“AVRELIA FRANCIAE CIVITAS...” Cologne: Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg from Civitates Orbis Terrarum (Cities of the World), 1581. Engraved map with later hand-coloring. Verso text: Latin. Ref: John Goss, The City Maps of Europe; References: Van der Krogt 4, 3197; Taschen, Braun and Hogenberg, p.212.
Very detailed bird's-eye plan of Orleans with bridgehead, châtelet des Tourelles, in the foreground that protected one of the most important bridges over the dangerous river. The city's well laid out streets are enclosed within walls & a canal. Among the important buildings are several churches (including the cathedral of Sainte-Croix, destroyed by the Huguenots a few years earlier) the university, & a large plaza features public gallows. Traditional flat-bottom boats are shown in the river & a couple in the foreground illustrates the costume of the inhabitants.
Braun commentary on back: "The Loire, an exceedingly well-known river in France, flows directly past the city and is very beneficial for trade. The fields surrounding the city are very fertile, and for this reason the city is also called the granary throughout France, just as in earlier times Sicily was the granary of Rome. A famous wine also grows in this soil, which is exported from here not only throughout France but to all the countries in Europe. [...] The French spoken here is pure and uncorrupted, which is also the reason why so many foreigners settle here. For some are here for trade, others for study and others again to acquire the language, but also many without doubt for both these last two reasons, [...] and Germans in particular send their children here."
Braun & Hogenberg maps were the first systematic collection of town views. The cities depict “a true celebration of European history, civilization and culture. The plates not only map the layout and particular features of each city with amazing accuracy, but they also illustrate local costume, occupations, manners and customs” (Goss: introduction).