The Game of France


Pierre Duval (1619-83) was a nephew of the great French geographer Nicolas Sanson (1600-67) who rose to become “geographer to the king” in his own right. In the 1660s and 1670s he published a large number of atlases and geographic works. Duval was the first in France to conceive of geographical games that aimed to inform and instruct while providing entertainment. Jeu de France (The game of France) is a chutes-and-ladders game made up of 63 squares, each representing a province, except for the last, which contains a map of the entire kingdom. The game offers insight into the clichés and stereotypes that Parisians applied to the French provinces. Brittany is noted for its debauchery, Tours for its lovely avenues, Forez for its knives and scissors, and Ponthieu as a theater of operations for the king’s army (a reference to the recent Franco-Spanish war).

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Etienne Vouillemont, Paris


Title in Original Language

Le Jeu de France

Type of Item

Physical Description

Print, copper engraving, color enhancements, 38 x 53 centimeters

Last updated: September 18, 2015