The Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée railway company was founded in 1857. Thankfully, it is better known as the Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée railway, or PLM. It operated primarily in the Southeast of France, with a main line that connected Paris to the French Riviera by way of Dijon, Lyon and Marseille. It became the one most important railway groups in France and remained so until 1938, when the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français was established.
Through the progressive growth of its network, it wasn’t long before PLM expanded its service to include Alpine resorts. The PLM was keen to capitalise on the phenomenal rise in interest for winter sports and the relatively new sport of skiing, In 1930, they commissioned the French artist Maurice Greiffenhagen to create a poster to encourage rail travel to the Alpine region. Greiffenhagen depicted a young, stylish and happy couple on the slopes of an alpine mountain chatting and having fun. Under the heading ‘Go PLM’ the 1930s poster already boasted that the PLM provides access to some 120 railway stations at winter sports destinations throughout “Les Alpes et le Jura”.
Other PLM posters
The PLM railway company used posters like this to advertise rail travel to specific regions that it served. Over the years, dozens of artists have created thousands of different posters advertising destinations across France and the rest of the World. Three of our favorite PLM posters are the classic Art Deco style, 1930 Vichy poster titled ‘An Evening at the Casino’ by H Chauffard. Another would be the ‘La Route Des Alpes‘ poster created by Roger Broders in 1920. Now to be fair, picking just three is like picking your favorite child. You can’t love them equally, can you? So it changes from day to day! Today, my third choice goes to… … … … Henry Reb’s 1933 été hiver Chamonix skiing poster. There I’ve done it!
It goes without saying that PLM’s continual expansion and extensive publicity has played a key role in the economic development of France and helped to shape the country as we know it today. The poster features a stylized mountain landscape with a couple who are taking a quick break from skiing to chat and laugh with each other.