Today, Thursday 3rd of November, starts the “salon d'automne”, a stamp fair held in Paris every year at the beginning of November. As I am on holidays this week (yes!) I decided to visit the stamp fair to see if I could find interesting things. I'm just back, from it and as it is raining in Paris I decided to sit in front of my PC and to share with you the details of this visit.
The stamp fair will be held from today until Sunday the 6th of November. It is held in a place called “espace Champerret”, located in the north west of Paris. This place hosts a lot of various fairs all along the year. Here is a picture of the entrance.
The fair started at 10h in the morning, but I was there at 8h45 and I was not the first one. Several people were there already to be sure they would be the first ones to access to the LISA machines, the machines that distributes ATM designed for the occasion. This labels are not available out of the manifestation so you have to queue sometimes for hours to get them. I will be honest I did not have the patience to queue for them and therefore I did not buy any of them.
When I entered the fair I received the official program, containing also a map of the place.
This year is the 65th edition of the salon and Great Britain is the guest of honour.
The first thing I did when I entered the place was to go to the booth of the French Post to buy the stamps issued on this day and to get some first day cancellations. Here is a picture of the booth where you could buy the stamps newly issued (the picture is misleading, when I arrived there were already a lot of people queueing. The picture was taken at a quieter moment, during lunch time).
Before the stamp fair I had received an invitation to the first day ceremonies so I knew what stamps I could buy (these invitations that I show below are only for information. You don't need an invitation to participate to a first day ceremony, of course).
The first new issue is a booklet of twelve stamps representing paintings picturing the nativity and that you can find in French museums. Here is a copy of the invitation to the first day ceremony and a picture of the booklet.
The first thing that you can see when you have the booklet in the hands is that the stamps are ridiculously small! 26X24 mm is very small for stamps picturing such beautiful paintings. You almost need a magnifier to be able to appreciate the paintings on the stamp. This is a pity. I don't know why they made the stamps so small!
The second issue is a block of Marianne, which is, as you know, the French definitive stamp. Again I show you the invitation and the block itself.
The block contains the seven Marianne of Europe that were issued after the change of postal rate in July.
For both issues you could get First Day Cancellations at the booth pictured below.
I took this opportunity to send some covers to myself (I will show them here when I get them back) and to some of my readers. I hope they will travel safely and arrive in a good shape.
Together with the stamps you could also buy two philatelic souvenirs, one related to the Nativity booklet and picturing one of the paintings, the one from Georges De La Tour (my favourite one!) and one dedicated to the stamp that has been chosen as the most beautiful French stamp of 2010, the stamp picturing Abbé Pierre, a very famous figure in France who made a lot for poor people.
But the stamp fair does not only contain the booth of the French Post. You can find also booths from stamp dealers and from foreign postal administrations such as the one from Royal Mail pictured below.
From the booth of some foreign post offices you could send mails to yourself, which I did on the booth from Portugal post and from Israel post. I will show you the covers when I get them back.
I also visited a lot of stamp dealer booths in order to find some interesting items for my frog stamp collection but I did not find any. The problem is that my collection is now rather big, the old items that I miss are rare and difficult to find and I'm pretty well organized to get the new issues. Anyway this was an interesting visit since I could find some items for my cow stamp collection.
During the salon you can also meet some stamp designers who can autograph their stamps. The queue was so big that I did not do it but I nevertheless got an autograph!
Indeed, in the salon you could buy a collector issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the TV show Télé-philatélie that started in 1961 and ran for 22 years. A TV show dedicated to philately is rather seldom, and I remember very well watching it when I was young. The show was presented by Jacqueline Caurat who is pictured on the collector.
She was present on the salon and I could get a a personalized autograph that I'm pretty proud of. This TV show as really great.
Here is a picture of Madam Caurat signing my collector. She is really a very charming lady and it was a great honour for me to be able to meet her.
Tomorrow the stamp fair goes on with other stamp issues. I don't know if I will have the time to go back there. If I do I will let you know.