FRANCE. Fêtes Maritimes Internationales - Brest 2016

Faced with this avalanche of issues created exclusively for philatelic /thematic purposes, I especially like the designs that celebrate some historical or major social event. In addition, if these issues are available from kiosks installed at post offices, and not just from equipment temporarily installed at philatelic events, so much the better. All these qualities can be found in the ATM issue dedicated to the Fêtes Maritimes Internationales - Brest 2016.

This is the second time that Phil@poste has released a vignette dedicated to this major international event, the largest maritime festival in France. In 2012, the earlier issue was put on sale a few days before the festival, to coincide with the inauguration of the new tram (see article, also published in VARIABLE 25).

The Brest International Maritime Festival has been held, every four years since 1992, in the Brest harbour, on the western end of Brittany. In this seventh event, Brest 2016 brought together hundreds of vessels, among them some of the largest sailing ships from around the world. For one week, from July 13th to 19th, visitors could visit the boats and participate in numerous events and shows along the harbour, culminating in the great maritime parade of over 1,000 boats.
The star of 2016 was the Hermione (image below), the replica of the frigate of the Marquis de La Fayette, symbol of French-American friendship, and the subject of another ATM released in 2012 (see article, and VARIABLE 26).

The new ATM issue is another design by Joël Lemaine, author of the vignette issued a month before on the occasion of the Philapostel annual meeting in Saint-Denis-d'Oléron (see article and

The composition features various images related to the festival.
The total production run was 30,000 labels.

On the left, the château de Brest with the event logo. In the centre, in memory of Eric Tabarly the great French navigator, a trimaran or multihull sailboat used in racing. On the right, the decorated stern panel of 'La Recouvrance'. In the top left and lower right corners, two nautical wooden pulleys, a recurrent motif in the work of this artist.

Maximum card below. Strategically located over the harbour, next to the mouth of the Penfeld river, Brest castle now houses the National Maritime Museum.
Right. 'La Recouvrance', symbol of the city of Brest, is a replica built in 1992 of 'L'Iris', a military vessel from the early 1800s.

The special issue for the Fêtes Maritimes was available from July 13th, from most of the kiosks installed at different Brest post offices. In addition, La Poste arranged a booth at the festival site (images), equipped with a IER LISA 2 postal kiosk, which was temporarily moved from the main post office, Brest Siam.
In this temporary post office, visitors could purchase the new vignettes, as well as an interesting collector with 10 self-adhesive stamps dedicated to the Fêtes Maritimes 2016.
During the festival, the two special commemorative postmarks (images below) were only available at this booth, which was only accessible after the payment of 15 EUR, the festival entrance ticket. This situation led to complaints from some collectors.

Joël Lemaine, creator of the designs for the vignette LISA and one of the commemorative postmarks (right image), attended the La Poste booth on various days. The artist exhibited some of his works, including the original watercolour created for the LISA (image below, right). Visitors could purchase the various prints on sale with reproductions of his works.

As a comment on the current situation in French post offices, with various models of postal kiosks in service and using different software, the new design was available at Brest post offices, on July 13th -the first day of issue-, from four different postal kiosks and with up to five different printing varieties (!!!). A totally unprecedented situation in the history of ATM issues, in France.

Main post office - Brest Siam, La Poste booth, and rest of branches
The stamps issued by the IER NABUCCO kiosk, installed at the Brest Bellevue post office, are especially rare. On the 13th, the machine was still running the original NABUCCO software, and only some dozens of stamps were printed before being taken out of service. July 14th was a national holiday, and only the IER LISA 2 postal kiosk, installed at the festival site, was in service. On Friday 15th, the technician sent to Brest to repair the various kiosks, out of service because of the intensive use by collectors, removed the roll of commemorative labels to avoid further problems. Then the following week, La Poste remotely loaded the new software used by NABANCO machines into all IER NABUCCO kiosks installed at the department post offices.

Unfortunately, as can be seen in the images, the characteristics of the issue and the poor print quality of many new IER kiosks hinder the view of the data printed on the stamps issued by these machines. Collectors can expect quick fading and a short conservation of the impression.
Brest Bellevue branch
(New software)
Main post office - Brest Siam
Brest St Marc branch
(Perimeter frame with FRANCE - LA POSTE and Datamatrix code)
Brest Lambezellec branch


With the exception of the machine installed at the La Poste booth in the festival, all the postal kiosks were connected to the postal network, so it was possible to obtain ATMs with all the current texts or face value indicators, depending on the software installed on the kiosk, as well as stamps with only the face value.
The images below correspond to stamps issued by an IER LISA 2 postal kiosk, with some of the most common face value indicators.

Phil@poste had decided that all kiosks using this design would not print stamps with a face value below 0.68 EUR, the current postage rate for domestic economic mail. However, a few kiosks were not modified, perhaps by carelessness, forgetfulness or just ignorance.
Inland economic mail - EC    ECOPLI Inland priority mail (J+2) - LV    LETTRE VERTE
Inland priority mail (J+1)
International priority mail
Inland / Domestic tracked mail - LV    LETTRE SUIVIE Bar code label associated to the left stamp

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This page was created in August 2016
and last updated:  11.09.16 . English edition rewritten by S. Goodman (11.09.2016)