Postcards from France

Postcards published a century ago were similar to postcards published nowadays. 90% of them used to show the main monuments in picture that any tourist would like to send to his friends and relatives. Tourists usually don't try to find extraordinary pictures, they just have to send the most well known monuments of the region and that's also what they expect to receive from their friends once they are back home.

Honfleur - 1899
Sainte Catherine's church

From 1900 to the First World War, postcard expanded in France as in the other countries and became more and more frequently used by travelers. This was the Golden Age of Postcards.

Any trip not even far from home was a good opportunity to share emotions and feelings by sending a few words or even sometimes only a signature.

In the same time, some postcards publishers had the idea to travel around France and make an inventory of the life at the beginning of the century: workers in the factories or farmers became good subjects to photograph. The new machines like airplanes or cars as well were often taken.  These cards showing subjects that no longer exist are now the favorite subjects of postcards collectors. 

Hand painting of cups
 in Quimper (Brittany 1900)

Good pictures can now be sold $200 and more in specialized markets or auctions. But common postcards remain affordable for a few dollars, allowing anybody to start a postcards collection.

Most of the time, a collection starts with postcards from the city you are from. On this web site you will see first a  postcards' collection from Honfleur, a small harbor in Normandy.

But sooner or later you have to find new subjects and extend your collection. will then invite you to visit another region of France, Brittany, which is one of the most interesting French regions for postcards collecting. 

Finish of a race in Saint Calais 
(Circuit de la Sarthe)

An other solution is to concentrate on one very specific topic. This gives the opportunity to visit France from North to South and from East to West: similar postcards may even be found abroad. Subjects such as cars or the first airplanes can be a good source of postcards and many collectors would choose a very typical subject: have you ever heard of dogs carts for instance?

Have a nice trip in the Postcards World!

27 July 2001