Unlike the Spanish, the Portuguese, the English or even the Dutch, the French are not known for their exploration of the seas and discovery of the world. Christoffer Columbus, Magelhaen,  Thomas Cook, Jan van Riebeek were captains that ventured into the unknown to draw the map of the world as we know it. I haven't been able to come up with a single French captain that will fit in the list of explorers. And I think the French haven't been able to do that too, as there are no special decks known that honor such a man.
The only hint to the existence of a more exploring Frenchman can be found in the "Grands Navigateurs" deck. But the name "La Perouse" (ace of spades) is probably just a footnote in the margins of history, compared to those of Columbus and Magelhaen. 

The deck was printed by B.P. Grimaud and published in 1976 .
The deck was designed by Jean Delpech.

The King and Queen of Spades rule the waves: Neptune and Amphitrite.
The other Kings and Queens represent the major oceans and seas.

The Jacks represent the seamen that have sailed the seas and always will:
the commercial captains, the pirates and those who sail the oceans for their fun.

The French did follow in English and Dutch footsteps in the 17th century, when trading companies arose like the Dutch VOC (United East-Indies Company). There is one deck that commemorates the French Indies Company and shows some of the Company treasures. But although this trading was in fact "official looting" of far away places, it was done by all leading nations in those days.

Some art treasures and a painting depicting the trading by the "Compagnie des Indes".
The deck was printed by Heron and published by Editions Le Dioris from Vannes in 1987.

I don't know if it's because of the romantic idea or if it's because they were good at "unofficial looting" too, but somehow a good number of the French "sea" decks in our collection deal with pirates. The corsaires (originally referring to the inhabitants of the isle of Corse) seem to have build quite a reputation in this field. In French their name is almost the equivalent of pirates. But there's a difference.........


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