Sending and receiving packages in France


As an expat, there are inevitably certain items you might want or need from back home, and around the holiday period, many people like to send gift packages.

How easy is it to send and receive packages in France?

Is the public postal system efficient?

Do people tend to prefer using private shipping services? Which ones?

How do the costs of the private shipping services compare?

How long does it take generally to receive packages from abroad in France?

Do you have to pay taxes on items received by mail from abroad?

Are packages delivered right to your doorstep, or do you usually have to go collect them somewhere?

Thank you for sharing your experience,


When I first moved to Belgium from US four years ago,  I could not believe the high prices and not too many options available for online photo books available in Belgium and France. My wife was ordering books from Shutterfly in US every 6 months for our fast growing baby. For every $100 book we paid tax+tax service in the amount of
33 € - 21€ tax plus 12 € service. Never mind I already paid tax in US!  I have not bought anything from US since I moved to France, but I am pretty sure French post office will ask you to pay tax before they hand you the package. Postman in Belgium delivered the package to the door of the appartment building, but I did not have enough cash to give him, so I ended up going to the post office and paid there with credit card.

Hello to send package from France to home use "La Poste". (Yellow and blue logo). their service is pretty neat and delivers at door step. From home to France I guess any local post office will do.

There are few options in almost every category and too many high prices in France. It's easier and cheaper to buy in USA and have it shipped  2nd day air via DHL.

I have always received packages and large envelopes within a reasonable time, but if electronic and other taxable items are shipped, they will hit you hard for the tax, even if it is listed as a gift item and not available in France. Within France the Colissimo service is good - they deliver to the door and the post people have keys to your mailbox (important in certain neighborhoods) - but it is quite costly. Don't even think about shipping out. Order gifts online in the States and have then delivered. Yep. France costs!

When i left America i mailed 2 big boxes of my sentimental treasures....spent $175...both boxes never arrived due to france stealing and claiming they were sent back. But both boxes were tracked and are held somewhere here in France

Our problem in Lyon 2 is theft from flimsy wooden mailboxes which are routinely vandalized or outright broken off the hinges. The perp is always the same guy, he knows he will get away with it so he keeps coming back. One of our neighbors has posted a "Merci pour le vandalisme" note on their devastated box. I have our regular correspondents put notes on envelopes sent to us asking the mail thief to leave that particular envelope where it belongs. Régie doesn't care, syndic doesn't care...

Hi.. the public postal system here is simewhat ok.
But if you are sending a package from france make sure it has insurance. If ever it get lost they will pay fo that just in case.

Some people use private shipping like ups, lbc  but it is more exoensive than the normal post office rates.

It depends the package from. I experienced a frnd of mine send me a small box just containing 2 lip gloss and 1 bottle of exceedrin it cost her 50$  and i got it in 2 weeks time.

I dont experience yet paying taxes. But you could ask them if ever.

Yes they deliver door to door, but if you are not around they will put a paper on your doorstep tbat they passed by already and they will tell you when is the time they will cole back. But tbe 2nd time around and you are not there i think u will get it from their office. But if your building have a gardian ( like in our building we have a gardien they can recieve your packages, then the guardian will sms you or put letter on your mailbox that that you have a package) you can put the gardian  as C/o then put the number of the gardian.

I hope it helps.


My boxes i shipped from cali were both insured 200 each. Never saw a dime.