Relief map of Grenoble

The Plan-relief of Grenoble is a model completed in 1848, at the scale 1/600 e , of the city of Grenoble . It is one of 150 relief plans built for strategic purposes between 1668 and 1870, representing with great precision fortified sites in France 1 .

At a time when the word mock-up still does not exist, it is a question of helping the decision makers, the king, the minister and the generals, to realize the real situation of the strongholds at the borders as well as their environment to help prepare the military campaigns in case of attack 2 . These relief maps, often presented to foreign ambassadors, also have a dissuasive function.

The appearance of the striped artillery in 1858, the construction of new fortresses to the Séré de Rivières system after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the use of photography associated with captive balloons will put an end to the construction and the use of relief planes.

Preparation and realization

Following the Napoleonic wars, Grenoble is busy in April and May 1814 3 by the Austrian army, and the following year the Austro-Sardinian troops 4 . General Haxo is then responsible for strengthening and expanding the ramparts dating from the end of the xvi th century built by Lesdiguieres and used since then to protect Grenoble attacks through the Duchy of Savoy and the Kingdom of Sardinia . The preparation of the relief map of Grenoble will coincide with the construction of the new ramparts of the Bastille hill.but also almost with those of the city decided a few years later under the pressure of the municipalities of Jean-François Pina and Félix Penet.

A first survey of topographic surveys took place from 1816 to 1820, then a second from 1840 following the start in 1823 of the fortification of the hill of the Bastille by Haxo , as well as the construction of the new urban wall realized between 1832 and 1836. The ground is divided into 25 rectangular strips and big leaves gather the data in plan, supplemented by thirteen ” notebooks of the developments “. In the case of Grenoble, this preparatory work has been preserved unlike many other cities. Some boards are inked and others are in pencil 5 .

Six craftsmen are needed for the construction work taking place in the Royal Gallery of Plans-reliefs of the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris. In Grenoble, topographic surveys are carried out by topographers using the contour method . The decorations as well as the tables necessary for the presentation of the whole as well as the many houses are made by cabinetmakers in linden wood. The vegetation (trees, vines) in natural silk as well as the paper engraved and painted for the facades are laid by decorators. The surface finish is obtained by spraying fine sand and finely chopped silks on a bed of glue, representing roads and countryside. The fields are presented in spring and for vegetation, 126,513 trees are represented as well as 372,272 vines. Iron wires are used for the trees as well as 7 kilos of minced silk 5 .

The relief plan of Grenoble consists of 28 tables for a length of 8.20 meters by 7.25 meters wide, but covers only an area of ​​about 54 m 2 because it is a convex polygon 6 . The scale being 1/600 e , each centimeter of the plane representing 6 meters in reality, the relief map represents approximately 19 km 2 of the Grenoble region.

The plan-relief of Grenoble begun in 1839 will be completed only at the time of the abdication of Louis-Philippe Ier and the birth of the second Republic in 1848. Its completion comes one year after that of the work of fortification of the Bastille , 12 years after that of the Haxo ramparts of the city and 12 years before the annexation of Savoy to France.

The coexistence of the two generations of ramparts (Lesdiguières and Haxo) gives a perfect information on the urban development of the city which doubled its fortified area in the 1830s, but also on the evolution of the military architecture by comparison of the different observable bastions. .

In the absence of details about the month of completion of the relief plan of Grenoble in 1848, it is difficult to determine who was mayor of Grenoble at the time because the year is marked by the French Revolution of 1848 , insurrectional period where 4 mayors parade in Grenoble. Frédéric Taulier the rest until February 28, Frédéric Farconnet succeeds until May 5, Ferdinand Reymond succeeds until August 25, and Adolphe Anthoard will end the year.

The limits of the relief plan

The geographical boundaries of the south relief plan correspond approximately to the current site of the Grands Boulevards . To the west, the relief plan represents a short distance on Seyssinet-Pariset and Fontaine and does not show the end of the peninsula of Grenoble because it is centered on the Drac . To the east, it represents the loop of Sablons in La Tronche up to the level of the current bridge spanning the departmental road 1090 and used by the line B of the tramway. To the north, the plan represents Mount Rachais culminating at 1,046 meters with, given the scale, a difference in height of about 1.38 meters on the relief plane between the summit and a plains of Grenoble singularly flat.

Substantive changes in the city since 1848

In addition to the intense urbanization and the disappearance of the fortifications of the plain, the most remarkable change is administrative because a large part of the territories represented on the relief map of 1848 did not yet belong to Grenoble. It will be only May 30, 1860 that about 500 hectares of the communes of Seyssins , Fontaine and Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux will be annexed to Grenoble thanks to the municipality of Eugene Gaillard, the law approving this annexation will be voted in 1862. Finally later, on April 17, 1884, a presidential decree will link the neighborhood of the esplanade in Grenoble, until then district of Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux.

Another striking feature on the relief map is the absence of the Grenoble station whose first activity will only be manifested in July 1857 in the district of Pique-Pierre in Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux note 1 with the installation of a temporary station for the railway. The train station in Grenoble will be inaugurated on st July 1858 by Mayor Louis Crozet, east of St. Andrew during that seems isolated and far from the city walls because of the military restricted areas which require the absence of any building within 250 meters 7 . The use of the railway will supplant the shipping on the Isère, activity still visible on the relief map with the presence of several boats, and means of transport used since the Gallo-Roman era of Cularo or Gratianopolis .

The last highlight is the absence of the hospital on the right bank of the Isère in La Tronche , the first public institution in this area will open only 46 years later in 1894, it will be the hospice old men. Only the church Saint Ferjus opened in 1846 is present on this site, surrounded by some farms and plantations.

Grenoble is at the time a city of about 30 000 inhabitants, served by three bridges, with as main activity the glove and whose old town is made up of an extremely dense habitat. ” We can hardly find a city where the houses are more agglomerated, ” notes in 1841 Colonel Leymonnery, topographer of the genius 5 .

Upon completion of the relief-map of Grenoble, twelve years after construction of Haxo ramparts, the city of the xvii th century and that of the nineteenth e remain connected easily. The old suburbs of Cloister and Saint-Joseph remain inaccessible due to the presence of the ramparts Lesdiguières and the first barracks of Bonne east of the city. The latter will be transferred to the south of the city in 1884, giving way to the new place Victor Hugo inaugurated May 27, 1885.

The peninsula is still largely a military area occupied by an artillery firefield that will become a scientist a century later. The great festival celebrated by Grenoble to the enactment of the 1848 French Constitution will take place on November 19 even parade ground in draft form 8 . There is even a former bastion of the time Lesdiguières in which is the former Military Governor’s Hotel note 2 . Place d’Armes, the junction point of the two cities, will be built only ten years later when the General Council of Isere will decide in its meeting of August 26, 1857 to build the new prefecture of the.

On the other hand, large roads today far from the ramparts are already drawn on this map-relief of 1848 as the path of Gières (Avenue Ambroise-Croizat of Saint-Martin-d’Hères ), the path of 120 toises (rue Ampère ) or the planted path of the Drac ( Cours Berriat ), lined with poplars of Italy .

The current course Berriat is drawn on the relief map, since opened in 1841 to serve the bridge in iron chains on the Drac , but will still carry its name of road planted Drac until 1854, year of death of the Honored Mayor -Hugues Berriat 10 . At the entrance of the bridge, it is necessary to cross it to pay tolls to the Société du pont 11 since it was put into circulation on February 7, 1838. At the other end, the arrival of the course in the ramparts is made by a winding path that follows the bastions to pass through the door of Good, Haxo version note 3 . As early as April 1841, a document by Mayor Berriat warned the prefect that the Around this new course 12 .

The church Saint Joseph visible on the relief map is not the one that exists today, which was rebuilt in the 1920s near the old and oriented in the other direction. This relief plan is one of the rare examples of positioning the edge of Isère of the old St. Roch chapel dating from the end of the xv th century, built near the old cemetery of the plague, and in which of many Grenoble residents came to collect until the construction in 1826 of a new chapel on the edge of the cemetery Saint-Roch 13 .

Conservation and exhibitions

The relief map of Grenoble preserved at the Museum of Plans-reliefs in Paris without being presented, was the subject of an exhibition in January and February 2012 at the Grand Palais in Paris, and another at Cnac Grenoble October 13, 2012 to January 6, 2013 note 4 .

The plan-relief of Grenoble as the whole of the collection were classified historic building on July 22, 1927 1 , 14 .

Notes and references


  1. ↑ Approximately at the location of the current town hall of Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux.
  2. ↑ Current site of the hotel of the mountain troops of Grenoble .
  3. ↑ Not to be confused with the Porte de Bonne, version Lesdiguières-Créqui (1673) where Napoleon I returned in the evening of March 7, 1815 in his return to Paris.
  4. ↑ The relief-map of Fort Barraux was also introduced during this period dauphinois Museum .


  1. ↑ a and b Site of the museum of relief maps  [ archive ]
  2. ↑ Site dauphinois Museum  [ archive ]
  3. ↑ Auguste Prudhomme History of Grenoble [ archive ] , p. 664
  4. ↑ Claude Muller, Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Dauphine [ archive ] , p. 218
  5. ↑ a , b and c Temporary exhibition until January 6, 2013 at the CNAC of Grenoble.
  6. ↑ Information taken from the Museum of relief maps of Paris.
  7. ↑ Posters of Grenoble and the Dauphiné No. 3095 of 30 December 1983, page 2.
  8. ↑ Albert Albertin, Contemporary History of Grenoble and the Dauphiné region [ archive ] , p. 53
  9. ↑ Departmental Archives of Isère , rating 4N2 / 2.
  10. ↑ Grenoble, the course Berriat, Ch.-Anthelme Roux, Collection of works of the Institute of Alpine Geography [ archive ] , vol. 1, 1913, p. 104
  11. ↑ Grenoble, the course Berriat, Ch.-Anthelme Roux, Collection of works of the Institute of Alpine Geography [ archive ] , vol. 1, 1913, p. 106
  12. ↑ Grenoble, the course Berriat, Ch.-Anthelme Roux, Collection of works of the Institute of Alpine Geography [ archive ] , vol. 1, 1913, p. 109
  13. ↑ Auguste Prudhomme, Departmental Archives of Isère, Grenoble Hospital [ archive ] , p. XXVII
  14. ↑ ” collection of 101 models: relief maps of fortresses ”  [ archive ] , notice o PM75002093, Palissy base , French Ministry of Culture

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