Exploring the Lesser-Known Paris Meridian

Travel vlogger The Tim Traveler toured the streets of Paris, noting the Meridian Line (the line that establishes 0 degrees longitude worldwide) that passes through the Paris Observatory and near the Louvre. The line is demarcated with placards that indicate both direction and the name of its discoverer, François Arago.

If you’ve ever been to the Louvre, you may have stumbled across a small disc bearing the word “Arago” and the letters “N” and “S” – or in other words, the exact location of the old Paris Meridian.

This meridian line was in great rivalry with the more widely known Greenwich Meridian, which is currently considered to be the established Prime Meridian of the world. And in most cases, the winner was decided by war.

it was beginning to look like the Paris meridian could become THE meridian. So where did it all go wrong? Well, it begins to go wrong  when Napoleon starts losing. …Because with the French army  fundamentally nobbled, the British are now free to head off to sea, build a global empire, and in their own words, “rule the waves.” A side effect of which is that Britain starts  producing the world’s best navigational charts, which everyone else starts using, which means half the planet is now using.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.