Lonely Planet Writer

Postcard finally reaches Lorient in France – 43 years after it was sent

How about this for snail mail: a postcard, which was sent from Nice in France in 1974, has finally made the 1300km journey across the country to its intended address in Lorient, Brittany. However, the addressee is yet to be tracked down.

Postcard sent from Nice 43 years ago finally arrives
Promenade d’Anglais, Nice, Cote d’Azur, France. Photo by: John Harper/Getty

The postcard, which had a photo of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice on the front, was sent 43 years ago and had the following message scribbled on the reverse: ‘Dear Raymond, After several traffic jams, we have finally joined Marie-Louise and Raymond, who we came to have lunch with at their house. We’re leaving Nice tomorrow to go to Menton for a week.’

Speaking about the discovery to French newspaper Ouest France, the postal worker who tried to deliver the card said: ‘I wasn’t paying attention. I’d taken it with me but when I got to the address, I noticed that the name didn’t match the address.’

Postcards arrives in Lorient 43 years after it was posted
Postcard takes 43 years to reach its destination in France. Image by: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty

Perplexed, she attempted to track down the intended recipient, asking locals if they knew a Raymond Côtard. ‘I looked a bit,’ the unnamed postwoman said. ‘I asked the old owner of the bar opposite the address but it didn’t ring any bells for him.’ The local authorities didn’t have a record of the addressee either. ‘I’m going to continue my search,’ beamed the postwoman. ‘If I don’t find anything, I’ll keep it as a souvenir.’ As to the reason why it took so long for the postcard to arrive? No one seems sure.

Postcards were first invented in the 1840s, but it wasn’t until 1861 that they really took off when H L Lipman bought the patent and started selling Lipman’s Postal Cards. The humble postcard then had several boom years in the early 1900s, before novelty and innuendo-heavy cards became popular towards the end of the century. Read a history of the postcard here