Thursday, July 18, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 100

This week’s card is from the Blossac Garden in Poitiers, France.  The cancellation mark on the reverse side of this postcard dates it to 1910.  It looks as if there are several soldiers in the photograph in addition to the man in civilian clothing. 

The park is divided into sections with at least four gardens, the French Garden, the English Garden, the Rockery, and the Contemporary Garden.  My French friend who sent the card writes that this is the largest park in Poitiers where everyone—students, families, older people—come for a walk, to enjoy the sunshine, play and relax.  He says it is a beautiful and very French place with big trees, old stones, a very nice wooden bandstand and even a small zoo.  It has remained almost unchanged through the years and the pond and trees have not been replaced or cut.  The pond remains the same only the light in the center of it has been removed. 

The French park was designed with perpendicular paths to provide views of the valley.  It has trimmed trees similar to those found in many French parks, stone benches, a mulberry section for raising silk worms, and it also had a labyrinth at one time.  By 1840 there was a water jet or fountain. 

See this link for more:

The two postcards below are also from Poitiers.  The first one is of Notre-Dame-la-Grande.  The photograph was taken by Alain Gouillardon and published by Compa Carterie, of Aix-en-Provence, France.  This is an old church that was first mentioned in the 10th century by the name of Sancta Maria Maior.  Because the church/cathedral is placed next to the Palace of the Counts of Poitou-Dukes of Aquitaine it suggests that politically the bishops of Poitier were barons of Poitou.  The entire building was rebuilt in the 11th century and inaugurated in 1086 by Pope Urban II.  Originally it had Romanesque frescoes in the interior but these did not survive except those in the apse vault above the choir in the crypt.  There is a mixture of styles since parts were refurnished after the French Revolution. 

The stamp below was on the postcard of the church.  It is a reproduction of an Edgar Degas painting and part of an art series set of stamps for 2012.

There is an interesting legend of the miracle of the keys in connection with this church.  In the year 1202 the English set upon the city of Poitiers.  The city clerk promised the English the keys to the city in exchange for a large sum of money.  In the night the clerk went to steal the keys only to find them gone.  The mayor also realized that the keys had disappeared and knew that treason had been committed.  He went to the church to request a miracle and found the statute of the Virgin Mary holding the keys.  The legend says that the English were frightened by the vision and killed each other or fled.  The event is represented in a stained glass window and on a table inside the church. 

To read the legend and/or find additional information about the church please see this link:,_Poitiers

The picture on the card above is of an old house built in the 16th century that still stands mostly unchanged today in Poitiers.  The front has been renovated.  The original landlord was an architect who designed and built religious buildings like churches and abbeys.  The road is also the same.  Off to the left of the photo Roman artifacts were excavated and will be reburied before a park can be built there.  At the rear is the back of the town hall.  The photographer is named as Jules Robuchon of Poitiers.  The card was mailed just a few days before the beginning of World War I in 1914.  The message is from a woman who is asking for news about her sister and her mother. 

Below is a close up of La Semeuse or the Sower stamp with the postmark and date of 18 August 1914.  The woman is wearing the cap of liberty and this image was associated with Republican France for many years.  The stamp first issued in 1903 was designed by Louis Oscar Roty and engraved by Louis-Eugène Mouchon.  For additional information see:

My thanks as always to my French friend for the cards and the interesting information about them.

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