Garde Mobile from Paris suburb office of La Villette folded letter
This folded “Garde Mobile” letter originated from the Paris suburb office of La Villette on November 23, 1870, (fifth collection) and was prepaid 20 centimes for the French internal letter rate to Montpellier, “Par Ballon Monté.” Based on the date and time of collection plus the absence of any arrival datestamp, it is most likely that this letter was carried out of Paris by the balloon Ville D’Orléans.
The Ville D’Orléans carried 250 kilograms of mail and traveled all the way to Norway, where it descended at Lifjeld. Along the way, one sack of mail was thrown into the sea so that the balloon could ascend to a safe altitude. These letters were rescued by a Norwegian schooner and returned to France, but many show signs of sea immersion, including the loss of postage stamps.