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France

11 May 2020

EUROPA — Ancient Postal Routes

France: EUROPA – Ancient Postal Routes, 11 May 2020. Image from GULMANN STAMPS WORLD.

First day Thursday, May 7, 2020
Cancellation illustrated 1st day at STRASBOURG (67) at the Post Office, from
8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., 1 rue de la fonderie, 67000 STRASBOURG and at PARIS (75) at Carré d’Encre, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 13 bis rue des Mathurins, 75009 PARIS.
Line FILHON and Stéphane HUMBERT-BASSET will lead a signing session from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 7.
General sale Monday, May 11, 2020
Face value: € 1.40
Postage of the priority letter up to 20g internationally
Horizontal stamp Total dimensions 40.85×30 mm Perforation 13
Blue color ,black ,red and brown
Printed at 48 stamps per sheet
800,000 copies issued

Graphic design by Stéphane Humbert-Basset
Engraved by Line Filhon
From a photo of the Post Office Museum (Briska Post Office)
From a photo of the historic postal and telecommunications library

A little history…
The history of the roads of France was also that of the post roads from the moment when the royal power, wishing to ensure the rapid circulation of official dispatches, established the Post Office for horses in the middle of the 14th century.

This organization is based on two emblematic businesses and a private infrastructure: postillions accompany bags of mails and couriers; post masters, who paid dearly for the privilege of holding official post relays positioned every seven leagues. This system determines post routes, frequently mapped since 1632, and maintained by engineers from Ponts et Chaussées since 1747. Radiating first in a star from Paris, the network had 27 destinations in 1790, then enriched by transverse links allowing to connect the main cities of the kingdom to each other, up to around forty routes. This road network is still legible across a number of national motorways.

On these expressways, galloping is primarily the prerogative of the ” stationary ” routes , accessible to travelers since 1794: there were 4,000 in 1815 and 60,000 in 1829! At the heart of the XIX th century average paces from 12 to 14 km per hour are reached. Other non-postal and slower services concern the transport of goods by trolleys, as well as that of travelers by coaches and coaches of courier companies.

It was along these ancient routes that the first memorable experiences of the journey were lived, carried out in conditions of adventure, discomfort and imponderable seasonal workers. From the wheelbarrow pulled by a horse, to trunks without shock absorbers and on two wheels, to the Briska model of the 1830s equipped with a convertible, postal vehicles always knew how to find in the relay the light lit during the night, because “run the post ”suffered no interruption…

© – La Poste – Sébastien RICHEZ – Committee for the history of La Poste – All rights reserved
From Phil @ Poste press release

 

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