Poste Maritime Française. La Société l’Europe. Le Havre – Saint-Pétersbourg 1840 – 1852
A new book by Robert Abensur RDP has been recently published by l’Académie de philatélie. Here is a short description taken from the Academy’s website:
The Russian Empire and its notoriously Francophile elites appreciate French luxury goods. French people expatriate to make their fortune in this country which aspires to modernise by taking advantage of their savoir-faire. The advent of maritime steam navigation in the 1830s accelerated trade and made it possible to establish a speed and regularity of transport unknown until then.
A shipowner from Le Havre, Philippe Albrecht, with his experience of steam lines to Hamburg and then Amsterdam, embarked on the adventure. During the summer of 1838, two of his steamers carried passengers, goods and mails between Le Havre and St Petersburg. He was not the only one, since steamers from Lubeck, London and Hull, Stettin and Stockholm also served the Baltic. After three years of successful trials’s round trips and obtaining a privilege from H.M. the Emperor of Russia to operate the line, he founded the Société l’Europe with several shareholders at the end of 1840. From then on, his fortnightly round trips criss-crossed the ice-free Baltic from May to October. Dunkirk introduced competition in 1842-1843, which did not succeed. But the arrival of the train in Dunkirk in 1849 moved the head of the line from Le Havre to that city.
This book, based on digitised newspapers and archive sources from the Seine-Maritime department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, deals with the history of this shipping company and its steamships. It details the timetables of the fifteen years of operation of this regular line which disappeared at the end of 1852 due to economic difficulties. The book is illustrated with press excerpts and several letters which allow us to evoke the French and Russian maritime postal rates, but also the Danish ones because of the regular call in Copenhagen.
Price: 26 euros per copy (postage paid for all destinations), softcover, 21×29.7 cm, in colour, 44 pages.
Available at: https://ma.simpleboutik.fr/academie-de-philatelie
[credit: Jean-Bernard Parenti in Philatelic Literature FB account]