The Paris Meridian Line


The best thing about Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code is the attention it has brought to a little-recognized attraction of Paris.

The Paris Meridian Line lost out to Greenwich as the Prime or Zero Meridian, the datum for all measurements of longitude. It was established in 1667 and revised/extended several times, most famously by François Arago (1786-1853). To commemorate Arago an ‘invisible monument’ was created by Dutch artist, Jan Dibbets, in 1994. The newer ‘An 2000 – La Méridienne Verte’ markers are much easier to spot than the Arago medallions as they are on 1m [3 feet] high pedestals.

It consists of 135 bronze 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 ‘official’ documentation about the monument states that there are 135 medallions, but their own Arago Medallion Location List only details 120 items.

It is difficult but not impossible to walk the line, using the markers as a guide, and a number of medallions are in places not accessible to the public, e.g. private gardens or courtyards. This includes ten medallions inside the grounds of the l’Observatoire de Paris – an area only accessible by prior, written application.

The following is a partial list:

At no. 18 Avenue de la Porte Montmartre at the main entrance of the public library. Lat.: 48° 53′ 57.940″ N (estimated)

At the corner of Rue René Binet and Avenue de la Porte Montmartre. Lat.: 48° 53′ 56.880″ N (estimated)

At no. 45-47 Avenue Junot. Lat.: 48° 53′ 21.410″ N

At no. 15 Rue S. Dereure. Lat.: 48° 53′ 19.160″ N

At no. 3 Avenue Junot. Lat.: 48° 53′ 16.850″ N

At no. 10 Avenue Junot. Lat.: 48° 53′ 16.230″ N (estimated)

Mire du Nord At no. 1 Avenue Junot, in a private garden with restricted access. Lat.: 48° 53′ 16.220″ N, Lon.: 2° 20′ 13.500″ E

At no. 79 Rue Lepic. Lat.: 48° 53′ 14.532″ N

At no. 21 Boulevard de Clichy, side pavement (côté trottoir). Lat.: 48° 52′ 58.140″ N (estimated)

At no. 21 Boulevard de Clichy, on the main road (sur le terre plein central). Lat.: 48° 52′ 57.180″ N (estimated)

At no. 5 Rue Duperré. Lat.: 48° 52′ 55.670″ N E011 At no. 69-71 Rue Pigalle. Lat.: 48° 52′ 53.810″ N (estimated)

At no. 69-71 Rue Pigalle. Lat.: 48° 52′ 53.380″ N

In the inner yard of the National Education Ministry, 34 Rue de Chateaudun. Lat.: 48° 52′ 35.720″ N (estimated)

In the inner yard of the National Education Ministry, 34 Rue de Chateaudun. Lat.: 48° 52′ 35.370″ N (estimated)

Outside no.34 Rue de Chateaudun. Lat.: 48° 52′ 34.500″ N

At no. 16-18 Boulevard Haussmann. Lat.: 48° 52′ 21.500″ N (estimated)

At no. 9-11 Boulevard Haussmann. Lat.: 48° 52′ 20.620″ N

In front of the brasserie at the corner of Rue Taitbout and Boulevard des Italiens. Lat.: 48° 52′ 18.444″ N

At no. 24 Boulevard des Italiens. Lat.: 48° 52′ 17.400″ N

At no. 16 Rue du 4 Septembre. Lat.: 48° 52′ 10.520″ N (estimated)

At no.15 Rue Saint Augustin. Lat.: 48° 52′ 7.930″ N

At no.24 Rue de Richelieu. Lat.: 48° 51′ 54.330″ N

At no.9 Rue de Montpensier. Lat.: 48° 51′ 51.520″ N E024 In the Palais-Royal. Lat.: 48° 51′ 50.970″ N (estimated)

In the Palais-Royal. Lat.: 48° 51′ 50.462″ N

In the Palais-Royal. Lat.: 48° 51′ 49.953″ N

In the Palais-Royal. Lat.: 48° 51′ 49.445″ N

In the Palais-Royal. Lat.: 48° 51′ 48.937″ N

In the Palais-Royal. Lat.: 48° 51′ 48.428″ N

Outside the Palais-Royal. Lat.: 48° 51′ 47.920″ N

At the corner of Place Colette and Conseil d’État, Rue Saint Honoré. Lat.: 48° 51′ 47.412″ N (estimated)

‘An 2000 – La Méridienne Verte’ Paris Meridian Line marker. Lat.: 48° 51′ 46.970″ N

In the Place du Palais Royal, beside Rue de Rivoli. Lat.: 48° 51′ 45.000″ N (estimated)

‘An 2000 – La Méridienne Verte’ Paris Meridian Line marker. Lat.: 48° 51′ 43.970″ N

On the Rue de Rivoli, just inside the Richelieu Wing passage entrance Lat.: 48° 51′ 43.880″ N

In the Louvre (Richelieu Wing), in the hall of the French Sculpture (in the passage between the 5th – 18th c. and the 18th – 19th c. areas). Lat.: 48° 51′ 43.210″ N

In the Louvre (Richelieu Wing), in the hall of the French Sculpture Lat.: 48° 51′ 42.500″ N (estimated)

In the Louvre (Richelieu Wing), in front of the ground floor escalator (18th – 19th century French Sculpture area, see detail). Lat.: 48° 51′ 41.790″ N

At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid. Lat.: 48° 51′ 40.896″ N

At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid. Lat.: 48° 51′ 40.068″ N

At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid. Lat.: 48° 51′ 39.200″ N

At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid. Lat.: 48° 51′ 38.268″ N

At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid. Lat.: 48° 51′ 37.440″ N

In the Louvre (Denon Wing), on the main ground floor stairs (Etruscan and Roman Antiquities area). Lat.: 48° 51′ 36.720″ N

In the Louvre (Denon Wing), in the hall of Roman antiques (Etruscan and Roman Antiquities area). Lat.: 48° 51′ 35.890″ N (estimated)

In the Louvre (Denon Wing), in the hall of Roman antiques (Etruscan and Roman Antiquities area). Lat.: 48° 51′ 35.000″ N (estimated)

‘An 2000 – La Méridienne Verte’ Paris Meridian Line marker. Lat.: 48° 51′ 34.360″ N

On the Quai du Louvre, close to the entrance to the pavillon Daru. Lat.: 48° 51′ 34.330″ N

On the Port du Louvre, on the walkway beside the Seine. Lat.: 48° 51′ 33.670″ N

On the Port des Saints-Pères waterfront. Lat.: 48° 51′ 29.090″ N (estimated)

On the Quai de Conti, near the Institut de France. Lat.: 48° 51′ 28.730″ N

On the Quai de Conti, near the Institut de France. Lat.: 48° 51′ 28.170″ N

In the Place de l’Institut near Rue de Seine walkway. Lat.: 48° 51′ 27.170″ N

At no. 3 Rue de Seine. Lat.: 48° 51′ 25.600″ N (estimated)

At no. 3 Rue de Seine. Lat.: 48° 51′ 25.300″ N (estimated)

At no. 3 Rue de Seine. Lat.: 48° 51′ 25.000″ N (estimated) E054 At no. 12 Rue de Seine. Lat.: 48° 51′ 23.680″ N (estimated)

At the corner of Rue de Seine and Rue des Beaux-Arts. Lat.: 48° 51′ 22.680″ N

At no. 152 Boulevard Saint-Germain. Lat.: 48° 51′ 11.270″ N

At no. 125-127 Boulevard Saint-Germain. Lat.: 48° 51′ 10.476″ N

At no. 28 Rue de Vaugirard (Sénat side). Lat.: 48° 50′ 57.370″ N

In the Jardin de Luxembourg, on asphalted or cemented spaces. Lat.: 48° 50′ 52.800″

‘An 2000 – La Méridienne Verte’ Paris Meridian Line marker. Lat.: 48° 50′ 51.790″ N

‘An 2000 – La Méridienne Verte’ Paris Meridian Line marker. Lat.: 48° 50′ 50.750″N

‘An 2000 – La Méridienne Verte’ Paris Meridian Line marker. Lat.: 48° 50′ 47.670″ N

In the Jardin de Luxembourg, on asphalted or cemented spaces. Lat.: 48° 50′ 47.030″

In the Jardin de Luxembourg, on asphalted or cemented spaces. Lat.: 48° 50′ 46.930″ N

In the Jardin de Luxembourg, on asphalted or cemented spaces. Lat.: 48° 50′ 46.830″ N

In the Jardin de Luxembourg, on asphalted or cemented spaces. Lat.: 48° 50′ 45.530″ N (estimated)

In the Jardin de Luxembourg, on asphalted or cemented spaces. Lat.: 48° 50′ 44.412″ N

In the Jardin de Luxembourg, on asphalted or cemented spaces. Lat.: 48° 50′ 43.070″ N (estimated)

In the Jardin de Luxembourg, on asphalted or cemented spaces. Lat.: 48° 50′ 41.960″ N (estimated)

In the Jardin de Luxembourg, on asphalted or cemented spaces. Lat.: 48° 50′ 40.848″ N

In the Jardin de Luxembourg, on asphalted or cemented spaces. Lat.: 48° 50′ 40.270″ N

On Rue Auguste Comte, at the entrance to Jardin R. Cavelier-de-la-Salle. Lat.: 48° 50′ 39.552″ N

On Avenue de l’Observatoire, on the pavement beside the garden. Lat.: 48° 50′ 37.180″ N (estimated)

On Avenue de l’Observatoire, on the pavement beside the garden. Lat.: 48° 50′ 35.016″ N

At the corner of Avenue de l’Observatoire and Rue Michelet. Lat.: 48° 50′ 33.756″ N E073 In the Jardin Marco Polo. Lat.: 48° 50′ 31.700″ N (estimated)

In the Jardin Marco Polo (near the ping-pong table). Lat.: 48° 50′ 30.300″ N (estimated)

In the Jardin Marco Polo. Lat.: 48° 50′ 29.000″ N (estimated)

‘An 2000 – La Méridienne Verte’ Paris Meridian Line marker. Lat.: 48° 50′ 27.830″ N

At the corner of Avenue de l’Observatoire and Rue d’Assas. Lat.: 48° 50′ 27.420″ N (estimated)

In the Place Camille Jullian. Lat.: 48° 50′ 27.024″ N E078 In the Place Camille Jullian. Lat.: 48° 50′ 26.590″ N (estimated)

At the corner of Avenue Denfert Rochereau and Avenue de l’Observatoire (Observatory side). Lat.: 48° 50′ 18.312″ N

‘An 2000 – La Méridienne Verte’ Paris Meridian Line marker. Lat.: 48° 50′ 18.024″ N

On the Avenue de l’Observatoire. Lat.: 48° 50′ 16.700″ N (estimated)

On the Avenue de l’Observatoire. Lat.: 48° 50′ 15.380″ N (estimated)

In the North side courtyard of l’Observatoire de Paris. Lat.: 48° 50′ 12.760″ N (estimated)

In the North side courtyard of l’Observatoire de Paris. Lat.: 48° 50′ 12.150″ N (estimated)

Inside l’Observatoire de Paris. Lat.: 48° 50′ 11.500″ N (estimated)

On the north and south side terrace and upstairs garden within the protected limits of the Observatory. Lat.: 48° 50′ 10.270″ N (estimated)

On the north and south side terrace and upstairs garden within the protected limits of the Observatory. Lat.: 48° 50′ 9.565″ N (estimated)

On the north and south side terrace and upstairs garden within the protected limits of the Observatory. Lat.: 48° 50′ 8.860″ N (estimated)

On the north and south side terrace and upstairs garden within the protected limits of the Observatory. Lat.: 48° 50′ 8.155″ N (estimated)

On the north and south side terrace and upstairs garden within the protected limits of the Observatory. Lat.: 48° 50′ 7.450″ N (estimated)

On the north and south side terrace and upstairs garden within the protected limits of the Observatory. Lat.: 48° 50′ 6.745″ N (estimated)

On the north and south side terrace and upstairs garden within the protected limits of the Observatory. Lat.: 48° 50′ 6.040″ N (estimated)

On the Boulevard Arago (in front of the rear Observatory gates). Lat.: 48° 50′ 5.208″ N

On the Boulevard Arago (street side of the old Arago monument). Lat.: 48° 50′ 4.520″ N

On the Place de l’Ile de Sein (on south face of the old Arago monument). Lat.: 48° 5′ 4.230″ N

On the Place de l’Ile de Sein. Lat.: 48° 50′ 3.660″ N

On the Place de l’Ile de Sein. Lat.: 48° 50′ 3.084″ N

On the Place de l’Ile de Sein. Lat.: 48° 50′ 2.904″ N

At no. 81 Rue du Faubourg Saint Jacques. Lat.: 48° 50′ 1.608″ N

On the Place Saint Jacques. Lat.: 48° 49′ 59.310″ N (estimated)

In Parc Montsouris (on the alleys). Lat.: 48° 49′ 26.830″ N (estimated)

In Parc Montsouris (on the alleys). Lat.: 48° 49′ 25.840″ N (estimated)

In Parc Montsouris (on the alleys). Lat.: 48° 49′ 20.630″ N

In Parc Montsouris (on the alleys). Lat.: 48° 49′ 20.190″ N (estimated)

In Parc Montsouris (on the alleys). Lat.: 48° 49′ 18.810″ N (estimated)

In Parc Montsouris (on the alleys). Lat.: 48° 49′ 18.408″ N

In Parc Montsouris (on the alleys). Lat.: 48° 49′ 16.990″ N (estimated)

In Parc Montsouris (on the alleys). Lat.: 48° 49′ 16.176″ N

In Parc Montsouris (on the alleys). Lat.: 48° 49′ 15.590″ N (estimated)

‘An 2000 – La Méridienne Verte’ Paris Meridian Line marker. Lat.: 48° 49′ 15.132″

On Boulevard Jourdan. Lat.: 48° 49′ 15.130″ N (estimated)

Mire du Sud Just inside the southern Parc Montsouris fence. Lat.: 48° 49′ 14.670″ N, Lon.: 2° 20′ 13.500″ E

On Boulevard Jourdan. Lat.: 48° 49′ 14.300″ N (estimated)

‘An 2000 – La Méridienne Verte’ Paris Meridian Line marker. Lat.: 48° 49′ 14.290″ N

Within the grounds of the Cité universitaire (on a line between the Canadian and Cambodian Pavilions). Lat.: 48° 49′ 12.310″ N (estimated)

Within the grounds of the Cité universitaire (on a line between the Canadian and Cambodian Pavilions). Lat.: 48° 49′ 11.820″ N

ithin the grounds of the Cité universitaire (on a line between the Canadian and Cambodian Pavilions). Lat.: 48° 49′ 11.676″ N

Within the grounds of the Cité universitaire (on a line between the Canadian and Cambodian Pavilions). Lat.: 48° 49′ 11.352″ N

Within the grounds of the Cité universitaire (on a line between the Canadian and Cambodian Pavilions). Lat.: 48° 49′ 10.164″ N

Within the grounds of the Cité universitaire (on a line between the Canadian and Cambodian Pavilions). Lat.: 48° 49′ 8.832″ N

Within the grounds of the Cité universitaire (on a line between the Canadian and Cambodian Pavilions). Lat.: 48° 49′ 7.960″ N (estimated)

Within the grounds of the Cité universitaire (on a line between the Canadian and Cambodian Pavilions). Lat.: 48° 49′ 5.100″ N (estimated)

Within the grounds of the Cité universitaire (on a line between the Canadian and Cambodian Pavilions). Lat.: 48° 49′ 3.576″ N

Within the grounds of the Cité universitaire (behind the Cambodian Pavilion). Lat.: 48° 49′ 1.140″ N (estimated)

Please note that Google Earth puts The Paris Meridian Line at 2° 20′ 11.000″ E, whereas most other sources put it at 2° 20′ 14.000″ E – a difference of around 100m [330 feet].

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