Petite Planète

“We see the world escape us at the same time as we become more aware of our links with it.” —C. M. 

Petite Planète is a series of iconic travel guides by the French publishing house Edition du Seuil. In the 50s essayist and director Chris Marker was hired as the editor (and often  photographer, designer and writer) of the series, establishing an unorthodox approach to travel literature, both editorially and visually. The narratives were full of commentary and critique and the visuals surprising or unsettling, avoiding the glossy clichés of typical guidebooks. The covers in particular had a deliberately cinematic approach, each with a face of a woman, often staring at the viewer (or looking off) in a powerful, knowing way.

I’d love to track down these rare volumes in person, but for now, all I can do is imagine the content behind these stunning covers.

danemark finlande urssgrece inde
australieiran irlande israel italie japon maroc norvege





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UnaPetite Planète


  1. Author

    thanks michelle! mesmerizing, aren’t they? now I’m on the hunt…

    1. Author

      Thanks Mary Beth!
      Hope all is well with you :)

      I’m heading to Panama in June for a little bit, do you mind if I email you for some advice?

  2. PhDreportage

    They’re all at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris! I know because I was just there looking through them in May 2014. Marker only edited the series for a brief time and did not appear to have contributed much by way of writing. In fact some of the writing in the guides about non-Western countries borders on orientalist. For this and other reasons they are certainly interesting cultural objects. I’m particularly interested in thinking about the influence of these works of literary reportage on Marker’s later cinematic reportage.

    1. Author

      I’d really like to see them in person and actually be able to study the contents, rather than just react to the aesthetic and rely on descriptions online. Hopefully I’ll get back to Paris one of these days.
      If you’ve written more about the subject I’d love to read it. Is your phd thesis on this subject?

What do you think?