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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

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France

159 Articles

A. Camoin & Cie

This deck was inherited from ancestors, it has has a family history surrounding it. Details of the lives of previous owners make it all so fascinating.

A. Camoin & Cie

Bone Playing Cards

My late mother found these miniature cards in a skip around 50 years ago.

Bone Playing Cards

La Sibylle des Salons

La Sibylle des Salons facsimile of 19th century deck published by J M Simon, 1979.

La Sibylle des Salons

Eurotrotter

Eurotrotter by La Ducale, c.1980s.

Eurotrotter

Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien

‘Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien’ family card game by Dondorf.

Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien

El Gato con Botas

Puss in Boots card game manufactured by H. Fournier, 1981.

El Gato con Botas

Bass & Bass Jeu des Familles

Bass & Bass ‘Jeu des Familles’ made by Franz-Josef Holler, Münich, 1989.

Bass & Bass Jeu des Familles

Gambling and Vice in the Middle Ages

Gambling and Vice in the Hours of Charles V: card-playing in the local tavern

Gambling and Vice in the Middle Ages

Jeu de Quaternes ‘Rizá’

Jeu de Quaternes ‘Rizá’

Jeu de Quaternes ‘Rizá’

“Deck with French suits”

A facsimile of an early 19th century French-suited deck from the collection of F.X. Schmid.

“Deck with French suits”

Le Destin Antique

Le Jeu du Destin Antique, originally published by Grimaud in XIX c., republished many times since...

Le Destin Antique

Eroticartes

Eroticartes with drawings by Pino Zac, 1983.

Eroticartes

La Belle au bois dormant

Sleeping Beauty card game published in France, c.1980s.

La Belle au bois dormant

Benedicte Morand-Bail

Benedicte Morand-Bail’s striking and colourful abstract poker deck with French named courts

Benedicte Morand-Bail

Bretagne

Bretagne (Brittany) playing cards, Grimaud, c.1970.

Bretagne

Jeu “Gerente”

Jeu “Gerente” - published by Moncar in 1983 in the “Cartes de Fantasie” series.

Jeu “Gerente”

French Revolution

Bicentenaire de la Révolution Française 1789–1989 created by Christian Offroy.

French Revolution

Jeu du Moulin

Jeu du Moulin by Watilliaux, Paris.

Jeu du Moulin

Playtex

Playtex - le jeu de la beauté et du destin, Grimaud, 1971.

Playtex

Jeu de Memoire

Jeu de Memoire card game promoting Véritable Chaumes cheese from the village of St Antoines in south west France.

Jeu de Memoire

Le Jeu de la Guerre

Facsimile of “Le Jeu de la Guerre” designed by Gilles de la Boissière in 1698.

Le Jeu de la Guerre

La Mariée du Mardi-Gras

La Mariée du Mardi-Gras, published by Jeux et Jouets Français. Paris, early 1900s.

La Mariée du Mardi-Gras

Parisian style Spanish deck by Grimaud

Parisian style Spanish deck by Grimaud for export to Uruguay.

Parisian style Spanish deck by Grimaud

Jeu des 7 Familles

Jeu des 7 Familles © K.F.S. Opera Mundi c.1960.

Jeu des 7 Familles

Chocolat du Planteur

Chocolat du Planteur cards (reproduction) by French artist Louis Bourgeois-Borgex, c.1900.

Chocolat du Planteur

Les Géants d’un Mythe

Les Géants d'un Mythe created by François Poulain and manufactured by Grimaud, 1983.

Les Géants d’un Mythe

Atouts de la Vie

“Atouts de la Vie” wartime card game created by Madame Lucien Willemetz, c.1940.

Atouts de la Vie

Prisoners of War

Hand-made playing cards by French prisoners of war in Porchester Castle, Hampshire, c.1796.

Prisoners of War

64: The descendants of the French regional patterns: 2

A continuation of the development of the off-spring of the Paris patterns and a few examples of how the French regional figures have inspired modern designers.

64: The descendants of the French regional patterns: 2

63: The descendants of the French regional patterns: 1

A great many regional patterns were exported from France and subsequently copied elsewhere. Some of them became local standards in their own right.

63: The descendants of the French regional patterns: 1

62: French regional patterns: the queens and jacks

Continuing our look at the figures from the regional patterns of France.

62: French regional patterns: the queens and jacks

Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne

Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne

Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne

Amorous Translucent Playing Cards

Amorous Translucent Playing Cards, French, c.1850.

Amorous Translucent Playing Cards

Jeu Grotesque

Jeu Grotesque was first published in France c.1800.

Jeu Grotesque

Film Stars

Film Stars from the 1960s with photography by Sam Levin.

Film Stars

Translucent Playing Cards

Translucent Playing Cards, 19th century French from the Biedermeier period

Translucent Playing Cards

Boulogne-sur-Mer Chamber of Commerce

Boulogne-sur-Mer Chamber of Commerce & Industry playing cards illustrated by James Hodges, c.1974.

Boulogne-sur-Mer Chamber of Commerce

Pedro Varangot, 1786

Archaic Navarra pattern produced for the Pamplona General Hospital Monopoly by Pedro Varangot in 1786.

Pedro Varangot, 1786

Tô Tôm №1204

Tô Tôm is played with a 120-card Chinese-style deck.

Tô Tôm №1204

Jeu de la Géographie

“Jeu de Géographie” educational playing cards etched by Stefano Della Bella (1610-1664) and published by Henry le Gras, c.1644.

Jeu de la Géographie

Rois de France

Cartes des Rois de France (1644) facsimile edition by Edizioni del Solleone, 1986.

Rois de France

Alcatel

Alcatel playing cards published by Éditions Dusserre, c.1970s

Alcatel

Jeu des Quatre Saisons de l’An II

“Jeu des Quatre Saisons de l’An II” facsimile of French Revolution deck originally published by J. B. Debeine (Reims) 1793.

Jeu des Quatre Saisons de l’An II

Jeu des Drapeaux c.1816

“Jeu des Drapeaux” commemorating Napoleon’s greatest battles, c.1816.

Jeu des Drapeaux c.1816

Provinces de France

Jeu des Provinces de France published by Éditions Dusserre, 1979.

Provinces de France

Le Grand Tarot Belline

“Le Grand Tarot Belline” after drawings by Edmond Billaudot (1829-1881).

Le Grand Tarot Belline

Dames de France

“Dames de France” published by J-M Simon based on originals by Armand Gustave Houbigant, Paris, c.1817

Dames de France

Butagaz

“Butagaz” playing cards for the French gas company, c.1976

Butagaz

Velux

Velux - la fenêtre de toit de qualité, c.1990.

Velux