In almost every town and village in France, you can find ‘La Poste’, the French post office. The French Post Office also offers a range of public services such as banking (La Banque POSTALE), mobile phones, insurance and access to government services and family allowance.
There is a very easily accessible online service too at: www.laposte.fr
Using the French Postal Service
Stamps can be bought in the Tabac/Newsagents, the Post Office and online via La Poste. It is worth noting you cannot, as yet, buy stamps from a supermarket at the checkout.
There are timbre rouge (first class) or timbre vert (second class) post. Second class post can take up to two days to be delivered, but it is seen as more environmentally friendly as there is no aircraft involved. A lettre prioritaire (rouge) should be delivered in one day.
Post is delivered six days a week in France.
National letter charges currently range from approximately 1,28 euros for a lettre prioritaire to around €10 for a 3kg parcel.
International letter tariffs currently range from approximately €2 euros to €20.
For letters containing valuable contents, it is possible to take out insurance.
Sending letters and parcels to the UK from France
Since January 2021, any post going to the UK requires a customs declaration which you can fill in online prior to going to the post office.
Registered/Recorded Delivery in France
There are two principal types of recorded delivery available in France:
- Recommandé avec accusé de réception – This service gives you an acknowledgement of receipt signed by the recipient, but at an additional cost. This is recommended for use with any official body as proof that you have returned payment or sent important documents or letters.
- Recommandé – A letter only sent gives no such receipt, although the recipient is still required to sign for delivery.
National recorded delivery tariffs range from approximately five euros to fifteen euros. International recorded delivery tariffs range from approximately €6 to €25.
There is also a tracking service for small letters and parcels called Lettre Suivie. With this, you can track progress online. It is slightly cheaper than recorded delivery.
Parcel Delivery in France
The main parcel service is called Colissimo, and the express service is called Chronopost. Parcels can be arranged for collection and delivery online.
Remember, parcels to the UK, US, or other non-EU countries will require a Customs declaration.
There are also private delivery services within France, with Mondial Relay being one of the most widely used. With this service, you can choose a local drop-off and collection point, which could be a supermarket, shop or Tabac. It’s worth checking the opening hours of these drop-off and collection points in rural areas as they are often limited.
Moving House and Postal Redirection
This can be permanent or temporary with a six- or twelve-month option. It is called Reexpedition du courier.
If you are going away for a prolonged period of time or are a second homeowner in France, the Post Office also offers a service to keep your post safe. It is called Garde du Courier, and you can enquire at your local branch.