French Stamps: Paris, Budapest, and Copenhagen

European Capitals, Paris (French Post 2010)

Three years ago the French Post started a new stamp series entitled “Capitales Européenes” (European Capitals).  Each souvenir sheet contains four stamps issued at the national first class 20g rate.  (You can see the price rise in between the second and third souvenir sheets from 0.58€ to 0.60€, the current rate.)  The souvenir sheets are designed to show-off the chosen cities’ monuments, neighborhoods and atmosphere via watercolor paintings–a stamp-size travel guide if you will!

While my goals today is to share this year’s stamps with you, I thought I would briefly mention/show the first two sheets as well.  The first block, naturally, highlighted Paris and remains one of my favorite mini-sheets.  I love the bright colors and the dream-like perfect Paris it shows.  Just looking at the stamps makes me want to head to Paris on the first train available and just spend the day strolling around the city with Anthony.  The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumphe, Notre Dame and Opéra Garnier all get their own stamps.  Last year, Budapest, Hungary got its own stamp set featuring the Parliament, Royal Palace or Buda Palace, Szechenyi Baths, and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge which links Buda and Pest!  Budapest has been on my to-see list for years.  I would love to link Vienna and Budapest by car one day and imagine life under the Habsburg Empire.

European Capitals, Budapest (French Post 2011)

European Capitals, Copenhagen (French Post 2012)

Which brings us to Copenhagen and the 2012 addition to our European tour!  Denmark’s capital beckons us to come visit.  The Little Mermaid statue, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale, sits in Copenhagen’s harbor watching the world go by.  The statue has become the cities’ icon and unofficial mascot in much the same way as one associates the Mannekin Pis with Brussels.  (As an aside, I hope the Little Mermaid is more impressive in person than the Mannekin Pis!)  The other three stamps all added to my limited knowledge of Copenhagen.  To begin with, Denmark is a constitutional monarchy and Copenhagen is thus a royal city as our next two stamps prove.  Rosenborg Castle, built in the 17th century by King Christian IV, is today a museum devoted to the Danish monarchs and home to the Danish Crown Jewels and Crown Regalia.   As all monarchy’s love a bit of pomp and circumstance, you can watch the start of the changing of the guard here!  The Danish Royal Guard leaves Rosenborg every day to march through Copenhagen to the Amalienborg Palace to change the guard!  Built in the 1700s Amalienborg Palace, our second “royal” stamp, is the main residence of HM Queen Margrethe.  Today, two of the four buildings which make up the palace are open to the public and offer another glimpse into Denmark’s monarchy.  The last stamp, is devoted not to a monument or building, but to a district.  Nyhavn is a canal area famous for its beautiful colorful 17th and early 18th century townhouses.  Today, the area is full of bars, cafes and restaurants and the canal is lined with ships of all sizes and eras!  It sounds like the perfect place to have tea or coffee and people watch in between writing a postcard or two!  Time to go have some tea, write a postcard or two, and use these stamps us–as close as I’ll be getting to Denmark for a while!

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