52. The Location of Paris: Latitude & Alignments
Updated: Dec 28, 2022
1. The location of Paris in relation to other important sites
Many cathedrals and palaces in north-west Europe are built on the site of a former sacred spot, and together make up a network of sacred places which must be at least as the old as the oldest monument on the grid - Stonehenge, or older even again. This seems to be a human-made grid, based precision surveying and time-keeping. There's a menhir at Le Mans Cathedral, and it seems that Brussels is built around a once sacred island which had megalithic structures on it. Paris is of course very old in origin, and Montmartre must have been a sacred site for a very long time, and perhaps too the island with Notre-Dame. The Basilica of Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, was once on an island. The Mont Saint-Michel was sacred before the Bishop Aubert came along and has his visions of the Archangel, because manuscripts speak of monks living there already, and how they would receive food from the villagers sent by donkey. St Augustine's policy was to Christianise pagan sacred sites, so the link between the sacred places of the Roman Empire and the Christian world' was preserved.
It's worth noting that if you draw a circle on Google Earth centered on Paris, several important places are within equal distance of it. Here are some distances from various points in Paris, as measured on Google Earth.
Montmartre - Mont Saint-Michel : 176.92 miles
Montmartre - Nancy 175.96 miles
Montmartre - Canterbury Cathedral: 174.61 miles
Saint-Denis Cathedral - Nancy: 175.43
Notre-Dame-de-Paris- Nancy Cathedral:175.54 miles
Montmartre - Canterbury Abbey: 174.49 miles
Louvre - Canterbury Cathedral : 176.27 miles
Louvre - Nancy Cathdedral: 176.11 miles
Louvre - Metz Cathdral: 175.42 miles
Louvre - Dolmen de Wéiris: 175.56 miles
Louvre - Mont Saint-Michel: 176.58 miles
When you consider that some of these places are themselves also roughly 176 miles from important sites, it seems quite mysterious. For example:
Saint Michael's Mount - Stonehenge 176.45 miles
Mont Saint-Michel - Stonehenge 176.35
Stonehenge - Rouen Cathedral 176.5 miles
Brussels Cathedral - Rouen Cathedral - 174.60 miles
Saint Michael's Mount itself is equidistant from the Louvre in Paris and Durham Cathedral, and very nearly to Chambord Castle.
It's possible that this distance was chosen deliberately at some point in the distant past.
2. The location of Paris in relation to latitude
The latitude Paris sits on is interesting because on the 14th May, the Phi point between 17th March (equal day and night) and the summer solstice, the sun rises at an azimuth close to 60 degrees (in fact www.sunearthtools.com gives 59.77°), and sets at close to 300 degrees (300.47°). So you could say the sun rises at the tip of a 6 pointed star, like a star of David, and sets in another.
The difference between the duration of a day at winter solstice and a day at summer solstice is just under four minutes short of eight hours.
www.sunearthtools.com gives 08:14:49 hours for the winter solstice, and 16:10:59 for the summer solstice.
I wondered where in France the place with an exact eight hour difference between daylight hours at the winter and summer solstices might be marked. After all, eight is a number associated with the Archangel Michael (while Mary seems to be connected to the number seven, at least in art). I tried Saint-Denis, but it was off by a little bit. Then I tried Cergy.
Cergy is a curious place, constructed under the former president of the Republic, Mitterand. It was once a village but now it's one of those new towns that you get near a capital city. There's a small lake, with a perfectly circular island at the end of a long walkway, part of what's called the Axe Majeur, and next to it, a pyramid. As if to underline the oppressive, inhuman architecture, a green laser beam travels up and down the axis.
There are twelve stations along this axis, and the total length is 3.2 km, or 126,000 inches (using a 39.375" metre). that's 172800 digits of 0.729166667". Or 2,800 Megalithic Yards (of 45 x 0.7291666667"). Or 9600 Saxon feet of 13.125". Or the earth circumference of 24,857.954545 miles x 800 / 10,000,000. It's a curious construction. As Jim Wakefield has remarked, 3.2 km are 125,984 inches and the cube root of 2 = 1.25992, and the cube root of eight is two. A foot of 12.6 inches or 1.05 feet would go into this length 1,000 times. John Neal has this nomenclature for such a unit:
1.05ft — Half the Persian cubit of Darius the Great. Reported in its variations throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, survived as the Hashimi foot of the Arabian league and the pied de roi of the Franks.
There's also a 36 metre high Belvedere Tower, with a spiral staircase that has 12 rotations. The path leading up to it is 3.6 metres wide. There's an amphitheatre with 600 'seats'. One of the ponds is 1.2 metres deep. And there's a green laser beam that travels up and down the axis. As you've probably guessed, at Cergy, there's an almost exact eight hour difference here between daylight at the winter and summer solstices (about 32 seconds off according to sunearthtools.com).
16:12:42 hours in summer, and 08:13:15 in winter.
At Paris's latitude, the winter Solstice sunrise azimuth is 126°, reflecting the length of Cergy's Axe Majeur in inches. 126 is also 360 x 7/20. Perhaps Cergy marks the latitude on which, today, in our epoch, there are 8 hours between summer and winter solstice.
The pyramid in the pond is very intriguing, as it is hollow, and if you had a boat you could go right in. The pyramid's dimensions are sides of 20 metres and a height of 10 metres, according to Wikipedia, which also states that is is made up of 177 concrete slabs. It's tempting to suggest a link tot he moon, as 177 is half the number of days in a lunar year: 29.53059 x 12 / 2 = 177.18354. If the pyramid were to represent the moon, then perhaps the sun is represented by the perfectly circular "astronomical" island it sits beside - both were built at the same time, in 1989. This island has a radius of 70 metres, or 210 Saxon feet of 13.125", if you use a 39.375" conversion rate between inch and metre. Researcher Didier Coilhac has found that the axis of this Axe Majeur, extended further south-east, leads to another pyramid, the small Roman structure called la Pyramide de Couard, near Autun. See this video of Didier's for a full explanation and account of his findings (in French - click on the "cc" icon in the bottom right corner of the YouTube screen, and then the settings icon, in the shape of a cog, to choose English subtitles if necessary).
Extended north-east, this axis goes through a very interesting legacy of English prehistory, now mostly destroyed, the Dorchester Cursus, and neighbouring cursi, Shillingford and Overy. The line then continues on through an iron age hillfort near Oxford, and less than a mile from the Rollright Stones.
There is a more remarkable line, also. Paris must once have marked the latitude at which eight hours precisely separated the duration of a day and a night at If Cergy was located as an sort of update to Paris's now out of date marking off the eight hour gap between summer solstice and winter solstice days, was it placed along some other alignment that was as ancient as the time when Paris did actually mark this eight hour gap? I wondered about this, and absent-mindedly drew a line on Google Earth from the Louvre to Stonehenge. This axis goes right over the centre of the Ile Astronominque at Cergy, the culmination point of the Axe Majeur.
Was this little circular island built to mark the intersection of two long distance lines, one linking Paris to Stonehenge, and the other an extension of the Axe Majeur, the long walkway at Cergy ? But if such an intersection were being marked by this little island, what for, and what is the link between Paris and Stonehenge?
The line drawn from the Louvre to Stonehenge progresses north-westwards, hitting the English coast at Portsmouth and then going through a nearby hillfort called Hickley Wood, but otherwise nothing remarkable. The distance between Stonehenge and the Louvre is 245 miles, or 394.32 km. The azimuth from Stonehenge is 129.3 degrees, and extended south-east, the line continues on
3. An axis within the city of Paris
There are interesting alignments within Paris, but the most obvious and curious one is the Louvre - La Défence axis. The direction of the axis could correspond to a particular astronomical azimuth. The axis formed by the obelisk and the Louvre mirrors exactly the course of the river in that part of the city. It could be that this section of the river was considered especially important then because of a correspondence with an astronomical event.
The Basilique royale de Saint-Denis was for a long time both a place of pilgrimage and a royal necropolis. The basilica of Saint-Denis may be slightly on the outskirts of the city, but the first bishop of Paris was based there, in about the year 250. The first christian church was built there circa 360 - 436, on an island.
Saint-Denis was martyred on Montmartre, (from the Latin Mons Martyrum"The Martyrs' Mountain"). Beheaded, the man picked up his head, walked around the hill, and then away from it, preaching as he went. The place where he dropped dead is said to have become the spot for the basilica that bears his name, 3.5 miles away.
There may be a connection between Saint Denis and the Greek Dionysius.
There has been a building on this site since at least Roman times, as evidence has been found of a temple dedicated to Jupiter, and work on the current building was started in 1163.
It can reasonably be asked whether a pre-Christian shrine stood under the most important churches that stand in Europe today. For example, why was Chartres chosen as the site of one of the most important churches in France? In Paris, what was at the hill of Montmartre, before Saint Denis was martyred there? What was at the location of Saint-Denis, before the saint walked, headless, to the place he fell dead? Where archaeological finds cannot give an answer, perhaps measure can, thanks to programs such as Google Earth. It is easy to see, for example, that Chartres and Saint-Denis are both exactly the same distance from Avebury, that the distance between the two churches at Saint-Denis and Montmartre is exactly three nautical miles, or 3 minutes of a degree.
Paris is a city full of ancient Egyptian art. There are obelisks and pyramids, including the most famous ones at the Louvre, and another in the park Monceau.
This is just a quick overview of some of the connections that Paris might have to important historical sites.