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The French Postal Service

Message in a bottle on a French beach

French postal service: La Poste is the national postal service of France. You’ll see their distinctive yellow post boxes (around 125,000 in France) and delivery vans everywhere you go. In fact the sheer size of their presence may account for why La Poste is one of the most subsidised postal services in the world.

French post codes consist of a five digit number. The first two numbers denote the département number (eg 62 for Pas de Calais) and the last three define the area.

In Paris, the last two numbers specify the arrondissement (district) number. If you want to find a post code on line for a French address you can use this helpful English language website www.france-codepostal.fr/en/france/

Not all post offices open at the same times. In rural areas for instance, post offices may be very small and open only one or two days or even one or two hours a week.

A high number of bank accounts are held at the post office as the services can be cheaper than the banks.

Stamps (timbres) are available at the post office, and tobacconist (tabac). Postage costs vary according to the weight of the mail and its destination. You can go online to find more details at but we always go into the post office to make sure we get it right and to catch up with the local gossip with the lovely lady who works there 4 hours a week!

If you’re sending a letter by airmail write “Par Avion” on the face of the envelop or ask the post office staff for a sticker, and always write your address on the back in case the letter needs to be returned.

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