It’s often said (and most often by Parisians it seems) that Paris is its own museum, frozen in time. For preservation and cultural memory, this is a wonderful thing–though the architecture can make the city feel less progressive at times. One thing this level of preservation does assist–before and after photography. The latest Assassin’s Creed video game takes place in Paris, but the Paris of the French Revolution when heads were being guillotined and there were barricades in the streets. Damien Hypolite, the chef de projet infographie at Sciences et Avenir, matched up the images from the game to present day. Here’s are the images of the famous landmarks side-by-side:
As Hypolite writes, he visits Paris through the eyes of Arno Victor Dorian, the hero of this Assassin’s Creed in 1789, the year the French Revolution began. The top image is of the cathedral of Notre Dame, which besides being the home of Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame, has been the scene of the flash mob Dîner en Blanc. Today, it also has rooftop bee hives.
In the Pantheon, people as illustrious as Geneviève the patron saint of Paris, Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Rousseau are buried. It wasn’t completed until 1790, a year after the game is set. It was recently used as the site of a large scale installation by artist JR. You can also take a look at what the impressive building looks like inside here.
Bastille today of course doesn’t have the famous prison that gave it it’s time. Based on old illustrations, it seems that the game designers took some liberties and gave it an even more medieval feel than it’s real likeness.
Places des Vosges
Located in the now trendy Marais, the Places des Vosges was built by Henri IV to be a silk manufacture and is the oldest planned square in Paris. It also formed an important moment in the axial plan of Paris. It is architecturally recognizable from the red brick and stone patterning of the exterior walls.
Before the Louvre was a museum it was a palace, and the eastern facade was built in the late 1660s by Claude Perrault in a neoclassical style. It was in the courtyard behind this facade that another of the flash mob dinners took place.
The Tuileries Gardens are located just east of the Louvre, once the location of the Tuileries Palace. This is where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were living after they were forced to leave Versailles during the Revolution, and where they fled from when the palace was stormed in 1792.
Hotel de Ville
The Hôtel de Ville is the town hall of Paris. During the French Revolution, this is where Robespierre was shot in the jaw and arrested. Architecturally this image is pretty accurate because the two additional wings were not added until 1835.