32mo (92 x 58 mm). Collation: 1-68 (nested quires).  pages. Folding woodcut maps of France écclesiastique at front and Environs de Paris at back, printed on one sheet enclosing text. Contemporary gold-blocked green morocco, reddish-gold Brokatpapier pastedown endpapers, gilt edges (very minor wear to corners). Provenance: Carlos de Poortere, bookplate. ***
A very good copy of a classic Paris almanac. The Etrennes mignonnes may have been the most long-running of all Parisian almanacs, and one of the most stable in format and contents. With occasional variations in the title, this almanac appeared yearly from 1724 to 1848, spanning five generations and weathering several very different governments and social regimes. After 1750 the engraved title was dispensed with, and the quality of printing may have declined somewhat, but the contents remained consistently serious, containing historical, geopolitical, and political information about various French regions and other countries, charts of royalty and nobility, lists of officials of various branches of government, densely printed summaries of news from the previous year, descriptions of recent scientific inventions, guides to measurements, tariffs, lists of trade fairs, and so on.
This issue contains a particularly long section on Paris and its architecture, monuments and sites. Not all are approved of: the Bastille, for example, is decried as a barbaric and unsightly horror (”cette masse informe choque la vue, et deshonore tout ce quartier”). Shortly before the events of July 1789, an official decision would be recahed to tear down the fortress - but the people got there first ...
Grand-Carteret 107. On the contents and economics of the Etrennes mignonnes and their imitators, see V. Sarrazin, “L’exemple des Etrennes parisiennes: succès, évolution et mutation d'un genre d'almanachs du XVIIIe au XIXe siècle,” in Lüsebrink, ed., Les lectures du peuple en Europe et dans les Amériques du XVIIe au XXe siècle (2003): 39-48. Item #2689v