top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Children in France have until December 20 to write to Père Noël

Sixty years ago two postal workers’ independent actions sparked the tradition of replies being sent to children who write to Father Christmas. Letters in English are accepted

A photo of a man dressed as Father Christmas reading a letter in a decorated house

Father Christmas is now receiving letters from children in France Pic: Kokulina / Shutterstock

Time to decide who has been naughty or nice: children in France can now write to Father Christmas until December 20, and can even receive a letter back in English, as the tradition enters its 60th year.

Children sending letters addressed to Père Noël can expect to receive a response (although not the presents requested, sadly). Letters will be sent not to Lapland, but to Libourne (Gironde).

Postal workers, assisted by a team of volunteer ‘elves’, will respond to letters in French or in English.

Children can write to the man himself in two ways.

  • A traditional letter in an envelope, addressed to Père Noël. Remember to put your own address on the back in order to receive a response.

  • An email via the animated website, via the link reading ‘Start’, and then ‘Ecrire ma lettre’ (Write my letter).

La Poste has a page with advice on how to write, and advises that children do not simply list gifts, but instead say hello, tell Father Christmas how their year has gone, so he can ‘see if they have been naughty or nice’, and say thank you.

The letters can be addressed to several different places, including: 

  • Monsieur Père Noël, Atelier du 25 Décembre, 250 avenue des Nuages, 1000 Pôle Nord (Cloud Avenue, North Pole)

  • Petit Papa Noël, 1 rue du Ciel étoilé, Pôle Nord (Starry Sky Street, North Pole)

  • Papa Noël, Avenue des Rennes, Laponie (Reindeer Avenue, Lapland)

A letter simply addressed to Père Noël will also arrive when sent within France. No stamp is needed.

Anyone sending a letter from outside of France who wants to receive a letter in response, can send their letter to Père Noël, 33500 Libourne, France.

For children lacking letter-writing inspiration, La Poste has also added some template ideas to get them started.

As well as a letter in response, senders will also receive a colouring-in postcard that they can send to their family and friends if they wish. 

Last year, the service received 1.2 million letters addressed to Père Noël. 

Read also: French cheesemakers bring out an advent calendar with 24 types to try

This is the 60th year of the scheme, which began in 1962. In that year, La Poste received 5,000 letters. In response, children received a letter from the famous paediatrician and psychoanalyst Françoise Dolto, who was the sister of then-Post Minister Jacques Marette. 

That year, it read (in French): “My darling child, your kind letter made me very happy. Here’s a picture of me. You see that your letter did indeed reach me, and it’s very cute. 

“I have received many orders. I do not know if I will be able to bring you what you have asked for. I will try, but I am (very) old and sometimes I get it wrong, please forgive me. 

“Be good, work hard. I am sending you a big hug. Father Christmas.”

The scheme was launched after the minister learned that two postal workers, Odette Ménager in Nueil-sur-Layon (Maine-et-Loire) and Magdeleine Homo in Veules-les-Roses (Seine-Maritime), were responding manually to letters addressed to Père Noël.

Related articles

French home’s huge Christmas decorations attract thousands of visitors

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Visa and residency cards for France*
Featured Help Guide
- Visas and residency cards (cartes de séjour) for France help guide - Understand when visas and residency cards are required to move to France or come for an extended stay - Applies to Britons (post-Brexit) and to all other non-EU/non-EEA/Swiss nationalities - Useful to anyone considering a move to France, whether for work or otherwise, or wanting to spend more than three months at their French second home
Get news, views and information from France