January 7, 2013

0450 FRANCE (Occitania) - The Yellow Train / Le Chemin de fer de Cerdagne (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List))

The Ligne de Cerdagne, often called the Yellow Train (in French: Train Jaune, in Catalan: Tren Groc), after its yellow and red colours, derived from the Catalan flag, is a metre gauge railway that runs from Villefranche-de-Conflent through to Mont-Louis, in Roussillon (French Catalonia). This spectacular feat of civil engineering was started in 1903 and the section to Mont-Louis was completed in 1910, followed by an extension to Latour-de-Carol in 1927. It's 63km long and climbs to 1,593m at Bolquère-Eyne, the highest railway station in France, then drops down to a high Pyrenean valley, to its terminus at Latour de Carol, near the Spanish town of Puigcerda.

There are 19 tunnels and two bridges, one of which is, unusual for a railway bridge, a suspension bridge (Pont Gisclard, or Pont de Cassagne). There are open and closed cars. The open cars are a favourite with tourists enjoying dramatic views as the train climbs the twisting track. Both Villefranche-de-Conflent and Mont Louis are UNESCO World Heritage Sites (parts of Fortifications of Vauban), and the line itself was included in 2002 on tentative list, under the name Le chemin de ferde Cerdagne.

About the stamps
The two stamps are part of a very large series, Portraits de régions (Portrait of Regions), issued by La Poste between 2003 and 2008. This series was divided into two themes: La France à vivre (France to live) - folklore and gastronomy, and La France à voir (France to see) - touristic sites. Every year, between 2003 and 2007, was issued a set of 10 stamps (with the same value) for each theme. The stamps found on this postcard are part of France to live 2007 (all with the same value - 0,54 EUR), issued on October 1st 2007:
□ French gastronomy:
• melon
□ traditional objects:
• Basque beret - it's on the postcard
• carpet slipper of Charente - it's on the postcard
• Marseille soap
□ historic crafts:
• perfume of Grasse (a basket of flower petals)
• porcelain of Sèvres
• tapestries of Aubusson
□ folk traditions:
• Giants of the North
• bouchon Lyonnais
• Christmas market

Ligne de Cerdagne - Wikipedia
The Little Yellow Train - About France
Portraits de régions - Wikipedia

Sender: Fabienne - World Heritage Postcard (direct swap)
Sent from (France), on 14.11.2012
Photo: C. Negre

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