Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday's postcard: La Maison de Turenne in Valdoie, France

This old, unused postcard features a building in Valdoie, France, a commune1 of about 5,000 residents in northeastern France.

The caption across the bottom of the card states: "La Maison de Turenne (Turenne coucha dans cette Maison le 27 Decembre 1671)."

That translates to "Turenne House. Turenne slept in this house December 27, 1671."

The Turenne referred to, based on the date of 1671, is probably Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne (1611-1675), who is one of the most famous military figures in French history. Turenne was so well-regarded that Napoleon Bonaparte urged all of his men to study his campaigns and strategies.

Moving from military figures to food, another interesting aspect of this postcard is the blue-and-white sign on the front of the house.

Chocolat Menier was, according to Wikipedia, "a chocolate manufacturing business founded in 1816 as a pharmaceutical manufacturer in Paris, France, at a time when chocolate was used as a medicinal product."2 By 1853, the company was producing 4,000 tons per year of chocolate, bars of which were wrapped in yellow paper. Poster advertisements, created by Firmin Bouisset, became a big part of the company's strategy in the late 19th century.

The Menier family was phased out of the business during a series of sales and mergers beginning in the 1960s. The brand is now owned by Nestlé.3

1. Communes in France are roughly the equivalent of townships in the United State or parishes in England. According to Wikipedia: "Valdoie is situated on the Savoureuse River. The name is thought to have come from combining the Latin word Vadum (meaning shallow crossing) and the Celtic word Oye (meaning water or river)."
2. You could still argue today that chocolate is "medicinal," in some aspects.
3. For some eye-opening reading, Google "Nestlé bottled water" along with keywords such as "problems" and "scandal." You might not think of Nestlé the same way again afterward.

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