France stamps – The first french mail service was set up on 19th June 1464 by decree of Louis XI, however only operated for the king and the royal court. The first France stamps were the 20 centimes black and 1 franc orange-vermilion issued on 1st January 1849. They were also one of the original signatories of the UPU in 1874. On 1st 1899, following the introduction of the Imperial Penny Post a week earlier, they established a Colonial rate equal to the internal mail rate.
1914 saw France entering the war against Germany after the invasion of Belgium, immediately moving into German Alsace, horrendous trench warfare followed. In 1916 German stamps overprinted for the Western Military Command were therefore used in various occupied areas. In May 1939 the Germans invade Holland and Belgium and quickly passed through to enter France from the north-east and also directly south of Luxembourg. The French army fell back and its British allies, pinned to the Channel coast, were forced to withdraw from Dunkirk. On 6th June 1944 the Allies invaded Normandy and in August, southern France. By the end of 1944 virtually all of the country was liberated and Paris became the capital again in August, with new designs printed in Washington and brought to France by the Allies in June, these were used in liberated areas as forces advanced.
In conclusion, France issue many beautiful stamps depicting outstanding art and culture. Collectors enjoy a rich diversity of early classics, also fascinating wartime postal history, postage dues and revenue stamps.