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Francisca Mattéoli: "Unlike GPS, traveling with a map provides real freedom"


A BOOK UNDER THE TREE (7/8) - Writer Francisca Mattéoli is republishing her out-of-print bestseller Map Stories – Histoires de cartes in a new edition and in a format that lends itself perfectly to the original dialogue between old maps and travelogues.

The first words of the book are unequivocal: “

Let's start by clearing up any misunderstanding.

This book is neither a precis of geography, nor a scientific document, nor the work of a scholar who has studied the subject for years.

It is a book to travel from map to map and let the imagination drift…


And in fact,

Map stories, Histoires de cartes

is a support of dreams that takes us from Petra to the Far West, via the Nile, Madagascar, the Orient Express, China, Greenland or the National 7. A journey towards "

lost cities, wild lands, worlds of ice

…” whose existence was revealed to the rest of the world through maps.

These 23 stories with a taste of adventure and legend correlated with small masterpieces of cartography provide an irrepressible desire to discover... The world according to




- What is the genesis of this book mixing intimate and universal geographies?

Francisca MATTEOLI.


In general, all my books are inspired by my personal story.

A Chilean father, a Scottish mother, exile, travel and the visceral need to always be somewhere else.

When I was a child, my family left Chile for France.

My Chilean grandfather had a large collection of maps, some of which were very beautiful and very old.

I loved when he unfolded them.

We could spend hours together over the maps.

He was a wonderful storyteller.

I can still see his finger tracing a map as he told me the country's history, filled with fascinating anecdotes.

When we traveled by steamer to France, the trunk containing the cards was lost.

I only have one left.


Can we escape with a map?

The first version of this book was written in a more peaceful period than today and I wanted to do something around dreams.

The idea of ​​the cards had imposed itself.

This year, after everything we've been through, I felt a great need to escape.

Books in general have always been my escape.

This is a way to escape.

The map is the trip before the trip.

It feeds the imagination.

From a map, like a story, we project ourselves into a place, we draw it mentally, we get an idea of ​​it.

All travel writers talk about this intense moment.

This pleasure had been lost.

It is no coincidence that he returns today.

Francisca Matteoli Julio Piatti

In the age of GPS, why use a map?

GPS is practical, useful, but it offers no alternative.

On the contrary, the map is not practical, it requires effort but gives you great freedom.

I am also sensitive to its aesthetics.

When I travel by car, I always leave with a map.

It can take you where you never thought you would go.

A small detour here to see a nearby town, another there to walk in a forest.

Sometimes it makes you discover beautiful places that were not your destination.

While the GPS takes you straight to the point, the map gives you choices.

It's a luxury.

The beauty of a map can get you lost, like you get lost in a novel.

With this piece of paper, you unfold a continent, a country... and an infinity of possibilities.

Traveling with a card is fabulous,

Read alsoTravel: drop the fastest GPS, follow the one with the most beautiful roads!

A fascinating card story?

Each story is unique, and I made sure to write the twenty or so stories in the book differently, with a part of experience and imagination.

The map of Chile moves me and reveals how fantastic this long country is, unfolding an unprecedented geography in the world, from the Andes to the Pacific.

I also really like the one representing Loch Ness in the 16th century, made in the 19th century.

It reveals a wild country with the same landscapes as those observed today.

I could also mention the Amazon, which has managed to shelter so many different civilizations in a jungle!

I lived in Brazil and for me it is one of the most unexpected places there is.

In 2023, which card do you dream of reading?

The map that takes me far.

I don't have a specific place in mind.

As long as there is the unexpected, the challenge, the freedom… That suits me.

And I hope this map will lead me to a place I don't even know exists!


Map Stories, Map Stories

, Francisca Mattéoli, EPA Editions, 173 pages, 39.95 euros.

The cover of

Map Stories, Histoires de cartes

Photo presse / Editions EPA

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-12-23

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