Scarce view of the city of Saint-Denis, from De Belleforest's French edition of Sebastian Munster's Cosmographia.
A rare and early woodcut view of Saint-Denis, immediately north of Paris on the Seine River.
In 1544, the scholar and geographer Sebastian Munster published his Cosmographia, one of the most important and influential works of its type in the16th century
Belleforest's work is an adaptation of Sébastien Münster's Cosmographia first published in Basel in 1544. As Münster had been mainly concerned with Germany, the chapters on France had to be rewritten in order to make the work more interesting to a French audience. Belleforest had sent local elites in major cities across the country a request for information on regional history and geography. As a good philologist, he relied above all on recognized textual authorities, which set him against André Thevet, who published his Cosmographie universelle in 1575. In the vehement controversy between the two authors, Thévet says of Belleforest that he "never traveled by name more than the Owls who repaired in the Aqueduct of Athens, or at the Byzantine Hippodrome". Belleforest replied to the accusations by arguing that a single man could never visit all regions of the earth and that a traveler could easily lie, for lack of possibilities to verify the veracity of his account.