The Foldex map was invented by an Englishman in the 1930s, but it
was in France that it prospered. In 1935, Mr Rene Costard (a retired musician) established Foldex S.A. with the
English inventor and they persuaded Shell to finance the first maps which were to be distributed through their
network of service stations. These carried a simple red and yellow cover with a white map showing the area
included and covered France in 10 sections (with section 1 including Belgium). Most Foldex maps are undated
(and are actually very hard to date as they were most common in an era when there was little by way of
roadbuilding) but the earliest French ones unusually show the main Routes Nationales in grey, with secondary
roads in red. (The very earliest are dated: I have one example from 1936 when the cover price was 8Frs.) This
pre-war series is also distinguished by a small black & white photo of the region on the rear cover.
Carto Guide Shell Berre maps by Foldex France
Between 1955 and 1975 a important series of maps were created for Shell.
Berre is a town « Etang de Berre » near Marseille at the south of France, where there are any important oil company installations.
The cover drawing of this maps are not the same for each region of France and it changed each 3 or 4 years, at 14 Regions add PARIS and add any special version maps like night road, truck road, ...
The particularity of this cover drawing are any stylized landscapes or Monuments,
Created by any European illustrator like Jean Colin, Nathan,Hamot,Roussel,..., in 60's style.
A part of this type of series :
Shell carto guide French Region 1958/60 Stylized Landscape by Jean Colin Border yellow/red
In this serie to involve in maps a poem or regional text and the regional people drawing.
Shell carto guide French Region 1962/63 Stylized Landscape by Nathan Border yellow/red
Shell carto guide France 1964/65 Stylized Landscape by Nathan Border white/red
Shell carto guide France 1968/70 Stylized Monuments by Alain Cornic
Shell carto guide France 1969/70 Stylized Monuments by D. Hamot
Shell carto guide France 1971 Drawing by Roussel
This maps aren't rare or expensive, but is very difficult to found all versions in good condition.
With this maps exit also any accessory : Plastic Pocket, pen, ruler,..
and also a cloth maps of France like a napkin.
Any similar series exist also in any European Country by others maps maker :
Carto guida Shell in Italy
Shell - Weigweiser in Germany
in all European country
Recta Foldex did a great number of maps creation.
Directly for driver in book and geographer shops,
but also to the company for its publicity (Oil company, Bank, Insurance, Automobile maker,...)
like Shell, Total, Hutchinson, ...,
A specialty of Foldex France maps are the thematical maps, for examples road of wines, road of cheese, are particularly estimate.
The Foldex system was also used by others mark and in others country
The company itself was sold to the large Swiss
Kummerly & Frey
, but the new name is
and remains in use at
Les cartes Shell en Europe