Timbres magazine told the history of French illustrated cancellations last February, because they are disappearing and replaced by cancellations made by moderner machines. They illustrated the mail posted in a precise post office since they were town-chosen : archeology in Lattes, local or national commemorations, etc.
But, to rationalize its activities (and make beneficits while obliged to serve every home in the country), La Poste decided to cancel all mail in the Mail Centers. Disappeared so the place of posting. Here is one of the new type of cancellation :
In May 2007 l'Écho de la timbrologie magazine, a reader sent an illustrated letter with the different new cancellations he found : even the name of the département of cancellation was replaced by a number that doesn't seem to be a zip code.
Concerning the past, the death of French illustrated cancellations closed the large number of illustrations that has existed. Perhaps, more time for collectors to look for the perfect piece for their collection.
For the future, these cancellations are anonymous... Claude Jamet illustrated an article with hope : a new cancellation that was illustrated during a comics festival in Corsica. He rememorated us with the German example of illustrated cancellations, but not well-put. I remember that the majority of cancellations from Canada and the United Kingdom I have saw, were very badly printed.
Let's positive the French case : since the new blue cancellations and the ones I wrote about here, the cancellations are beautifully printed, easily readable for 100% of the mail I have been seeing. Hope that these confidence in these well-done cancellations may inspired the return of illustration soon.