Arago: Siege of Paris Mail

Siege of Paris Mail

Envelope from Paris suburb office of Passy-Les-Paris


This envelope originated in the suburban Paris office of Passy-Les-Paris on September 18, 1870, (fourth collection) and was prepaid 20 centimes for the French internal letter rate to St. Adresse, near Le Havre. On this same date, the German Army severed all correspondence to/from Paris, so this letter was stranded within the city. The first balloon to carry mails out of Paris ascended on September 23, 1870, but because this letter probably weighed more than the four-gram limit imposed on balloon mail, it was held within Paris until mid-October, when the larger balloons with their greater payloads were used to carry all the heavy letters that had accumulated in the various offices. This letter shows a Le Havre arrival date of October 21, 1870, on the reverse, and was likely carried by the Victor Hugo balloon. Note that on arrival in St. Adresse, this letter was redirected to Trouville.


Paris/Passy-Les-Paris (collection) 18 September 1870

Le Havre (arrival) 21 October 1870

September 18, 1870
20 centime Napoleon Lauré (Sc 33) cancelled by GC (Gros Chiffre) No. 2793 lozenge
paper; ink
7.2 x 11 cm (2 13/16 x 4 5/16 in.)
Museum ID:
FRANCE (republic)


  • Neptune Cover
  • Envelope from Paris suburb office of Passy-Les-Paris
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