Saturday March 1st, 2014, regional newspaper Ouest-France informed readers of the 69th philatelic congress of the Center-West region of French Philatelic Associations' Federation, in La Roche-sur-Yon.
They interviewed Michel Audureau, vice-president of the Amicale philatélique yonnaise, host of the congress. He found an interesting piece of knowledge to attract readers and visitors: the association issued a personalised stamp collector on the host city, while La Roche-sur-Yon never was depicted on a French stamp.
One of the few préfectures of France in that case. A préfecture being the town where you can find the prefect, representent of the State in the département.
A nice competition for a philatelic magazine: find these unstamped préfectures. On March 2014 I found Mende and Aurillac in the south side of the Massif Central, not densely inhabited. On the western side of the same mountain range, the three of Limousin got their stamps.
Why have La Roche-sur-Yon never got his stamp?
Mr. Audureau thought that the city lacks help from important politicians when the association sent the idea to La Poste... A good lobbying begins with powerful help. It's like a lottery: La Roche stamp missed the bicentenary of the préfecture status where Luçon, same département of Vendée, got one for its cathedral... because of the end of the restauration of irs arrow... Furthermore, the government was then on the left aisle like La Roche's mayor, but not Luçon's.
But, as Mr. Audureau weighted, the role of Napoléon Bonaparte on the founding of the city would be a very good sale argument. Yes, La Poste know that: bicentenary of legislative creation, Napoleonic wars toy soldiers... But never the autocratic power of a unlimited war leader until an Emperor sacrificed his own second main city and that the European powers found a kingdom very far away in the South Atlantic Ocean. Only if another country asks us like the Czech Republic.
Finally, to put Vendée on stamps of France... is to wake the memoirs of the Vendée Wars, during the French Revolution. In 2013 the conquest of Auvergne and Languedoc by the Kings of France were stamped (through a holy crusade concerning Languedoc...). Not sure many Vendéeans are ready to accept to see celebrated a period that remind them the French revolutionary actions were inforced by force in their area, including the power imposing a new préfecture to be sure of the loyalty of its inhabitants.
To compensate, La Roche-sur-Yon collectors can still turn to the minisheet honiring illustraror Benjamin Rabier, born 1864 in La Roche-sur-Yon, issued June 14th 2014 thank to the Amicale philatélique yonnaise.