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Navigation aidThe Guide BP - Paris et ses Environs of 1926

1925 BP Guide to Paris

The Guide "BP" to Paris and its environs was published in May 1926 by Les Editions de France, a Paris publisher. Sold for 25 Francs, the volume ran to over 400 pages and included 9 double page spreads of colour maps (see below for one of the 4 at 1:100,000 covering the SE suburbs of the city). Four more maps covered the environs at 1:500,000 and there was an overview map, marking the 12 itineraries described in detail. The book had an initial chapter about Paris itself, then one on the main exits to the city, followed by one for each of the routes.

1926 BP guide frontispiece
Colour frontispiece from the BP guide showing an Energic pump and Energol 2 litre oil can.

1926 BP guide map of SE Paris
One of the colour maps, showing SE suburbs of Paris.

As well as the colour maps, there were many black and white town plans ranging from the small example shown below to ones covering a double page spread. There were also six double pages of cross-sections of the touring itineraries showing gradients, and several black and white maps of special areas such as the Forest of Fontainebleu and the area around the Linas-Montlhéry autodrome. The town plans and gradient maps showed where BP pumps could be found with a long black outline of a typical visible pump of the era. Addresses of all BP sales locations (except in Paris itself) were included in a gazetteer at the back of the volume, although a not pasted inside the front cover told users that as the guide had been prepared during 1925, that many more places had been created where BP pumps could be found. All cartography was by H. Tropé.

1926 BP Guide: town plans
Town plans of Brie-Comte-Robert & Nangis.
Both show one BP pump location towards the NW corner.

1926 BP Guide: gradient maps
Gradient maps of the sixth itinerary.

1926 Guide BP: Soissons

The text was written by Jean du Taillis, who had written a number of similar guides for Dunlop, the tyre company. Interspersed in the text were a couple of hundred photographs. The one reproduced left shows the war damage to the cathedral at Soissons; the ruins were highlighted as a tourist attraction!

Small image from 1926 BP Guide     Small image from 1926 BP Guide

As with many other commercial publications of this era, one of the delights of the volume is the advertising illustrations. Indeed the publishers at the time must have thought so, too, as they gave the illustrator Maurice Denonain equal prominence with the author. Approximate translations of each slogan are given underneath the images.

Advert from 1926 BP Guide to Paris
Stop at these distributors...
Advert from 1926 BP Guide to Paris
You will always receive a warm greeting...
Advert from 1926 BP Guide to Paris
They are open day and night...
Advert from 1926 BP Guide to Paris
Thanks to BP, you no longer fear engine failure, even in winter...
Advert from 1926 BP Guide to Paris
With BP you never know running out...[of petrol]
Advert from 1926 BP Guide to Paris
BP triumphs on race-tracks as well as roads...
Advert from 1926 BP Guide to Paris
Motorists need only use BP Energic petrol...
Advert from 1926 BP Guide to Paris
Energic Petrol for cars/Energol extra superior oil are both made from crude oil from the STE GLE des Huiles de Petrole

The cover of the guide advertises it as Volume I; Volume II covering from the Alps to the Cote d'Azur came out a year later. Plans were announced for more volumes, but it is not known which regions they covered, or even if they existed.