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Want to know something in particular about La Poste?
Here are a few of the questions often asked, and the answers.
What is the difference between a letter ("lettre") and a parcel ("colis")?
The letter rate is only for sending correspondence or documents and all related media (CD-ROM, etc.) weighing less than or equal to 3 kg. Anything else is considered to be a parcel.
What is a "Lettre Recommandée Electronique" (Electronic Registered Letter)?
A "Lettre Recommandée Electronique" allows you to send a registered letter from your computer 24/7. You need an Internet connection to do this. La Poste does the rest! We print your letter, put it in an envelope, stamp it and deliver it to its final destination. Distribution times are the same as for traditional registered mail (1 or 2 days).
Parcels and Express
What is the "numéro de suivi" (tracking number)?
Thanks to the tracking system your parcel is unique. By referring to the number written on your proof of posting (below the bar code), you can check the shipping status of your parcel at any time. It has 13 characters (1 letter and 12 numbers - e.g.: 8D00432154798).
What is an "avis de passage" (non-delivery notice)?
This is the document that the postman leaves in your letterbox to inform you that he or she has visited your home but was unable to deliver your parcel. On this notice you will find the date and the address of the post office where you (or someone you nominate) may pick up your parcel upon presentation of this document along with a form of ID (passport or ID card).
What should I do if my parcel is listed in the tracking table as having been delivered but I have not received anything?
If you do not receive your parcel even though it is listed in the tracking table on the website as having been delivered, then you should inform the sender and ask them to register a complaint at the post office. An inquiry will be launched and your sender will be notified of its results.
Do 48 hour distribution times (2 working days) include public holidays, Saturdays and Sundays?
Distribution times are calculated in working days (every day of the week except Sundays and public holidays). So Saturday is included in the calculation of distribution times for parcels sent on Saturdays. Sundays and public holidays are not included, however. For example, any parcel sent on Saturday before final reception time will be delivered on the following Tuesday, since Sunday is not a working day.
How long do I have to collect my parcel from the post office?
The parcel will be held at the post office for 2 weeks (starting from the day after the postman attempted to deliver it at home). If by the end of this period neither you nor someone nominated by you has turned up to collect it, the parcel will be returned to its sender.
Where should I drop off my parcel?
In any post office of your choice.
When you drop off your parcel at the counter you will be given a receipt for it. This receipt bears the dated stamp of that post office to prove that your parcel has been handed over.
What products am I not allowed to send?
Several categories of product may not be sent, in particular:
- objects that may leak or soil if the packaging gets broken,
- products or objects containing dangerous materials,
- live animals (except for bees, leeches, silkworms and fruit flies).
Sending perishable goods is also strongly discouraged.
Can I send funds and valuables?
You may send funds and valuables within Metropolitan France (in particular gold, silver, precious metals, tax stamps, money orders, jewellery, etc.) by using Colissimo Recommandé, with a set reimbursement ceiling of your choice (R1: 31 euros, R2: 153 euros, R3: 458 euros).
If sending anything with a value greater than 458 euros then it is imperative to split the items into several registered parcels.
If sending a parcel to a French Overseas Territory or Dependency, you may use the Colissimo Recommandé Outre-Mer up to a value of 458 euros.
For international parcels you may use Colissimo International with a Declared Value option - this has a maximum sum which varies according to country but which has a maximum of 5,000 euros.
Please contact your post office for more information.
Are there any pre-paid packets for sale?
Yes, La Poste offers a simple all-in-one solution with the Colissimo Emballage range of products. The prices include packaging, postage, insurance and tracking of your parcel.
These packets are available in post offices, as well as in certain hypermarkets and supermarkets. The Colissimo Emballage range also exists for sending packets abroad and to France's Overseas Territories and Dependencies, as well as Mayotte, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and the military postal service.
What are the weight and size restrictions?
The dimensions you need to respect are as follows: Length + width + height is less than or equal to 150 cm, with a length less than or equal to 100 cm.
Weight of packets should not exceed:
- 10 kg for packets sent from or to Postal Sectors, as well as for packets sent to French Overseas Territories,
- 30 kg for all other packets.
What are the customs formalities for sending parcels to French Overseas Territories and Dependencies, Europe and the rest of the world?
No customs documents are necessary for the European Union.
For other destinations (Overseas Territories and Dependencies, and outside the European Union) the following documents must be attached:
- commercial or pro forma invoice in duplicate or triplicate,
- customs declaration CN23 or CN22 according to the type of shipment.
For more information about customs formalities please click here.
Why are insurance fees ("taxes d'assurance") or cash-on-delivery ("CRBT") payments not reimbursed following a complaint made after late delivery?
Late delivery is the responsibility of the distribution service and not a bad execution of cash-on-delivery payments or a loss of the parcel. This means that insurance fees and/or cash-on-delivery payments are not reimbursed if the only issue has been late delivery of a tracked parcel.
For example, if you have paid for a 48 hour delivery (2 working days) that we have not honoured, then you have the right to reimbursement of the shipping costs. However, your parcel did reach the recipient properly and the cash-on-delivery payments were received. Consequently, insurance fees and cash-on-delivery payments are not reimbursed.
What is the deadline for dropping off parcels?
The deadline for dropping off parcels is the time when the parcels deposited that day leave the post office to be shipped to their recipients. Parcels dropped off after the time limit will not leave the post office for shipment until the following day. These times are displayed in each post office.
For shipments with delivery guarantees of 48 hours (2 working days), the time starts counting down from the day after the parcel is dropped off.
The sender has assured me that my parcel was shipped 2 days ago, but I have not yet received anything. What can I do?
The following points should be checked:
- has the sender dropped off their parcel before their post office's deadline? Parcels dropped off after the deadline may only be shipped the next day, which might be the reason why you have not received your parcel yet.
- are the 2 days that the sender is referring to working days (Monday to Saturday included)? If this is not the case then it is quite usual for your parcel not having been delivered yet.
For example, any parcel dropped off on Saturday (before the deadline for depositing parcels) may only be delivered to its recipient on the following Tuesday at the earliest, since Sunday is not a working day.
In the event of a real delay, you should make the sender aware of the situation so that they may contact their post office with their receipt to make a complaint.
Who should I contact to make a complaint?
If you are the sender of the parcel, then we invite you to visit your post office where you can make a complaint at the counter.
Complaints will only be accepted upon presentation of a receipt for dropping off the parcel. Inquiries concerning parcels sent to France and Overseas Territories and Dependencies may only be undertaken up to a year from the day following dropping off of the parcel. For international parcels you have 6 months to make a complaint.
What is the "Saturday delivery" option?
The "Saturday delivery" option enables you to choose between Saturday or Monday delivery for mail deposited on Friday. Tick the box for a Saturday delivery.
N.B.: there is a fee for this option, except for "Prêt-à-Expédier" (ready to send) packets.
Is it possible to group several packets together in the same shipment?
Yes, you may group packets together that are being shipped the same day from the same address to the same recipient. In this case:
- stick a label on each packet,
- tick the "groupage tarifaire" (grouped rate) box,
- on the packaging, next to the waybill, write the position of the packet in the group (e.g. for 3 packets: 1/3, 2/3, 3/3).
What are the weight and size restrictions?
Chronopost International accepts letters and packets up to a weight of 30 kg and with maximum dimensions of 150 cm in length by 300 cm unfolded, which is to say L + 2 w + 2 h = 300 cm (L = length, w = width, h = height).
Why have customs blocked my shipment?
Customs may block your shipment, particularly in the event of:
- a missing or incomplete invoice,
- non-payment of customs fees.
Are invoices compulsory?
Pro forma or commercial invoices are compulsory (5 copies of each) for all shipments of goods outside the European Union.
What is the difference between a pro forma invoice and a commercial invoice?
The pro forma invoice is used when the parcel has no commercial value or is not intended for sale. If the parcel is intended for sale then you should use commercial invoices.
How can I track my shipment?
As soon as your Chronopost International shipment is received by the post office you can track it 24/7.
On each page of the www.chronopost.fr French site you will find "Suivi d'envoi" (Tracking) in the top right. You just have to enter your tracking number (13 characters situated underneath the barcode of your waybill) in the field provided for this purpose and click OK. Customers who have ChronoShip may use ChronoTrace to track their shipment in more depth using specific criteria (reference, shipping date, destination, etc.).
You may also track your shipment by telephone on 0 825 801 801 (Indigo Number costing 0.15 euro per minute - service in French) and by pressing 4 on your handset to "Locate one of your shipments".
I have just received a Chronopost non-delivery notice. What should I do?
You should go to the post office indicated on the notice with the necessary documents to retrieve the shipment:
- the non-delivery notice,
- a form of personal or professional ID.
What should I do if my shipment is damaged when it arrives?
Upon delivery any damages or losses should be noted down by the recipient on the delivery notice in precise detail, and dated and signed in the presence of the driver.
It is then up to you to send a written complaint to Chronopost Customer Service, within 21 days following delivery:
- by fax: 0825 801 802,
- to the following address: Service Clients Chronopost International, 14 boulevard des Frères Voisin, 92795 Issy-les-Moulineaux Cedex 09, France.
Get in touch
If you have any questions about La Poste or this site, here’s how to contact us:
44 bd de Vaugirard
75015 Paris – France
The call center for international customer service is available Monday to Friday from 8am to 7pm (note that the service is not available on Saturday). We offer a contact in English and French.