Timbre rouge: France ends next-day delivery for letters

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Timbre rouge: France ends next-day delivery for letters
(Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)

La Poste has made some big changes to postal services in 2023, including the end of the famous timbre rouge - here's what changes.


One of France’s most famous items - the red stamp, or timbre rouge which guaranteed next-day delivery across the country, is no more after La Poste ended its sale on January 1st.

La Poste announced that it would stop selling red stamps back in July 2022, citing a large drop in the number of letters mailed and delivered, and the high cost of maintaining universal next-day delivery.


Anyone who wants to post a letter can still do so. Green stamps - which promise delivery in three days for €1.16 for letters up to 20g in weight - are still be available. 


For shipments requiring traceability, La Poste will offer a "Lettre turquoise services plus" promising delivery in two days, with follow-up notifications and flat-rate compensation in case of significant delay. This will cost from €2.95, depending on weight.

Next-day delivery of letters is still be available - but only through a red ‘e-letter scheme’ for a price of €1.49. 

Sent via up to 8pm the day before delivery, the letters will be printed, by the La Poste distribution centre nearest to the recipient and distributed the next day in an envelope bearing a red stamp design. La Poste insists that the confidentiality of all letters will be maintained at all times.

To do so, you can click "Envoyez un courrier en ligne" and then choose between the "Lettre suivie" and "Lettre simple" options for your next-day letter, as shown below.

A screenshot of the La Poste website (credit: The Local)

Users will be able to consult their mail history and use model letters for various administrative requirements, while help will be available at post offices for those who need it.

Official letters

If you need to send letters for official purposes - such as cancelling a gas or electricity contract or sending legal letters - you will usually need to send it by lettre recommandée, or tracked letter.

But did you know that you can also send a lettre recommandée online? La Poste offers an online service which not only sends your letter via a tracked service, it also gives you a model for what to write.

Official letters usually require rather formal French, but the La Poste lettre recommendée section gives you several models for common types of letters, so you can just fill in the relevant details like names, dates, places etc.

You can find the service HERE.


If you're sending parcels internationally, you need to be aware of the rules on customs labels, charges and taxes for destinations outside the EU.

Full details HERE.


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