French relief plans 
Since the time of King Louis XIV, the „king of the sun“, in France the art of relief making increased. Subjects were the fortified towns in France and in the surrounding countries considered as enemies. These models were made because of strategic purposes and were strictly restricted.
In Paris, a school of relief makers emerged and veritable dynasties of relief makers established themselves . During more than a century, these models were the only representations providing an almost accurate depiction of a landscape. Maps at that time were not suitable to display terrain since the lack of contour lines and other graphically convincing illustrations. In addition, the models allowed depicting a landscape of the bird’s eye view, long time before man could fly. But they were also useful to visit the conquered places without need to going there for the king since travelling at that time was really arduous and time consuming.
The models normally cover the area of the towns and their surroundings dependent on the range of the firearms to plan the defence or the siege of the towns. The scale was standardised to 1:600, so different models could be compared easily. Often, the models were very large. The construction techniques first were different from modeller to modeller, towards the end of the 17th century, a standardisation took place. The collection of these reliefs in Paris was the most extensive and best in quality of the World. To sustain the strategic value, the models were revised from time to time when required. Often, the models were made with regard to an ongoing or planned war, so the first period of reliefs in France was powered by the war between France and Spain in Flanders (today Belgium).
The first model of the world based on contour lines was the relief of La Spezia (Italy), created on demand of Napoleon 1811 in 1:1,000.
Today, these models, created between 1668 and 1870 provide invaluable information about the historic situation before the industrialisation and the history of fortification.