How to send packages from France to the UK and US (and how long it should take)

The French postal service is key to life for foreigners living in France as you depend on it for everything from sending important documents to receiving gifts from people back home. Here's a look at how to send letters and packages from France to the UK and US... and how long it should to take.

How to send packages from France to the UK and US (and how long it should take)
Chronopost is one of the postal services available under La Poste. Photo: AFP

Questions have been raised over the efficiency of the postal service over the past couple of days as British people living in France who intended to vote in the European elections via postal vote found their ballot paper had either arrived too late or not at all

In a world where you can do most things online, most people do not rely too heavily on the postal service in their home country.

But once you're living in France you'll no doubt find yourself relying on it more and more – not just for getting all of your important documents off to various French administrative bodies – but also to vote and send cards and presents to your family and friends back home. 

The most obvious way to send things is of course through La Poste which handily allows you to check out how much it will cost you to send your letter or package in advance. You can do that here.


Tell us: What is the best delivery method to and from France?Photo: AFP

For example, sending a letter to the UK or US from France at the cheapest rate will cost you €1.29. However if you'd like recorded delivery it will set you back €4.45 and if you'd like to be extra sure that it will get to its destination, you can pay a fairly hefty fee of €12.30 for extra services such as online tracking. 

La Poste says that the estimated ETA for any of the above tariffs is 3-8 days. 

When it comes to sending a “standard parcel” weighing (up to 30kg) to the UK using La Poste you have three options. One, which includes online tracking, costs €12.30, with the ETA for the package arriving at its destination 3-8 days. 

Meanwhile you can use the Chronopost service which is more expensive. The Chrono Classic Europe service will set you back €24.17 and your package will arrive in 2-6 days or you can pay €31.34 to have your package arrive in 1-3 days. 

However the cheapest price available when it comes to sending parcels to the US will require you to dig a little deeper into your pockets. 

Parcels up to 20 kg can be sent on the Colissimo International tariff for €24.35. The other option is to send it on the Chrono Express Monde for €45.25. 

There are also many large couriers such as Fedex and Eurosender that will deliver packages from France internationally. 

With a wealth of different options available, we asked readers of The Local for their recommendations.

Several readers said they had good experiences with parcel couriers DPD and UPS for sending larger items.

American Stephen McRae, who lives in Nice, said: “FedEx is reliable but expensive.” He also recommended allowing 14 working days for delivery of items between the US and France.

But the clear winner was La Poste, with many readers saying they use the French national post service for everything from letter and cards to much larger items.

Dari Brg wrote: “La Poste is good enough even for sending bikes! Just make sure you pay extra for insurance.”

While Josephine Burke Staunton added: “I just use La Poste – all have arrived for the past 3 years.”

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What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer


But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.