At the bottom of Florence Espaldet's garden, the door opens onto two hundred and fifty years of history. "The oldest model I have dates from the time of Napoleon III," says the retiree, when the pram made its appearance. For thirty years now, Florence has been passionate about period park prams and carts, until she developed a unique expertise and created a museum at home in September 2001.
Hull or aerodynamic prams
Every year, she and her husband Pierre tell the story of these pieces to some 900 visitors who travel to Saint-Aubin-de-Scellon to discover the amazing exhibition. "As I was working in publishing, I bought a compilation of photos published in Paris Match to date my prams. We rely a lot on these archive photos, on advertisements, on certain writings as well," she explains.
Writings or testimonies, such as that of a survivor of the bombing of a prison in Caen (Calvados) during the Second World War. As a baby, he owes his survival only to the pram in which he was and has kept the photo, which Florence and Pierre affixed to the wall: it represents the object almost intact among the rubble. "It's all the more incredible that they had the presence of mind to take a picture. At that time, it was not a reflex like today, "enthuses Florence.
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Among his collection, some prams were used to transmit messages or transport contraband during the war through hiding places under the seat. You can also admire prams typical shells of the 1970s, aerodynamic prams designed to hang behind the bikes during the first paid holidays from 1936 or some older pieces that Florence sometimes lends. The owner designates in particular a wicker pram: "Luc Besson's team contacted us for this pram that can be seen in the film Les Aventures Extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec."
The Landau museum is accessible by appointment from April to October but Pierre and Florence are already thinking of keeping their collection alive after them: all the prams and period babies that appear there will be bequeathed to the municipality of Thiberville, so that their history continues to be shared.