The French post, La Poste, generally works quickly and efficiently. Letters can be sent economy or priority and destinations within France usually arrive 3-5 days for economy, the next day for priority. In large post offices there are automatic stamp machines, telephone booths, Minitels, photocopiers and internet stations (Cyberposte service). It has a comprehensive English-language website.
La Poste also offers popular banking services.
To write an address:
Line 1: Full name and title of addressee
Line 2: Company name (if business letter)
Line 3: Street number followed by street name
Line 4: Postal code and town or city name
Saint and Sainte may be shortened to "ST" and "STE".
11 Rue du General de Gaulle
A French postcode is a five digit number. The first two numbers indicate the département number and the last three the area. In Paris, the final two digits indicate the arrondissement number (75001, 75002,... 75020). To find a postal code, use La Poste's site.
The letter rate can only be used for documents, correspondence and documentation-related items (CDs, diskettes) under three kilograms in weight. Parcels can be delivered by either service up to 30kg in weight and 2 metre in length, breadth, or height.
Stamps (timbres) come in a variety of price points including books of 12 (carnet) and rolls of 500 stamps from post offices, newsagents (tabacs) and La Poste website.
The blue stamp (timbre bleu) is used to send letters within the EU and to Switzerland. It is possible to send letters of up to 20g with one blue stamp. Prices differ between destinations. Use the postage calculator to estimate.
Post offices (bureau de poste) are located throughout the country and can be found with La Poste's office locater. There are 125,000 street letterboxes across France.
Request a change-of-address form (faire-suivre) to forward mail to the new address. Forwarding costs about €20 for 6 months, and €40 for 1 year.
People with a carte de séjour have eight days to inform the préfecture of a new address. The site, impots.gouv.fr, allows you to register a change of address, sign up for mail-forwarding, and receive a host of other services.
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