Friday, December 28, 2007

Besançon 1899

This card was posted in August 1899, it’s not often we come across postcards before 1900 so I thought I’d share it with you. It’s not in the best of condition but is interesting because of its age

The statue is of Cardinal Granvelle (1517-1586) who was an influential French statesman and a famous collector of art.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Blue Pavillion

When I choose postcards to display here I prefer to have cards which I really like. This is why I haven’t added a card for a while.

Recently we bought some more postcards in and I’m starting to sort them into some sort of order. This is one that is going up for auction this evening. At first I thought that the two men might be playing chess, but looking at the card through a magnifying glass I’d say that they are having an animated discussion. The card was sent in 1904 and is in excellent condition. I can almost feel the warm sunshine…

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I am here!

It seems such a long time since I last posted. Here’s a souvenir from La Rochelle. The little envelope opens up to reveal a set of miniature postcards of La Rochelle.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Notre Glorieux 75

The first thing I needed to know when I first set eyes on this card was “What does the 75 mean?” It didn’t take long to find out that it was the canon. This canon, first made in 1897, was used from the beginning of the first world war and was legendary for it’s technical excellence. Souvenirs and postcards were made, poems and books were written about this famous canon. In fact it soon became too cumbersome to use in the conditions of battle but it remained a symbol throughout the war. This card was sent at Christmas 1914.

Friday, November 16, 2007


This was in the pile of cards Rob had chosen to be scanned this morning. I really love this one, I imagine hobbits would like to live here. I managed to find a picture online of the inside, but the site of the Ministère de la Culture doesn’t work properly – that figures…

Sunday, November 11, 2007


An extract from ‘Spring Offensive’ by Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) written in 1918 – never fully revised by Wilfred who was killed one week before the armistice. He is one of my favourite poets.

“Of them who running on that last high place
Breasted the surf of bullets, or went up
On the hot blast and fury of hell’s upsurge,
Or plunged and fell away past this world’s verge,
Some say God caught them even before they fell.”

Friday, November 09, 2007

The terrasses at Monte-Carlo

This is where I’d rather be today. Although it’s sunny here, it’s rather cold and I’d prefer a warmer climate. This card was sent in 1927 from a teacher to a pupil she was obviously fond of who had sent her a letter from Paris. I think the card dates from a lot earlier than 1927 looking at the lovely hats and parasols and the length of the ladies dresses.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nice to be in Nice

Two cards of Nice, where I’d very much like to be this morning as it’s cold here. The Promenade des Anglais and the Quai des Etats-Unis (United States) are the places to walk, showing off your ‘hat’ and smart clothes.

Several years ago we had a student who came to the house for English lessons, he was retired and used to be head of the toy department in Galeries Lafayette in Nice. He talked sometimes of the rich and famous customers who would come to buy toys for their children and grandchildren. One of these was Princess Grace who he told us insisted on standing in the queue to be served, just like everyone else. He also saw David Niven sometimes and he was every bit the English gentleman as you would imagine.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Auntie Elsie and Rosie

I received this card in the post this morning, it was from my sister – a lovely surprise! ‘Auntie Elsie’ sent it to her naughty niece, Rosie in 1922, she wrote:

“ I am right down ashamed of you if this is the way you are carrying on”

I phoned my sister up later and we wondered what Rosie could have done to deserve such harsh words from her aunt who continued in the very next sentence;

“ Glad you are having nice weather”.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Bern and Mary Plain

If you've come here via Google looking for information on Mary Plain please take time to read the comments. Quite a lot of history and information about Gwynedd Rae has accumulated there.

January 2016:
CJB very kindly sent photographs of Gwynedd Rae and has allowed me to include them here (see below)!

These two cards are a little out of keeping with my usual choice. They are of the Café-Restaurant Zytglogge in Bern around 1947. Rob chose them and gave them to me to prepare, asking me “Where on earth is Bern?” I know where Bern is. Bern is a very special place to me although I’ve never been there. There used to be bear pits in Bern and a very special bear called Mary Plain lived there until one day the Owl Man took her in his car to live with the Fur Coat Lady. If you know Mary Plain you will know what a svisit is. Mary Plain was written by Gwynedd Rae, the book I read came from my grandmother’s house and I loved it dearly. My mother leant it to someone and we never got it back. The books are out of print today and you have to be very rich, like the Fur Coat Lady, to buy a copy.

I’ve spent a very enjoyable morning looking up Mary Plain thanks to those cards. A question for Peter: Was Mary Plain Swiss? I haven’t been able to find much out about Gwynedd Rae.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Amongst the cards that Rob gave me to prepare for ebay this morning was this one. I was surprised by the ‘village’ appearance as today Monaco looks like this.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I’d love to be able to dress up and wear a hat like this one. I wonder if it was heavy? Ladies in 1909 would be looking at this kind of creation in the shops and wondering what excuse they could give their husbands for buying yet another hat. The inscription on the back is actually dated 1915, I wonder where the card got to for six years?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Lady with hat and umbrella

I always enjoy looking at how people were dressed, so I was pleased to find this card amongst a lot we bought at auction. I noticed the signature under the chair when I was scanning the card and looked it up. The photographer was Henri Manuel (1874-1947) who was famous for his work and you can still buy posters today. I haven’t been able to find a biography of him though.

On Saturday we’re off to another auction in la Rochelle. I can’t wait to see what interesting cards we come home with.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Flight of fancy

A different type of card today. This postcard was based on a poster for Air France around 1948, just when the world was opening up again after the Second World War. I love the colours, I wonder how many people were inspired to travel by it?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"The Shell Seekers"

Years ago I read 'The Shell Seekers' by Rosamunde Pilcher. It’s a book I’ve revisited many times. I was delighted to find this card, that in my imagination at least, represents the painting around which the book is written.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


I know that this card has seen better days – it is 105 years old! The reflections on the water are fascinating, especially as they are in sepia. Segré and the old bridge today.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Eléphant de Mer

Imagine having to feed this sea loin fish by fish? He (or she) was resident at the zoo at Bois de Vincennes, Paris around 1948. I can't help wondering what would happen if he/she overbalanced!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I hope they all find somewhere to sleep. This card was sent in 1905.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Gone Fishing

Another baby card. Has she just fished for these babies? I’m afraid I have a dark sense of humour. Perhaps she is going to use them as bait!

Friday, August 10, 2007

The château on the lake

Here is another dream château, his one is at Montaudin and is by a lake. The postcard is over a hundred years old.

Someone came here looking for châteaus. I’m afraid you won’t find any of those anywhere, try châteaux.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hope it didn't rain!

I wonder how it felt to be (hopefully) whizzing along in one of these. The bus came from the same region as this one

Thursday, August 02, 2007

O la la!

These three ladies are modelling the latest fashions at the races at Auteuil. If you look closely at the lady on the left you will see she is wearing a ‘jupe-culotte’ which has divided legs! From what I can find out this was in 1911. The card has writing on the back but no date.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Flowers for August

I just had to share this one with you. I think that the colours are so lovely I’ve used it as my desk top. The card itself is winging its way to a new owner in the United States. Another satisfied customer!

Sunday, July 29, 2007


On the Ile de Ré, which is just across the bridge from here, there was a notorious prison. Do you remember the 1973 film Papillon with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman? In the film ‘Papillon’ was deported from the Ile de Ré. This card shows prisoners arriving around 1907, A little earlier than the story took place. There is still a prison on the Ile de Ré today.

Unfortunately, although interesting, the postcard is in a very poor state. The stamp has been torn from the front of the card and there are lots of creases.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Thanks to Alec I now know that these postcards are called multi-babies . The stamp is on the back of this one which was sent before 1904. Imagine finding all of these on your doorstep.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dream chateau

For me this is a magical card. The way it’s faded over the last hundred years . Look at the reflections on the water.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Feeding time

This is the solution for every parent with an ever hungry baby to feed. I can’t help thinking they would have to have a very strong suck. The card is over 100 years old.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Château de Chillon

I mentioned to Peter the other day that I didn’t have any cards of Chillon castle. Well now I’ve come across two while sorting out the cards from last months auction – yes, I’m still working on them!

The coloured card is pre 1903 and I presume the flowery attachment would have been artificial edelweiss. The black and white card I would describe as semi-modern which would be after 1945 - I could be wrong.
Click on the cards to see them more clearly.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Little girl for sale

This isn't really in the baby series I wanted to show you but I couldn't resist this one. I wonder if they had many offers? I'm not sure whether is was sent in 1914 or 1924 the post mark isn't very clear.

Talking of babies, congratulations to Titania who is looking forward to being a Grandmother!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Zut! Je rentre

Amongst the cards we bought at the auction last weekend were quite a few funny 'baby'cards, this one really amuses me. Roughly translated it reads “Damn! I’m returning”, it’s from a series “Around the world in an egg”; I wonder if I’ll find some more? The card was used to order ‘funny stories’!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Aother town, another auction

At the weekend we went to another auction in a different town. It was nice to play the tourist and enjoy the weather at the same time. I’m beginning to recognise some of the people now, mainly dealers in coins, I’m glad to say! The auctioneers are beginning to know who we are too...

This is a card from one of the lots we bought. The artist was A Schlomka, I haven’t been able to find out more, except for another postcard online dated around 1911. I was touched by this one because as a mother of three children and having two sisters and a brother myself, I know that co-operation between siblings is rare.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mystery car

Does anyone know what the make of this car is ? The back of the postcard is blank and the printing is in English and then French. There are no details of the publisher either. If you have any ideas please let me know.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Saint Catherine

I couldn’t understand why we’d collected so many Saint Catherine cards. They were addressed to girls with lots of different names, but not Catherine!. My favourite English student who is a retired history and geography teacher (history and geography are taught together in France) was able to explain the tradition. There are several St. Catherines on the French calendar, but one in particular in the autumn is the patron Saint of unmarried maidens. This is why lots of young girls used to send cards to each other on the celebrated day. Today, I think it would be hard to find a St Catherine card to send.

This one is a ‘semi modern’ card sent between friends.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Thank you Peter

This is a Swiss card for Peter at Worldman to thank him for writing about this blog in such a lovely way. I know that he comes from Montreux in Switzerland and this one is from Flüelen (Fluela). Now I think I know where the St. Bernard's dogs come from!

This card is semi modern and was posted in 1954. There is a franking on the back: Europäische Fernsehwochen television?

Friday, May 18, 2007

A walk in the woods

I thought that this weekend we could all go back in time to 1903 and take a walk through the woods. I think we’ll all manage to sit together on the bench where we can talk about all of our different countries. Which way should we go next left or right?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Charruyer Park

This is the park in La Rochelle, it hasn’t really changed at all. I’ve been looking through some postcards of the park and there often appear to be the same pair of swans. Today we have black swans too. The park was left to the town by Madame Charruyer about 150 years ago. The ‘lungs’ of La Rochelle, it stretches for a length of 2 kilometres through the middle of town.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tweedledum and Tweedledee

While I was clearing out an album we’d bought, I came across some photos. I bet these two were hot in their fur coats. This one has a postcard back. When I was small my mum had photos taken of my sister, brother and me every year by a ‘mobile’ photographer. A lot of those photos had postcard backs too, and it wasn’t so long ago!

I think the album had been kept by a young lady called Francine. Someone wrote to her at the end of the thirties saying that they hoped she would soon be a bride as she was now old enough and they had heard rumour of a young man. I found some cards from ‘the young man’ who was a soldier. They stopped shortly after the war started. There weren’t any more cards from young men after that. I hope that Francine found someone after the war.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

La Rochelle Ladies

These ladies are typical of the women who worked along the shore at the beginning of the 20th century. There lives would have been very hard. The climate is cold, damp and very windy in winter and the summer sun is very hot. Throughout history the women of La Rochelle have been special, The first was Eleanor Of Aquitaine who owned la Rochelle, she married the King of France and later the King of England. I’m sure that the women of La Rochelle would have played a courageous part in the sieges where many Rochelais lost their lives. The women of La Rochelle were also amongst the most determined passengers to the Americas.

Later on, some of the ladies of La Rochelle were to become famous amongst sailors and ships crews from all over the world….

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Auction success!

We went and bought a lot of new stock at an auction yesterday afternoon. There were other items, the most unusual being the sale of a binocular collection. There were posters too, this is where you can read about them. I always try to keep very still during an auction, I’m terrified of accidentally bidding for something I don’t want. Rob asked me to keep a running total of our bids so that we didn’t overspend, it went so fast I could hardly keep up!

This is just one card from a set that was in an album. We don’t usually bother much with fantasy cards, but I like these. It was printed in Berlin and sent in 1905 to wish someone a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


For the month of May a Mayday card. In France the tradition is to give a bunch of Lily-of-the-Valley for luck on May 1st. This year the flowers came from Germany, as the hot weather had caused the French Lily-of-the-Valley to flower too early.

This card carried bad news, the sender’s house had been burgled and she was sleeping badly because of it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Sugar Loaf

This is a card from very early in the 20th century. I presume that the sugar loaf was a memorial of some sort. I’ve not been able to find out much about it. All I found was a later card for sale on eBay. There were no people in charming clothes and telegraph poles had been erected. My card is better!

I was pleased to see a comment from Alec Millard of Cherryland Postcards. He’s got a lovely postcard site with very different cards to mine. He’s chosen the same blogger background as me - a man of taste.

Friday, April 20, 2007

"I won't forget you"

I’m sorry I’ve been absent for such a long time. I‘ve been busy setting up our postcard business which means lots of paper work as well as preparing the cards for eBay (this is the door to our eBay). I’ve also had a lot more writing to do – strange how everything comes at the same time.

This card was sent in 1910 and was part of correspondence between friends made at someone’s wedding. An invitation to pass a Sunday together…

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Death of a gangster

Now this one is a very interesting postcard. Here you see the French police carrying away the still alive body of the notorious Jules Bonnot. He met his end on April 28th 1912, after a shootout. The house he was hiding in had been surrounded by 500 police officers, soldiers, fireman, military engineers and a lynch mob. After firing for sometime the powers that be decided to dynamite the building, Bonnot was badly wounded and the police shot him 10 times in the upper body and once in the head. HE WAS STILL ALIVE when they removed him from the building (see card), the lynch mob was told that he was already dead.

What had he done to deserve such an end? He was a member of the notorious Bonnot Gang a band of anarchists who make Bonnie and Clyde look like angels. They were also the very first gang to use a getaway car! I got all of this information from Wikipedia so if you’d like to read the story in depth read Jules Bonnot and the Bonnot Gang.

Friday, April 06, 2007

More of Easter

These three were produced for Easter. Slightly newer than the previous card, I was pleased to find the set while sorting through a pile of postcards. Though they have stamps and are franked they were never sent through the post. I wonder if some collectors bought their cards and took them sraight to the post office to be made 'official'. Unfortunately I can't read the year.

If you would like to see them in more detail just click in the image.


This is a card which was sent in March 1904 and is a typical Easter card of the time. Cards at the very beginning of the 20th century had just the place for an address on the back. A message of any sort on that side was forbidden. Lots of older cards have space on the front to include a message.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Poisson d'avril!

In France the 1st of April is April fish day. The same idea as April fools day and if you’ve got children young enough, you’re likely to have the drawing of a fish pinned to your back. I think that one of the scenes in the film ‘ The French Connection’ showed the police sorting though a load of smelly fish looking for drugs, the gangster's idea of a poisson d’avril joke.

Henry sent this card to his nephew in 1916, it was written in pencil and must have been sent in an envelope. He was looking forward to seeing his nephew the following Sunday, perhaps he had some leave coming up?