Second step after the first day of issue of the 50 years of space exploration stamp of France :
For once, I remembered to use all the possibilities offered during the first day of issue in France (or "anticipated sellings" in traditional vocabulary) :
* the stamp is sold, a day or two before the others post offices ;
* cancellation of the stamp on mail or on souvenirs with a special illustrated datestamp (here spatial telescope CoRoT) ;
* signature by the author, here David Ducros, illustrator of the CNES (the French spatial center), and you can briefly talk with him and learn how he became involve in the creation of his first stamp.
Generally, these first day issues take place in cities connected to the stamp and are organized by a local philatelic association. It must find a place and earn money by selling its own souvenirs and first day covers, concurrently with those of La Poste. A member of the association can exhibit his collection.
In some cases like this stamp, an institution can be the organisator because of special interest and because it has got the local : here the CNES offices in Les Halles area, right in the center of Paris.
You can obtain the first day cancellation until eight weeks after the issue by sending your enveloppes and souvenirs (with means of return for those last ones) to the Philatelic Cancellation Office :
Bureau des oblitérations philatéliques
61 rue de Douai
75436 PARIS CEDEX 09.
Thank you to a New Yorker reader who told me she was curious on how first day of issue takes place in France.