As an expat residing in France, there are numerous reasons to visit La Poste. Firstly, it offers a reliable and extensive network for both domestic and international mail and parcel services, facilitating easy communication and package transfer with friends and family back home.

Additionally, you may be surprised to learn that La Poste provides banking and financial services, which could be beneficial for expats looking to manage their finances while living abroad.

French Post Office Boxes

In France, post office boxes, often found at La Poste offices or other public places, typically have a sturdy, rectangular structure, generally painted in yellow, which is the distinctive color of La Poste. These boxes usually feature two slots: one for “local mail” and another for “national and international mail”. The local mail slot is designated for mail that is being sent within the same city or region, facilitating quicker sorting and delivery.

Conversely, the national and international slot is used for mail that is going further afield, either elsewhere in France or to another country. This dual-slot system helps to streamline the sorting process, ensuring that mail is delivered in a timely and efficient manner.

French post office IMG_8892

Send Registered Mail in France

To send registered mail, or a Lettre Recommandée in France, you simply prepare the mail item you’d like to send – either printed or digital format. Next, visit La Poste or begin the process online. At the office, you would fill out a specific form, and provide both the recipient’s and your own details.

Depending upon the level of security and confirmation needed, there are different options for tracking and receiving a receipt upon the mail’s delivery, which can be chosen at this stage. After the form is filled, it is affixed to the parcel or envelope. Subsequently, the mail item is handed over and the postage fees are paid. Once this is done, La Poste takes responsibility for delivering the mail securely to the recipient.

Always keep the receipt until the delivery is confirmed, as it serves as proof of the transaction!


The history of the French Post Office, known as La Poste in France, is a long and storied one, spanning many centuries. Its beginnings can be traced back to the medieval period, during the reign of Louis XI, who established the royal postal service around 1477. This service initially catered to the royal court but gradually expanded to serve the general population.

In the 1600s, the postal network grew significantly, with the establishment of regular postal routes and the introduction of postal relay stations, known as “postes”, across the country. This system facilitated quicker and more efficient mail delivery. During the 18th century, further advancements were made, including the introduction of postage stamps, which made the process of sending mail simpler and more accessible.

The 19th century saw the introduction of innovations like the pneumatic post system in Paris, which used air pressure to propel cylindrical containers through tubes, making the delivery of mail faster within the city. By the early 20th century, La Poste had expanded its services to include parcels and banking services, evolving into a multifaceted institution.

In recent decades, La Poste has embraced digital technologies, offering online services and modernizing its operations to adapt to the changing times. La Poste remains a vital institution in France, providing essential mail, parcel, and financial services to the French population.

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