French Post Office, a few historical facts

The French Post Office is known as La Poste.

French Post Office - Mailbox
Letter box at the airport

Its origin dates back to 1477, when King Louis XI founded a system of royal postal roads in order to communicate with his vassals.

The mailbox appeared in the early 17th century, when the French state founded a service dedicated to safely deliver official reports and orders to its various administrations.

Those of you who have known France for several decades are certainly familiar with the initials PTT, as La Poste used to be called.

PTT meant Poste, Télégraphe et Téléphone, three public services that merged into one in the 20th century.

In 1991, the PTT were reshuffled in order to form two public services, La Poste and France Telecom.

The advent of the Internet has indeed resulted, as in most countries, in a decrease of letters.

La Poste has not only been affected, but it also had to face a severe competition from private mail delivery companies.

This public service, which since its inception had had the monopoly on mail delivery, is now brought to diversify.

The French Post Office is therefore undergoing profound transformations.

It invested 1 billion Euros in its restructuring and diversification of services.

This includes opening banking services, investing in various international courier companies, modernizing its distribution network and purchasing electric vehicles, more respectful of the environment.

The French Post Office’s re-conversion is a success.

Here is a brief overview of the basic services you’ll need when holidaying in France.

How to send letters from France?

If you enjoy writing letters and holiday postcards, here’s what you need to know so that your prose reaches its final destination.

French Post Office letter box in Paris
Letter box in Paris – someone wrote a cheeky poem on it, sorry ;)

Here is how to find the French Post Office that is the closest to your place of residence.

You can also post your letter in one of the 144.600 mail boxes scattered all over the country.

These mailboxes are easily recognizable as they bear the official colours of the French Post Office, a dark yellow.

Mailboxes have two sections.

One side is for letters to be delivered in the local department.

The other is for the other departments and abroad – it reads Département and Autres Départements – Etranger.

They all bear the daily collection schedules and of course the French Post Office’s blue logo.

Which postage for your letter, postcard or parcel?

1- The French Post Office will increase the price of stamps by an average 3,1 % on January 1st, 2017.

2- The franking of letters and parcels is based, as in most countries, on their weight.

3- The standard weight of a letter or postcard is 20g or less; the price of stamps increases then gradually with the weight.

4- Calculate how much it will cost you for letters and cards that weigh more than 20g.

5- If you send a parcel, you’ll have the choice between Colissimo and Chronopost.

Colissimo guarantee the delivery of your parcel (30kg maxi) within 48 hours or 2 working days.

It is available in all French post offices.

Chronopost has 75 branches and 7500 counters and is present in 120 000 French post offices.

It does express delivery of parcels (30kg maxi) to businesses and individuals.

You’ll find detailed information on the official site for La Poste.

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