December 2, 2012

0402 FRANCE (Centre-Val de Loire) - Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Orléans (UNESCO WHS)

Located about 130 kilometres southwest of Paris, on the Loire River, Orléans has a long and rich history, which began with the Gallic stronghold named Cenabum and continued with the roman city Aureliana Civitas (city of Aurelian), owned a while by Alans. In the Merovingian era, the city was capital of the kingdom of Orléans, then it became the capital of a county then duchy, in appanage of the house of Valois-Orléans, which acceded to the throne of France. The city was always a strategic point on the Loire, for it was sited at the river's most northerly point (so closest to Paris). There were few bridges over the dangerous river Loire, and Orléans had one of them, and so became, with Rouen and Paris, one of medieval France's three richest cities. But in the wider world the city is known primarily due to Jeanne d'Arc, "La pucelle d'Orléans" (Joan of Arc, The Maid of Orléans), but also to Nouvelle-Orléans (New Orleans) - the capital of the French colony that stretched along the Mississippi River, from its mouth to its source, at the borders of Canada - named so in honor of Louis XV's regent, the duke of Orleans.

Cathédrale Sainte-Croix d'Orléans (Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Orléans - in image) was erected between 1278 and 1329, but the present structure had its first stone laid by Henry IV in 1601 (after the partial destruction in 1568), being completed in 1829. It thus is a mix of late Renaissance and early Louis XIV styles, and one of the last cathedrals built in France. The church owes its name to Saint Euverte, Bishop of Orleans, who laid the foundations in 330, when the cross of Christ was discovered in Jerusalem by Saint Helena. Ruined by the Normans in 865, rebuilt in 883, destroyed by fire in 999, it became cathedral in 11th century. In 1108 it hosted the coronation of Louis VI the Fat, one of the very few consecrations of a French monarch which didn't took place in Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims. But the Orléans Cathedral is probably most famous for its association with Joan of Arc, who attended evening Mass in this cathedral on May 2, 1429, while in the city to lift the siege. Actually the cathedral's stained glass windows now depict the story of Joan of Arc.

A strip of the city of Orleans, along the Loire River, in which is located the cathedral, is part of the site The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes, which was  inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2000.

About the stamp

The first stamp is part of a series devoted to the 60th anniversary of the National Union of Associations of volunteer blood donors, issued on May 20, 2011. The series, edited under the slogan Don du sang, don de soi  (blood donation, self giving) contain 8 different personalized stamps, with the permanent validity (priority mail 20g), issued in 50,000 copies. Six of these eight stamps were chosen after an internal La Poste contest, organized in 2009, and the last two stamps reproduce posters designed for this National Union by French illustrator Jean-Claude Pertuzé.

Don du sang - Un petit geste... qui redonne la vie (Blood Donation - A small gesture... which gives life)
Don du sang - Donner son sang, donner la vie (Blood Donation - Give blood, give life)
Don du sang - Je don de xi... pour la vie! (Blood Donation - I donate xi... for life!)
Don du sang - Pas le temps de donnez votre sang? Et pour en recevoir? (Blood Donation - No time to give blood? And to receive?)
Don du sang - without slogan
Don du sang - Don de soi, don d'espoir... et si j'avais ce qu'il te manque? (Blood Donation - Self giving, hope giving... and if I had what you lack?)
Don du sang - don de soi (Blood Donation - Self giving) - it's on the postcard
Don du sang - Une idee cadeau utile et originale: la vie (Blood Donation - A useful and original gift idea: life)

The second stamp is one of the two designed by René Quillivic and issued on April 23, 1977, which represented France on Europa Stamps, which had as theme in that year Landscapes:
• Provencal village (1,00 Franc) - It's on the postcard
• Britain village (1,40 Franc)

This is a post for Sunday Stamps #99, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is Stamps with a message. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.

Orléans - Wikipedia
Orléans - Magic France
Interactive map of the Loire Valley - Loire Valley World Heritage
Orléans Cathedral - Wikipedia
Cathédrale Sainte-Croix d'Orléans - Catoliques du Loiret
Stamps - Association des Donneurs de Sang Benevoles de La Poste & de France Telecom du Var & des Hautes-Alpes

Sender: Jean-Michel Ermide (walltype)
Sent from Villeurbane (Rhone / France), on 24.12.2011


  1. I am now feeling a little guilty because I have never donated blood.

  2. They won't let me any more - they say I am too old. I never made it to Orleans when visiting France; it's a place I'd like to see.

  3. It's OK Postcardy - I donated once, while in college. And that was a long time ago!!!
    thank you for joining in this week!

  4. Impressive towers, I'd love to have a look inside. Nice they have devoted a number of stamps to blood donation. The blood donation nurse said my veins were like shoelaces so it always took ages to fill a bottle.