There's a scratch-and-sniff stamp ahead of the Paris Olympics. What does it smell like?

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SALT LAKE CITY — Getting mail from France? Be sure to check out the stamp.

France's La Poste has issued a unique scratch-and-sniff stamp as part of an effort to highlight the nation's heritage ahead of the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.

"La baguette de pain francaise" is featured on the 1.96 euro ($2.12 in U.S. dollars) stamp for letters headed out of France, with a rendering of the ubiquitous long loaf of bread tied up in a blue, white and red tricolor striped ribbon representing the colors of the French flag.

And yes, it's designed to emit "bakery fragrances."

A news release on the stamp, issued on May 16, the feast day of the patron saint of bakers, Saint Honoré, raves about the French bread.

"The baguette, bread of our daily life, symbol of our gastronomy, jewel of our culture," it begins, describing the fresh-baked loaves that 12 million French customers buy daily from their local bakeries as "the promise of a delectable sensory experience" that "seduces with its golden crust" and "transcends borders to become an international icon."

Not surprisingly, the stamp is attracting a lot more attention than the more traditional postage tied to the upcoming Olympics, featuring the bright red Paris 2024 mascots that resemble revolutionary-era caps and well-known Parisian landmarks like the Eiffel Tower.

Stories about the stamps includes suggestions that the country's postal services stands to "raise quite a bit of dough" and an acknowledgment of the country's joie de vivre by saying, "Leave it to the French to find a way to pack the aroma of a freshly baked baguette into a postage stamp."

The BBC reported the fragrance comes from microcapsules in the ink used on the stamps, quoting a printer who told French media that "the difficulty for us is to apply this ink without breaking the capsules, so that the smell can then be released by the customer rubbing on the stamp."

When Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Games, the U.S. Post Office issued stamps featuring winter sports. There's no word yet on what type of stamps could be coming if the International Olympic Committee awards the 2034 Winter Games to Utah in a vote scheduled to be held in Paris just before the start of the 2024 Olympics.

Maybe stamp designers could consider reviving one of the most popular Olympic pins in 2002. Scratch-and-sniff green Jello stamps, anyone?

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Utah Olympics bidWorldOlympicsUtahU.S.
Lisa Riley Roche


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