Monday, August 18, 2008

Going Postal

#170B J'ai écrit une lettre, original watercolor,9" x 11"
Still writing letters, still painting glasses of flowers because...
Directly across the boulevard from Passage Jouffroy is
The Passage des Panoramas another 19th century shopping mall, built in 1799 and one of the earliest venues of the Parisian philatelic trade. And of course I found a STAMP shop in there. Did you ever collect stamps when you were a kid? I collected specifically French colonial stamps when I was 1. I dreamed of running away. And because of the bright colors. I still have them lurking somewhere.
Paris shops are full of unexpected memories. Old stamps on old letters - how do they end up here? And French post marks! I bought a faux set of rubber stamps to put on what? Who knows? Irresistible though. French script is the BEST! I spent a year trying to write French calligraphie like this...Hmmm Dress up as a French postman (ooops - person) Or deliver the poste yourself in your own yellow toy truck... And poste banks as well here, Brit ones too. The best is this miniature postal office. So much better than going to a real French postal office = terrifying! Will they ask me questions I can't answer in my limited French? One trip I carried around my postcards in my purse unsent, for fear of having to wait on line and speak to a poste person.
Has this ever happened to you in Paris?


  1. Anonymous9:23 AM

    I agree. French script is just beautiful. It is truly a thing of the past and we'll see less and less of in the future. With computers, younger generations aren't using their hands the way my generation and those before me did. I think it's very sad.

    Eileen (passions to pastry)

  2. This is another lovely and charming painting. I am loving these with the letters in them. I wish I could say I had that problem in Paris with carrying letters around to mail, then it would mean I had been there. But Alas no. Altho I used to collect pretty stamps as a kid. My Grandmother would take them off of foreign correspondence and send them to me. Fun post today.

  3. YES!!!! I spent 6 weeks in Paris before working up the courage to ask for stamps!! I thought I was the only one!!! :) :) :)

  4. Not alone at all KNITTING KNIRVANA-it's not so much what to say or how to say it in French, but the terrer struck deep in the hearts of all who enter the poste office...a kind of tyranny reigns. Like you are in a different country and you can say nothing right.

  5. Anonymous10:42 AM

    Even tho they don't like to admit it--most French people speak English--and about 3 other languages
    J'ai besoin de # etambres(sp?) (I need....)
    par avion aux Etates Unis-air mail to the USA--
    That's the best I can do for now
    Melanie USA--

  6. Anonymous1:21 PM

    But all your watercolors are Lovely!

  7. Anonymous1:22 PM

    These passages are like rabbit warrnes full of goodies..well kept secret for most I bet.

  8. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Carol. we don't have any post boxes now here in the UK and all the post offices that were near peoples homes have gone. Old ladies that live out in the country have to come into town to visit the ONLY POST OFFICE there is.
    There were marches and lots to stop it but the Royal Mail that is the top boss nearly went bust so they closed everything so if you have one letter to post it costs you £3 which is six dollors for you to just bring it into town.
    Love the pictures.
    I missed all the passages.

  9. Mon Dieu, Carol,-- BLUE in your flower painting!? Gorgeous! I love that... Lovely painting! As for mail and pretty stamps and ecriture, I'm all for promoting those--they're such a part of gentility and beauty. Someone has to keep all that going--we can't let all that disappear. Mais non--Sacre Bleu!

  10. Anonymous3:33 PM

    I have a set of those faux French postmark stamps... they're fun to use on the outside of an actual piece of mail - "par avion" or "Prioritie" don't impede their US delivery.
    If I am just handing a b'day card to a friend or co-worker, I'll put the fake cancellation mark on it.
    It beats a plain envelope!

  11. ooh, Now I want to rewatch Charade. Remember the stamps in the market place scene? Well, who could forget anything wth Hepburn and Grant in Paris. :)

    Look at that lovely script too. This is a beautiful series. I am a sucker for those postmarks too. I am using some stamped pieces for collage.

    I love the blue in this flower and every little step of this prowl.

  12. There is something so romantic about French correspondence. Your painting is no exception.
    When in Paris I always take my postcards to the Eiffel Tower mailbox to get the special stamp they have. Love it!!

  13. THANKS La Belette!
    I didn't know...what a brill idea!
    Next time I will do a mail run to the awful, awful Eiffel Tour :)

  14. Anonymous4:01 PM

    Beautiful blues, Carol! I love this one.
    Looks like a gorgeous hydrangea.
    I do think nothing touches the soul like a REAL letter in the mail. Instead of just bills and junk mail, it still always makes me smile to get a REAL letter just for rare these days, and that's why I always make a point to send thank you notes...gotta' keep up these traditions.

  15. Anonymous4:02 PM

    I want one of those post box piggy banks!!!!

  16. Anonymous8:59 PM

    You collected only French colonial stamps? How very prescient of you! I never looked at stamps as a youngster....too busy wading through swamps and feeding rabbits....but I have come to my senses and a few years ago I started buying those linen bags of a million stamps for $5.00. I'm a sucker for the colors! I have sorted mine all by color and put them into those sheets that have pockets for stamps......I suppose thinking I'd use them for collage one day. Who knows?

  17. Anonymous9:07 PM

    La Belette,
    I too have only mailed from Eiffel Tower for the lovely stamp.


  18. My Father has a stamp collection. I love looking at them. Little pieces of art on your french stationary. French stamps are beautiful.

  19. Anonymous8:05 PM

    Last spring, when I was in Paris, I summoned the courage to go to the post office and buy stamps for my letters. Then I walked around the building for 20 minutes, trying to find where to mail them! Finally, I got in line again and asked. The clerk gave me a look that said "Oh, you poor idiot," and directed me to OUTSIDE the building and the proper mail slot.

    But still, it was Paris...

  20. Have you ever tried to simply push your postcards under the glass division, point at the address, and smile helplessly at the French guy sitting behind the counter? I am sure you could not only charm to socks off him, but also end up with all the stamps you needed (it definitely would work in Vienna). ;-)

  21. Don't you just love French Script - all those flourishes

  22. Anonymous7:53 AM

    I was in Paris after my first year of high school French and got stuck at the post office, in line and at the window. I could say everything except for Hong Kong, hadn't learned that one.
    There was a nice man behind me who stepped up after my third attempt
    and just said "Hong Kong" with his great accent. Lucky he was there!

  23. Anonymous8:52 AM

    quand est-ce que tu reviens, ma chère? save me an afternoon so we can go exploring together...


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