Website Review

Paris Past and Present

Meredith Cohen, University of California

Paris Past and Present is a website that displays interactive maps/models of lost architecture of medieval Paris. The website’s main feature is 3D digital reconstructions of various buildings such as the Lady Chapel of Saint-Germain des Prés overlaid on a map where they would have been in the past. Each reconstruction includes multiple views of the reconstruction of the historical building, some historical drawings of the building, and brief descriptions of the building itself and its purpose/significance. Finally, the site also displays tutorials from a class based upon this research, where students were tasked with doing their own 3D reconstructions of medieval buildings. These tutorials offer an insight into how research may have come up with their reconstructions, as well as the architecture of the period and how they visualized types of buildings and decoration. Meredith Cohen, a distinguished scholar and professor of the History of Art with a focus on French medieval architecture, is the principal investigator of this project, but had a great deal of support. The names of those involved in this project can be found here.

The site is brief, and doesn’t provide much information about the modern sites where these buildings once stood, but does give a nice introduction to the purpose and uses that the reconstructed buildings served. This site works perfectly as a supplement to classroom discussions about urban architecture in medieval France, or even for more focused scholars, who may want to see visual reconstructions of the historical buildings they are studying.

Reviewed by Carolyn Mason, George Mason University

How to Cite This Source

"Paris Past and Present," in in World History Commons, https://worldhistorycommons.org/paris-past-and-present [accessed January 26, 2022]
Image of a trefoil tracery in the cathedral ceiling at Sainte-Chapelle
“This site works as a supplement to classroom discussions about urban architecture in medieval France, or even for [those] who want to see visual reconstructions of the historical buildings.”