How to use the French Sets Pages

The French Sugar Packets pages on display my collection of sugar packets from French sets. Very few of these have been picked up by me in French cafés though a few have been bought in supermarkets. The vast majority have come from other collectors or from the stock of the UK Sucrologists Club.

I created the database mainly for my own benefit as a way of knowing what I have in my collection and being able to find out relatively easily if I actually have a packet I may have found or being given. Sometimes this is not an easy process and sometimes I have not been able to identify the packet from the information I know.

I have been greatly helped by various other websites in identifying the packets and sets and by a copy of the French catalogue passed on to me from another collector.

The pages rely on two databases which are actually maintained as spreadsheets on my computer and then copied as plain text files to the website.

The first database is a list of French sets. Most of these sets are identified using the category and page number from the French Catologue but for each I have also created a unique set code similar to the ones used for UK sets in the SUGARCAT database I created for the UKSC website. The set database includes a description, notes, size of the set, type of packet, manufacturer and an example. Where I have packets myself I have often clipped an image of a packet from other databases.

The second database is a list of French packets. These are easily cross referenced to the set so that all the packets from a particular set, together with some information about a set, can be displayed at the same time. If I have a packet there will be one or two images to display (two for sachets, sticks, flat sticks etc but only one for lump wrappers) some detail about the packet, possibly how I acquired it, the category etc.

The French Sets page when first opened displays no content
If you simply click on the Search for Selected button then the whole list of sets with images will be displayed and that is going to take some time to load.
Therefore, it is possible to use one text field and four drop down menus to filter the list and only display sets which match ALL the criteria.

Sets can be filtered to show particular types of packets (sachets, lump wrappers, sticks, flat sticks and pyramids). Please note that this menu is in English and often they are described in English on the databases but sometimes the French names are used. See the Glossary page for translations.

It is also possible to filter depending upon what I have in my collection - a complete set, an incomplete set, some, or no packets in the set. Some is the opposite of none and therefore includes all complete and incomplete sets.
The third menu is the Category. This list is shown in French but there is a translation in the Glossary. As far as I understand it the categories were devised by the French collectors? club. It can be a useful way of splitting up the list to look for particular sets.
Finally I have enabled the list to be filtered by the manufacturer. The usefulness of this list depends particularly on the fact that I have typed up all the information for each set properly. Some manufacturers have changed their names over the years and it may be necessary to search each variation in some instances. In find this option particularly useful when faced with some more recent sets which are difficult to distinguish or describe except by who made them.
In addition to the drop down menus sets can be selected based on a text field. When text is entered there are four fields on the database that are searched and a match in any part of any of them will mean the set is selected. The fields are title, notes, category reference and set code.

The title should be fairly obvious but bear in mind that on this website I have stripped out all French accents. Sometimes for my own benefit I have translated set titles in the notes page. So for example searching for animal will show a couple of sets but entering animau selects a lot more and it is sufficient to enter part of a word rather than the full name (animaux).
The category reference is from the French catalogue where I know it. Of course all sets from a category can be found by using the drop down menu. But you could also find category A sets by searching for the text A-, except that this probably won?t return all the sets, in particular many for which I have no examples.
However, this become more useful when looking for particular groups of packets. For example all the variations of Les oiseaux des Iles which are A-9 but should be searched for as A-09. At the time of writing H is the only category for which the number needs to be 3 digits, such as H-019.
Finally you can use the set code which is probably much more useful for me than anyone else. To use it you need to know how the code is devised which is complicated by the fact that I started with one method and switched to another when I got to understand more about the French sets. This is explained below. One possible way you might use this to search for sets is the fact that the first four digits is the year in which the set was released, or at least when it was thought to have been released. So 2011 would return all sets from 2011.

Set codes

Set codes are used in the image name for all set packets and for the folder where they are stored. Originally I created set codes in the following format:
YYYY is the year
XX identifies the set as an abbreviation of the name.
N is the variation within the set.

However, I found 2 letters too few for the abbreviation to be helpful and the variation number didn't normally tell me enough. Therefore I switched to a different method but have not been terribly consistent and have only occasionally renamed existing sets.

YYYY is again the year
Xxx is a three digit identified with one capital and two lower case
zzz can be one or more letters of number to distinguish his set from others.
Common in this part is the letters B for sticks (buchettes), S for sachets and M for lumps (Morceaux). n might mean notched, and s straight ended sticks. T might refer to a lump wrapper that has a tab, N and O can refer to older and newer versions of a logo and so on.

Often these letters refer to particular formats of packets and the Glossary pages give a bit more details of these. Some lump wrappers were manufactured with standard Formats identified by the letters A, B, C, D and E. A wrapper might contain 1, 2 or 3 lumps and there can be various markings on the wrapper, in particular a box or bar in white or a dark colour.
An example of several of these is I-25, L?aviation de tous les records produced in 2000 and for whch I chose the three letter code Atr:
2000AtrMB1 M (lumps), B (format), 1 (morceau ? so one lump per packet)
2000AtrMB2a M (lumps), B (format), 2 (morceaux ? plural), a (avec carre, with box)
2000AtrMB2s as above except sans carre, without box
2000AtrMD M (lumps, just one this time), D (format)
2000AtrME M (lump, not sure if one or two), E (format)
2000AtrSL Sachet, Large, meaning 10grams
2000AtrSS Sachet, Small, meaning 5grams

Remember that mostly these wrappers will say whether they contained morceau or morceaux so you can tell if it was one lump or 2/3 lumps from the text, you don?t have to search for folds if you pick up an empty wrapper.
If you click on a set for which I have packets will take you to the French Packets page, it will show some information about the set and also show all the individual packets I have.

The French Packets Page

You can go to this page either from the French Sets list or directly. By default this list will show 50 packets starting at a random place in the packets database.
There are five fields to filter the list and if you have read the text above about the French Sets page it works much the same way. When ?Search for Selected? is clicked a packet must match all the criteria in order to be displayed.
The packet drop down menu allows to select particular types of packet (stick, lump etc)
The added drop down menu was initially the only way to find out recently added packets. I no longer use this menu but I have left it available. Instead each time new packets are added the Additions page is updated and it is possibly from there to show all the packets added on a particular day.
The sets drop down menu shows a complete list of sets which is rather long and may or may not be useful.
The categories menu allows the search to be restricted to particular categories.
The only one of the four that I now find useful is the packet menu.

The final field is the text search and again it is useful to know which fields on the packets database are being searched. The fields are:
set reference code
description ? often but not always giving some of the text on the packet
notes ? other information about the packet
manufacturer name where known
the file name of the main image
the date added in the format DD/MM/YYYY always with leading zeros.

Therefore, if you have a packet with a picture of a Bleuet on the front you might be able to compare it to the ten different ones on the database from different sets by entering the name in the text field and clicking ?Search for Selected?.
Or you could look for all packets added in August 2019 by entering the text 08/2019 or show all the L?aviation de tous les records mentioned above by searching for the text 2000Atr.

Whenever a packet is shown in the list you can click on the image to show more details about it. You can then click on an image again to show it at full size in the browser.
From the packet list or packet detail page you can click on the set name or code to see the details of the set and all packets I have from the set.