Frustrations Français or why I hate La Poste

For the regular readers of this blog, you all know that I love living in Paris and am so grateful for this opportunity. Now, despite the rosy picture I paint here there are a few frustrations. The French bureaucracy is legendary and we’ve had a few run-ins but nothing compares to the infuriating French postal service. Here’s a rundown of the situations we’ve faced at La Poste.

1. Scotty has an application that must be mailed in and it’s due in a few days. In the US and the UK this generally isn’t a problem – you have to pay a bit more to get it where it’s going but it usually works out. Scotty gets his paperwork together, slips all eight pieces of paper into an envelope, double checks the US address, and makes his wait to La Poste. Twenty minutes and $75.00 (!!!!!) later the letter is safely on its way. Three days later the package is back at our flat, no refund, no explanation.

2. My dear friend Bethy asks for my address and sends me a Christmas package. How thoughtful! La Poste states that it was delivered on 23 Dec. Nope, it wasn’t. It’s lost in the system. Working on tracking it down.

3. We paid ($55.00) to have our mail forwarded when we moved apartments mainly due to the fact that I was still waiting for my paperwork for my French visa. Despite paying and filling out all the forms, not a single piece of mail has been forwarded and my paperwork was delivered to our old address. The landlord took his time getting it to us and it arrived on Friday. My appointment was on Thursday.

There have been other minor frustrations in dealing with La Poste, other fees, multiple trips to track down mail that’s supposed to be at the office. And at this point, I’m pretty sure La Poste owes us around $125.00 and a Christmas present.

About Rebecca

Hi! After five years in Europe, I'm adjusting to life back in the US. I use this blog to record my adventures, post photos, organize recipes, and post about things that interest me.
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22 Responses to Frustrations Français or why I hate La Poste

  1. xandreverkes says:

    Oh my…. & I thought the South African postal services is useless… I stand corrected!!!! 🙂 Good Luck at keeping your cool!! 🙂 **

    • Rebecca says:

      It does seem to be a bit of a universal problem! Seems people can always talk about the weather and everyone has a bad postal service story – no matter where they’re from! I do have to say though that I’ve never had so many things go wrong in so short a period of time!

  2. travelingmad says:

    GASP!! This sounds awful. Though I have to admit it sounds pretty French. I kinda feel your pain. I too am living in Paris and they are lucky to have the rosy and romantic myth that everyone believes! I wrote a post about it called “French Culture Shock.” Visting is one thing. Living here is a rude awakening!
    Bonne Courage!

    • Rebecca says:

      Ahh, a fellow expat making her way in Paris. It is such a city of contrasts, right? Gorgeous beauty, amazing culture, terrible bureaucracy. Looking forward to following your adventures.

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  4. indiaphare says:

    I’ve just been blogging about our terrible experiences with Libanpost – but yours sounds worse. I can’t believe they can charge that much and fail to get the job done…

  5. realoves says:

    The amazing thing about France is the absolute arrogance about giving a refund when they don’t fulfill their end of the bargain. It doesn’t even enter their consciousness! C’est incroyable!

  6. Melanie says:

    I also sent you a letter and about 3 weeks later and a thought that it was a little rude to not get any aknowledgement, I got your letter back. Luckily I put a return address on it for once! Just to add to your gripe ;o)

    • Rebecca says:

      Of course – another chapter to add to the saga. We’ll not risk the letter with the French post again, I’ll just pick it up when I come visit! 🙂

  7. redjim99 says:


    In our little village we had our post forwarded, we moved about two streets away. The postman came by, Said ahh you’ve moved. Now he just drops everything off at our new house.

    Maybe its just Paris? I sent a package of documents the other way. From the UK to France. When they hadn’t arrived, I called the post office with the tracking number, where a very enthusiastic lady told me the had arrived in Ireland that morning. When I asked if that was normal for French post, she paused and offered me the £3:50 cost of postage back. But could find no trace of the documents.

    I resent them, but it delayed our house by two months!

    Royal Mail, like La Poste, there is a random man who moves things in every sorting office.


  8. pedmar10 says:

    Well just to have an opposite opinion, i am an American in France,with still family in the States, never a problem with the post. My packages and letter always gets there,and no gripes in France.Cheers

  9. ahhh – between you and David Lebovitz, there’s a movie to be made 😉

    • Rebecca says:

      Good idea! Although they did a pretty good job with adapting Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence” – highly recommended viewing. But if you know of anyone who is interested in turning this story into a movie, please send them my way! 🙂

      • seriously -I think we have something to work with here. A Year in Provence is sitting on my coffee table, waiting to be read. I didn’t even know it was a film. Who stars in it?

  10. You probably need to use the French language somewhere in all this – if you don’t they will sulk and punish you!

  11. POP says:

    To painful to even comment.
    Maybe ‘mail service frustration’ is one of God’s little test to see
    how well we are doing “to count it all joy.”

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