Nineteen fifty-five and France was looking optimistically to the future. Citroen launched the technically sophisticated and very aesthetically graceful DS19 and Jean Prouvé combined engineering and architecture to create, with Claude Simon, the Restorama (a restaurant and night club) on the Grande Côte at St-Palais. Both come together, and not accidentally I imagine, in this wonderfully colourful postcard.
The Renault Dauphine, another quintessentially French car (often featured in this blog, as I learnt to drive in one) was not launched until early 1956 so this photograph was taken after 1955 and the postmark is a little indistinct, so I’m not sure when it was posted but I think 19 July 1965.
I normally complain about lamp posts bang in the middle of postcards (e.g. Parisians inspect German rear end) and at first it annoyed me that it cut across the Citroen’s rear end, but that lamp post is a piece of art so I’m glad of its inclusion.
The DS – Déesse – The Goddess
The Launch of the Citroen DS at the Paris Motor Show at the Grand Palais on October 6, 1955. Image courtesy of Le Nuancier DS website.
I love Mid Century Modern architecture and the angles in Restorama are just perfect. Jean Prouvé’s contribution is the bit on the right, which is a little at odds with it yet does somehow complement it nicely. Prouvé liked working with sheet metal and cutting holes in it. This is his exhibition centre down the road in Royan.
Image from the French blog Saint Georges de Didonnehier.
His rotunda at the Restorama had a metal roof as well as metal curtain walls. The Citroen had steel panels on a steel frame but a fibreglass roof. People were experimenting.
I’ve scoured Google Maps to try and locate the Restorama but I think it has long gone. Next time I’m passing that way, I’ll go looking.
The postcard itself is quite interesting as it’s printed in Mexichrome. This is a printing process where the dots are very close together so it’s almost as good as an RPP (Real Photo Postcard). A million times better than the card in the Blurry Jag and Merc post.
One of the joys of collecting postcards is not just holding in your hand some old ephemeral thing but also what you learn from researching it. This postcard led me to many sources of fascinating information about Citroens and Jean Prouvé and I’ll share three with you and give you one more image from each.
Saint Georges de Didonnehier
This blog about the history of Saint Georges de Didonnehier area, just south of Royan, had a great post about Prouvé and this fascinating photograph.
Architecture and Postcards
My blog is all about cars in postcards. Archipostalecarte is about buildings in postcards. It has the strap line (translated by Google) – Through modern postcards enjoy architecture, discover it, dream it, browse it. In the post called Dans le panneau de Jean Prouvé (In the panels of Jean Prouvé) we discover that the panels on the rotunda were originally orange!
Finally, the website Le Nuancier DS is packed with facts and images of the Goddess. Here’s just one that caught my eye.