This plan of Paris by Melchoir Tavernier is a modified and updated version of one produced by Matthias Merian (1593–1650) in 1615.
Like Merian, Tavernier decorated his plan with a scheme of vignettes depicting the notion of social hierarchy. Above the title is a gallery of individual scenes framed by arcades. The king, Louis XIII (1601–43), is depicted at the far left of the gallery, with his queen, Anne of Austria (1601–66), at far right. Between them are men and women of Paris, differentiated by their social status. The king and queen are flanked by noble men and women respectively. After nobles come merchantmen and bourgeois ladies, concluding with male and female peasants in the two central vignettes. Verses above and below each scene describe the appearance and characteristics of the people depicted. The king, for example, is described as ‘adorned in glory’ and is a ‘radiant Sun’, while the peasantry ‘have no choice in what they wear’ but ‘cherish their condition’.
Merian’s 1615 plan also featured Louis XIII, then a 14-year-old boy ruling France with his mother, the regent, Marie de Medicis (1575–1642). Merian’s map was published to garner support for the young monarch at a time of great civil discontent and Protestant revolts. Tavernier’s map meanwhile, was published for similar reasons: first in 1625, after Louis XIII had quashed a major Huguenot rebellion, and again in 1628 and 1630.