Taken in the 19th century, these postcards of France were created using the Photochrom process. This technique transforms black-and-white photos into images with vibrant and lifelike colors. The Photochrom was invented in the 1880s by a Swiss printer.
The process began with coating a tablet of lithographic limestone with a light-sensitive emulsion, exposing it to sunlight under a photo negative for several hours. In the next phase, the emulsion would then harden in proportion to the tones of the negative, resulting in a fixed lithographic image on the tablet. Further litho stones would then be prepared for each tint to be used in the final color postcard. Just a single image could require well over a dozen different stones.
As you can imagine, this was a time-consuming and delicate endeavor. Nevertheless, the results were extraordinary - bear in mind that this was created at a time when true color photography was still in its infancy.
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1. East coast at high tide, Mont St. Michel.
2. Notre Dame de Bon Secours and Joan of Arc's monument, Rouen.
3. Entrance to harbor, St. Malo.
5. Capitol Place, Toulouse.
7. Trouville beach.
8. Promenade and Grand Salon, Trouville.
9. Trouville beach.
10. Cable railway, Marseilles.
11. Palace of the Grand Trianon, Versailles.
12. The Latone Basin, Versailles.
13. Grand Trianon, chamber of Empress Josephine, Versailles.
14. Grand Trianon, chamber of Queen Victoria, Versailles.
15. Gallery of Mirrors, Versailles.
16. Cauterets, Pyrenees.
17. The Hôpital Spring, Vichy.
18. The Malavaux near Vichy.
19. The Port Militaire and swing bridge, Brest.
21. The valley of Chamonix from the Aiguille du Floria.
25. The throne room, Fontainebleau Palace.
26. Rue de la Republic, Lyon.
27. Arena, Nîmes.
28. Grand Street, St. Malo.
29. Chateau de Duingt, Annecy.
30. The Pantheon and the Rue Soufflot, Paris.
31. A gallery in the Louvre, Paris.
32. Notre Dame, Paris.
33. Arc de Triomphe, Paris.
34. The Pavilions of the Nations, Exposition Universal, Paris.
35. The Palace Lumineux, Exposition Universal, Paris.
36. La Grande Roue, Paris.
37. Eiffel Tower, Paris.
38. The Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero.
Images: Library of Congress