman Antiquities area, Room 21

Connect the dots & it will point your way.

Bonus Round :

Find the piece of the line (not medallion) that Dan Brown made famous as ‘The Rose Line’ (in his “Da Vinci Code” Novel). Well, its not really the real Paris Meridian (off by 100ft), but it serves an equally as big nude celebrities – not the purpose Dan Brown said – but similar to the Paris Meridian.

What purpose does it serve?

HINT : This line involves (2) Rose windows, an obelisk & a medallion. Each serves a purpose for the line, but they seem out of character inside the church where Victor Hugo was married.


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