Villers-sur-Mer, entry point of the Greenwich meridian in mainland Europe, has the peculiarity to be the only French seaside resort to be found along this meridian.
The meridians are imaginary land lines connecting the two Poles that help you locate yourself in space on an east-west axis. These lines are a reference for calculating longitudes (west-east position) which, combined with latitudes (north-south position) accurately locate any point on the planet. The meridians also divide the planet into 24 time zones. Universal time is based on the Greenwich meridian.
In Villers-sur-Mer, the meridian is marked by a line on the round overhang of the central dyke situated right after the casino and by a luminous marking on the ground in the evening. To easily locate our town on any world map, consider that Villers-sur-Mer is found at the exact intersection between the zero meridian and the French coast.
If you are on the meridian, you’re exactly at longitude 0; if you move ahead or behind, you shift from the eastern to the western side of the planet or the other way around. When it is 12 o’clock in universal time at this precise spot, the sun is exactly at its meridian, whereas it was about half an hour earlier in Strasbourg and will be about a quarter of an hour later in Brest.
We can say that Villers-sur-Mer is located exactly under the sun!
A room in the Paléospace l’Odyssée is dedicated to the Greenwich meridian. In a warm setting, it highlights the beautiful marine objects of the Observatoire de Paris and the Paléospace collections. A meridian is built inside the museum. When the sun is at the meridian, the solar noon is drawn on the ground by an ingenious mechanism…
An unmissable appointment with the sun!