Arago: Siege of Paris Mail

Siege of Paris Mail

Envelope from Paris office at Place de la Madeleine


This envelope originated from the Paris office at Place de la Madeleine on November 24, 1870, (fifth collection) and was presumably prepaid 20 centimes for the French internal letter rate to Trouville sur Mer, “Par Ballon Monté.” Based on the date and time of collection, the absence of any arrival datestamp, and the overall condition of this item, it is 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 allowing the balloon to ascend to a safe altitude. Rescued by a Norwegian schooner and returned to France, many of these letters show signs of sea immersion, including the loss of postage stamps.

November 24, 1870
“Par Ballon Monté” endorsement Partial Paris Star [Etoile] cancel [stamp no longer present] Paris/Pl. de la Madeleine [collection] 24 November 1870
paper; ink
Museum ID:
FRANCE (republic)


  • Balloon post
  • Envelope from Paris office at Place de la Madeleine
Additional Records

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