Two of my husband’s work colleagues from Nice, France, are here in California this week. We had them over for dinner because over the years they have become friends of ours. One friend came bearing gifts: some good French wine, some marzipan sweets, and a tissue-paper wrapped gift for me. Inside was a stack of incredibly beautiful vintage French correspondence, letters and postcards, several from the 1850s. How did our guest know I’d be thrilled with a gift like this?
Last summer my husband and I went to Cote d’Azure in France for a week in the summer. We stayed with my husband’s colleague/friend Pawel and his wife Anna. I was meeting them for the first time. In asking what our interests were and what we would like to do, I mentioned that I create collage art with vintage papers, and that I would love any opportunities to go to open markets and to look for vintage papers.
I made a gluebook with collage art, and presented it as a gift to our hosts. I made it so that I could give them something personal that I had put time and effort into, and I made it so that they could see what I do and get an idea of what I am always looking for: paper treasures. And I am not always looking for vintage papers. In the gluebook page spread below, I used a wrapper from cheese that we bought and all ate together one evening. It’s nice to incorporate elements from daily life too. I borrowed back the gluebook while we were there, and I made a few pages over the days for them.
Over the week Pawel and Anna took us to many beautiful places from the coast in Nice to picturesque villages up in the mountains.
They also took us to the town of Mougins, which has an amazing village-type feel in the center, with lots of artist studios. It was so fun to ramble down the narrow streets and stop in at whichever kind of artist shop looked interesting.
I even got experience my first Michelin-rated restaurant. It was very enjoyable!
But it wasn’t all wandering, I did get to a few museums with Anna as my guide, including this stamp museum in Monaco. I loved seeing the printing presses and stamp samples.
But the museum that really caught my imagination was the Postcard Museum in Antibes.
Postcards serve as samples, documenting its history. Some are separated by country, by theme, by era, by style, by humor, but they are there to tell a story of how postcards became so popular. “The email of it’s time”. When not used for business correspondence, many people collected place-themed or sentiment-themed postcards and put them into albums. The height of popularity was from 1910 to 1920.
Over my trip I did pick up some interesting vintage post cards including the ones below.
So as you can see, with the help of Pawel and Anna I saw many wonderful things. They also learned what interests me and thus, my surprise gift of all these wonderful pieces of correspondence.
Thank you, Anna and Pawel. These are treasures and very much appreciated! I made a little thank you card and started off with a collage.