Following, is a black and white postcard from my collection. It depicts the Pont du (bridge of) Mont Blanc in Geneva, Switzerland. Blanc is French for "white" and refers to the distant snow-covered mountains in the upper left of the picture. Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps, about 15,700+ feet, and can be see from several points around the city of Geneva on a clear day. One can obain excellent views of Mont Blanc and The Alps by climbing to the top of the darker-colored mountain in the foreground which is called Le Saleve, and then, turn around and have spectacular views of Geneva and Lac Leman (Lake Geneva). Mont Blanc is located on the border of France and Italy.
Image (click to enlarge): Vintage view of Pont du Mont Blanc (white mountains in upper left), with forested Ile de Rousseau on right. View looks south toward the old city of Geneva.
The bridge in the postcard crosses the Rhone River as it exits Lake Geneva (on left) and then continues on to France (on the right). The small island with trees in the middle of the river and to the right of the bridge is the Ile (Isle) de Rousseau. It is named for the philosopher, Jean Jacque Rousseau (1712-1778), who was born in Geneva and whose family lived there. Rousseau's "Discourse on the Origins and Basis of Inequality Among Men", published in 1755, is generally believed to have influenced the French Revolution. He dedicated the Discourse to his hometown of Geneva which he considered the most civil state in Europe.
The significance of this postcard is that it reminds me of the time my young family and I lived in Geneva for about two years between 1973 and 1975. I was on a post doctorate program researching diabetes at the University of Geneva. In our first month, my wife and our two young daughters, 4 and 6 years old, joined me in a walk to the edge of the city, and then we took a ride in a cable car to the top of Le Saleve. There was a little bit of snow on top and we threw a few snowballs.
Later in the Spring, the populace of the whole city celebrated Earth Day by abstaining from driving cars. Riding in the electric trams was OK. I rode my bicycle down to the Pont du Mont Blanc; the bridge was covered with bicyclists and pedestrians- and one very lonely taxi. Incidentally, Earth Day is celebrating its 40th anniversary next year, 2010. So the following pictures taken in 1974, were taken on about the 4th annual Earth Day.