Guide to French Poste Office - La Poste

  1. Introduction to La Poste
  2. French Postal Tariffs and Services
  3. Parcel Delivery
  4. Private Parcel Delivery
  5. Parcel Delivery Problems
  6. French Postcodes
  7. La Banque Postale
  8. Complaints Procedure
  9. Glossary of French Postal Terms

2. Postal Tariffs and Services

2.1. Introduction
2.2. National Letter Tariffs
2.3. International Letter Tariffs
2.4. Registered/Recorded Delivery Post
2.5. Redirection Service
2.6. Post Box

2.1. Introduction

Mail is delivered in France six days a week.

The use of the five digit French postcode for national post is imperative.

Stamps are sold in local newsagents and tabacs, as well as in La Poste branch offices. As there are often queues in small post-offices it pays to buy a book (carnet) or roll of stamps.

You can also buy stamps on-line from La Poste.

La Poste also offer you the possibility to print out a stamp etc from your home, which you can do at Courriers-Colis-En-Ligne. There is a very minor reduction in price. You can also send a recorded delivery e-mail with this service.

Pre-paid stamped envelopes are also available, but they are not good value for money.

La Poste also offer a number of collectors and themed stamps, but the stamp used for everyday use is called the Marianne.

The following tariffs are for households. There are separate tariff arrangements for businesses..

2.2. Standard National Letter Tariffs

Letters up to 3kg in weight are accepted for posting by La Poste within France.

There are three standard letter tariffs for national posting, with different delivery times:

  • Verte -The second-class service is Lettre Verte with an indicative distribution period of two days. It will increase to three days in 2023.
  • Prioritaire - Delivery is one day for the Prioritaire first class service. Also known as timbre rouge. It will be replaced by a digital version in 2023.
  • Ecopoli - The Ecopli service is the cheapest, although it is only possible to send letters up to 250g using this service. The delivery time is between 3 and 5 days. The service is more generally used for mass mailings, such as bank statements and bills. This stamp will be abolished in 2023.

From 2023 there will be a new stamp called the lettre turquoise which will be available for important letters requiring traceability, such as sending a check or small goods.

A summary of the charges for each service is given below.

Table: National Letter Tariffs (2022)

Weight Lettre Verte Prioritaire Ecopli
Up to 20g €1.16 €1.43 €1.14
21g to 100 g €2.32 €2.86 €2.28
101g to 250g €4.00 €5.26 €3.92
251g to 500g €6.00 €7.89
500 to 1kg €7.50 €11.44
1kg to 3kg €10.50 €11.44

2.3. Standard International Letter Tariffs

The standard prices for international letters up to 3cm thick, 2kg weight posted from France are shown below.

Table: International Letter Tariffs (2022)

Weight: Price
Up to 20g €1.65
21g to 100g €3.30
101g to 250g €8.00
251g to 500g €12.20
501g to 2kg €21.50

For letters containing valuable contents up to €5,000, it is possible to insure via the service Valeur Déclarée Internationale, using stationery supplied by the post office, with prices starting at €20.90. Generally only available in the EU.

Since January 2021, letters and parcels to the UK (and from the UK) carrying goods require a customs declaration, which you can find at Douane Déclaration CN23. You would be best advised to undertake the process at your local post-office, as the online service is yet to be operational.

2.4. Registered/Recorded Delivery Post

There is a recorded delivery service available for both national and international post.

The use of recorded delivery is widespread in France, where its use is strongly recommended in disputes and in important correspondence with official bodies.

The service comes in two main forms:

i. Recommandé avec accusé de réception - This service gives you an acknowledgement of receipt signed by the recipient, but at an additional cost.

ii. Recommandé - A letter only sent gives no such receipt, although the recipient is still required to sign for delivery.

A letter sent in either manner does have insurance cover and you can buy three levels of cover.

  • R1 gives insurance cover of €16.
  • R2 gives an insurance cover of €153.
  • R3 gives an insurance cover of €458.

Table: National Recorded Delivery Tariffs (2022)

Weight: R1 R2 R3
Up to 20g €4.55 €5.38 €6.62
Up to 50g €5.18 €5.95 €7.14
Up to 100g €5.85 €6.62 €7.76
Up to 250g €7.14 €7.92 €9.16
Up to 500g €8.38 €9.11 €10.25
Up to 1kg €9.63 €10.40 €11.54
Up to 2kg €11.39 €12.16 €13.40
Up to 3kg €12.63 €13.35 €14.59

You need to pay extra if you want a confirmation of delivery slip - an avis de reception. It is €1.15 for a digital slip and €1.20 for a paper slip. Although it can make sending a letter expensive, the use of recorded delivery with a delivery receipt is recommended in correspondence with the statutory authorities, ie, tax, health, social security etc.

For international recorded delivery there are two levels of insurance cover R1 (€45) and R2 (€150).

Table: International Recorded Delivery Tariffs (2022)

Weight: R1 R2
Up to 20g €6.15 €7.15
Up to 100g €7.80 €8.80
Up to 250g €12.50 €13.50
Up to 500g €16.70 €17.70
Up to 2kg €26.00 €27.00

As with national delivery, there is a further charge (€1.40) for a confirmation of delivery slip (avis de reception).

However, as this service relies on the postal service in another country to provide the receipt it cannot be relied upon. In practice, few foreign postal services return the acknowledgement of receipt.

For particularly valuable items you can also pay for additional cover by using a service called Valeur Déclarée.

There is also a tracking service for letters/small parcels, called 'Lettre Suivie', which is a little cheaper than recorded delivery. You can track the progress of delivery on-line with the number given. This service also offers international delivery, although not to all countries. If the letter is not of a high value or importance, then it is probably as useful to use this service for international delivery than recorded delivery.

The price (2022) for national post for this service is from €1.66 (20 g) to €11.00 (3kg) and for international post from €4.15 (20g) to €36.00 (3kg).

2.5. Redirection Service

If you are relocating within or outside of France La Poste offers a postal redirection service. The service is also available for temporary relocation.

The service is called réexpédition du courrier.

The charge for Réexpédition Definitive within France are €38.70 for up to six months and €64.70 up to twelve months. For an international address the charges are €98 and €177 respectively.

For Réexpédition Temporaire there are various rates from €30.00 for up to one month in France, and between €50 and €166 depending on duration up to 12 months to an international address.

If you are going away on a prolonged absence La Poste will also look after your post for you until you return, through their Garde du courrier service. The charge is €26 for up to 2 months retention of post.

All prices 2022.

2.6. Post Box

If you wish to collect your post from the post office you can do so using a service called Poste Restante.

The sender merely needs to write your name on the envelope, followed by the words Poste Restante and the name and postal code of the commune.

If there is more than one post office in the locality, then the name of the post office from which you wish to recover the post should be stated.

The cost is €1.43 for letters and €0.72 for newspapers and journals. For parcels it is €5.30 (2022). This charge is for each item.

The post is only kept for a maximum of three months.

Next: Parcel Delivery in France

Back: Introduction to La Poste

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