Advertisement

Living in France For Members

14 things you can do at a French post office (apart from post letters)

14 things you can do at a French post office (apart from post letters)
A range of services are available at La Poste offices. (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)

La Poste offices around France offer services way above and beyond delivering letters and selling stamps - from keeping an eye on elderly relatives to trying on clothes, verifying your ID or arranging medication deliveries.

Advertisement

Yes, you can post letters and parcels and buy stamps at any La Poste office in France. But you can do so many other things, too.

Buy a letter box

It’s entirely appropriate that you can buy a letter box at a post office. You can even get ones with colourful designs and buy house numbers.

If you are buying a new home or creating a new address (for example splitting one parcel of land into two) then La Poste is also where you apply to have a new address officially created - there's no point having a letter box if nothing gets delivered there.

You can also buy printers, mobile phones, computers, office supplies and gift boxes at larger post offices. And stamps, and envelopes, of course.

Arrange for the delivery person to keep an eye on elderly relatives 

La Poste’s Veiller sur mes parents scheme – which can be organised and paid for from anywhere in the world – allows people to arrange for postal workers to drop in on elderly or vulnerable people up to six times a week, and make sure they’re okay – and keep you informed, too.

Advertisement

The theory being that facteurs (postal staff) on their rounds are out and about anyway and often get to know their customers, frequently having a chat and even a coffee with regulars.

It's forbidden for postal staff to drink alcohol while working, but French posties did historically have a bit of a reputation as drinkers, due to frequently stopping off for a chat and a drink while on their rounds - check out the 2008 film Bienvenue les Ch'tis for a depiction of a particularly 'messy' postal round.

There's even a French phrase, albeit an old-fashioned one, relating to this. Remettre le facteur sur le vélo literally means 'put the postman back on his bike' - it's a phrase that means getting up and starting again after a setback, similar to 'getting back on the horse'. It supposedly comes from a time when postmen frequently fell off their bikes, due to being drunk.

Arrange remote assistance

Home tele-assistance offers a service for elderly people who want to feel safe at home while maintaining their independence. Via a bracelet, people can call for help if they feel unwell or have fallen. You can set up the service at La Poste. 

Homecare services 

You can also set up home-care services, such as meal deliveries, or arrange for a cleaning, DIY and gardening services through La Poste. Delivery personnel can also call at your home to pick up any post you want delivering.

Medicines

The Mes Médicaments Chez Moi scheme allows you to have prescriptions filled and delivered to your home.

ID verification

If you use online services such as online tax declarations you may want to use La Poste's Identité numérique scheme in order to keep your personal data safe online. This is app that offers an extra verification service when anyone signs into an official website claiming to be you. Full details here

Likewise, if you need your ID verifying in person - essentially checking that the person on the ID document is indeed you - La Poste staff can do this for all official purposes.

Write a letter or an email

Everyone who has dealt with bureaucracy in France knows how formal things often have to be, and finding the correct formal phrases can be a challenge for French learners. The La Poste website offers model letters for a range of reasons – such as cancelling insurance services, contesting a fine, quitting your job … even writing a thank you note or a love letter. You’ll find model letters, and letter-writing tips here

Advertisement

Many process in France require the sending of a lettre recommandée (registered letter) - La Poste website new offers an email version of this. You send your email through the form on the La Poste site and it acts the same as a registered letter for official processes such as cancelling a gym membership or closing a utilities account.

Lettre recommandée: How and when to send one

Banking services

Through its La Banque Postale arm, the French post office offers the usual array of banking services for all ages. 

Have your mail forwarded

Obvious, really. If you’re moving house, La Poste will forward any letters to your new address for up to 12 months. Click here for more information.

Buy boxes for moving home

Speaking of moving, you can buy packaging materials and parcel tape at La Poste offices for that big house move. We’d say it helps to make the day go smoothly, but anyone who’s moved house knows that ‘smoothly’ is always relative. Finding the kettle is always a plus…

Advertisement

Take your driving theory exam 

Since 2016 it has been possible – for a €30 fee – to take the French driving theory exam at any hundreds of designated post offices across the country. You can book an exam date up to three months in advance.

Improve the energy efficiency of your home

You read that right. Via its Action Habitat Travaux, La Poste acts as an intermediary to help homeowners arrange the home improvement work they need to improve their property’s energy efficiency, and cut their annual heating bills.

Try on the clothes you’ve bought online

La Poste is trialling a scheme that allows you to try when you pick up your parcel. One participating post office in Paris has a stand-alone changing room – painted canary yellow, of course - so that buyers can check their purchases fit, and return them if necessary, without having to make an additional trip back to the Post Office.

READ ALSO Why post offices in France are opening changing rooms for shoppers

Get a letter from Santa

Every autumn, La Poste and the beardy fellow in the red suit team up for the rush of Christmas lists from children who have been good all year. Letters sent to Santa, with or without a stamp, are forwarded to the correct address and everyone gets a reply from Santa (via his elves, also known as La Poste staff).

You can find the full list of services on the La Poste website.

More

Comments (3)

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

EC Divers 2024/03/10 03:38
Very helpful article! Thanks much.
Iain 2024/03/08 18:21
You can also stand in line for ages waiting to collect some lettre recommandée or a parcel from Amazon while someone with an obscure but bitter grievance argues at length with the employee of La Poste and, when you finally get to the head of the queue, wait while he or she corrects your 5s and 7s on the paper you have written the reference no on.
Pam Gully 2024/03/08 16:12
This article is so useful, thank you! I've lived in France, for several years and wasn't aware of half of these services.

See Also