Parcel Deliveries in France

James’s plight over getting Cathrine’s presents delivered in time begs me to ask about other’s experiences of delivery of packages en France.

I get the impression that the odds of anything turning up within a reasonable delivery window in France are either extremely unlikely or so expensive as to be not worth the bother. In turn I query how this has a knock-on effect on the internet / mail-order market and in turn the prices in shops.

When we first took possession of the house in France I had arranged for the internet to be connected. On arrival I found a letter telling me to go to a florist specialising in flower arrangements for funerals in a town some 25kms away in order to collect my router box. I thought this a bit odd but having checked the dictionary my translation was indeed correct. On my 3rd attempt to collect the box the florist was actually open at the times stated on the door and I managed to collect my “neufbox”. After this experience I pretty much gave up on bothering to do anything by mail / internet – although I would accept that this is in part motivated by the fact that since it is a holiday home I leave less to chance since if a package doesn’t arrive on time it may be some weeks before I am back to collect it (by which time it may have been returned).

By contrast the experience in the UK is entirely different. We recently bought an electrical item from Amazon. When it arrived we realised it was defective. We went online and filled in the ‘returned items’ form online. This was at 8pm on a Sunday evening. By 11am the next day a courier turned up at my office to collect the item (we stipulated my office for ease). When we arrived home at 7pm on the Monday the replacement had been delivered and left with our neighbours.

There are similar excellent delivery options: one can buy a large item (e.g. a sofa or a bookcase) on ebay. One then posts a delivery requirement with a couple of firms (Shipley) and various delivery companies bid to offer you the lowest price to deliver the item. What they are doing is filling up an empty van coming back from (e.g.) London to Norfolk – they may as well pick up your bookshelf and deliver it for an extra £30 if it is not too far out of the way. If they pick up numerous items then they are in clover.

Essentially if one buys something online in the UK you pretty much expect it to be delivered within 2 days, if not delivered within 5 you’d be on the ‘phone complaining. Such is the ease with which one can get stuff delivered I virtually do no shopping in real shops, but only virtually shop online (virtually no shopping in shops – geddit ?). I think the opposite pertains in France.

I was recently bowled over in my local Briconautes when I saw an identical air conditioning unit to the one I have at home in England on sale for 630E. It was on sale in B & Q for £200 when I bought it (although I had bought it on ebay and done the courier thing for more like £130 in total). I was left wondering why anyone would pay these sorts of prices. Surely the thing could be obtained vastly more cheaply over the internet ? If it can be sold in B & Q for £200 (imported from Taiwan) surely somebody can sell it in France for much less than 600 odd Euros ? I see the same thing time and time again in shops around France – often electrical items on sale for much more than their true worth.

So my question is this: is my mistrust in the delivery system in France mis-placed ? If not, is it the cause of the mail / internet order market being lower in France and in turn (part of) the cause of the prices in shops being artificially high ?

OMG I hardly know where to begin on having things delivered, done, ordered in France. I'm going to write a blogpost on this in the near future as it's lengthy and I'm still battling and suffering. Will let you know when the blogpost is available. Sometimes reality is much worse than a negative imagination.

You only get sent to the corner if you fail to play nicely!

Thread hi-jacking aka discussion is fine by me!

You can get it easily o the internet - don't buy m

Neem does not work for ticks at all, as I found in the UK. Our vet was also an animal homeopath so reco'd that for fleas and also for keeping lesions sterile. Our Victorian ancestors ground such things as black pepper and coriander seed mixed and ground into a powder to use on dogs which did keep off ticks.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with parcels. Despite the horrendous weather two from different sources arrived yesterday, at least a day earlier than we expected.

I buy my vitamins and stuff like taurine for our cat's food etc from Vitacost in US. Delivery is via DHL and costs 2.99 dollars for up to 3lbs in weight! Go figure as they say....

This week I had a delivery of a memory chip afrom the USA nd DHL added VAT. I think the postal system is more lax. I am trying to get a delivery of a very small antique that cost £50 and the shippers wanted £85 to send it to France!! They say they won't use Royal Mail Signed For to France (all their other branches do) and will only use DHL or UPS. They are therefore going to deliver to my son in the UK and I will have to pick it up next time I am there! Absolutely HOPELESS and uncustomer friendly. We have spent more time talking about it than it took to order and have delivered the item from the USA! Last time I use Mailboxes Andover!

Frontline never works very well anyway. I now use Neem leaf tea (make it from neem leaf powder I buy on internet) - rub it on the cat's fur once a week in Winter and twice a week in Summer. It works by disrupting the fleas' systems so they don't eat or reproduce - doesn't kill them directly but they soon die. Our cats have never had a problem with fleas in the past 2 years since we changed from frontline - and it's safe for humans too! You can even drink it (but I haven't indulged - smells pretty antiseptic!). The smell on the cat goes after a day. Also good for dogs, horses etc I'm told.

Thanks Marianne - will have a look at Interparcel.

Hi again Sally - can we have a profile pic of you please? Thanks!

I have to say I ordered some replacement headlights for my Land Rr from a specialist in the UK and they were delivered by courier in less than 24 hours!

Re ParcelsPlease: we had the same issue with just being quoted £108 for the delivery of a 38kg package from the UK. Did a quick bit of research and have just booked for £34.80 with, they use UPS, parcel will be picked up from our friends place in the UK on Monday and should get to us here in France 3-5 days later. We had used Interparcel once before for a courier express delivery of documents from the UK to our bank in France, worked perfectly and was cheaper than any other couriers.

Well Finn, I just think that I would not like to injest some of the chemicals I use to clean my house, so I will not inflict that on my cat. I have a very high regard for British vets,they are very well trained you know and I am sure they would not insist on this for the hell of it. The "advice to vets" that I read was published by the British Veterinary association. If it is not a problem why get a prescription????

No Finn. The chemical is so dangerous to the cat that it is only prescribed in the UK to people (elderly ladies with 20 cats I suspect) who are likely to have large infestations in the home and cannot be relied upon to deal with it. Combo actually claims to "clear the environment" as well as the cat - TERRIBLE.

To both yes, but Frontline is available prescription free in the UK online market, somebody will tell us for sure... I use Colissimo which is a description of their prices too, but good. I have had same day deliveries by posting in Lalinde at opening time for delivery in Paris. My Amazon glitch was like yours, there are things that are strange but in truth I think I am about 96/97% satisfied with Amazon and closely followed by others.

We've 'lost' a lot of packages over the years. Never found out where though. We did suggest that OH's parents send from a different PO in the UK, but still lots of things never turned up. And we often get packages in a terrible state that you have to collect from the poste. I don't think that we have ever had a box of LEGO delivered without a tear - the reason given by the poste is that it sounds broken !!!! So what, surely that should be my decision to keep or return something.

Although I must say that our postwoman for packets is wonderful and I would never say a bad word about her.

I have sent a few from here that have never made it either.

For my work, all packages are delivered by UPS and I have (touch wood) never had a problem with them. And the last package I sent home I used Parcels Please and it was my same Mr Brown who came and collected it. 2 days later it was safely delivered to my parents. I may just continue with this company for future deliveries to the UK.

If you don't count our name and France, our address only has 2 lines.

In our village of +/-300 houses, probably only 10 have house numbers and 2/3 a street name, the rest are just "lieu dit".

Same here, in fact we are the hamlet given the rest is in ruins, so easy for the post but those forms, mmmmm.

Another of the problems we have had is because our address here in France is only three lines.
Web sites want you to fill in a filed which we simply do not have.
The house does not have a name and we are in a small hamlet, the postie knows us well, but some delivery firms are a nightmare. Added to that there are two parts to our hamlet, with different accesses.

We live in a very rural part of France and have had good broadband since 2005 when we bought the house. Faster than our supply in UK.