A Paean to Postcards

More than e-mail, less than letters, postcards are a perfect way to let loved ones back home know you’re thinking about them during your travels. I can’t decide which I like better: carefully crafting a succinct, thoughtful message to send, or receiving someone else’s sentiments in my mailbox. On your Paris travels, be sure to pick up a carte postale or 2, or 17, to tell your friends and family: Wish you were here.

The physicality of a postcard—light and lovely—is what I love most about this miniature art form. Every home I’ve had for the last seven years has boasted a postcard wall that displays the sights and thoughts of my friends’ journeys around the world, and that helps keep me dreaming globally. Since I moved to Paris, the only thing I spend more money on than wine is postcards and stamps. I don’t mind that—I’m a romantic, and a writer. I love to send off a stack of beautiful old photographs or art nouveau illustrations with observations of the city, and of places I will show my loved ones when they come to visit. But the best feeling I get is finding a trove of cheap, vintage and/or unique postcards, the non-Photoshopped kind you’ll never find at Gilbert Jeune, the popular Paris bookstore chain, or on a rack beside the Eiffel Tower.

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