The post office in France is not just a place to send letters and parcels – it also offers a wide variety of other services.
From checking in on an elderly parent to arranging for a gardener to come, you might be surprised at how the organisation has diversified.
Here we list 12 things you can do there apart from buy stamps.
1. Pass your driving licence theory exam
Since 2016 it has been possible to take the exam (40 multiple-choice questions) at any one of around 600 designated post offices.
It costs €30 and you can book online up to three months in advance.
Dates can be altered until 23:59 the night before. See more at lecode.laposte.fr.
2. Buy packaging materials
These include cardboard tubes, padded envelopes, protective packages for bottles, stickers, labels and bubble wrap.
3. Buy a removals kit
This contains cardboard boxes and parcel tape to help your house move go smoothly.
You can also arrange for post to be forwarded to your new address or even kept at the post office until you collect it.
The La Poste website has useful links to help you change your address on all official administrative websites in one go.
4. Buy a funky new letterbox
Find a variety of designs at this link from third-party sellers, including paint splashes, hearts, hedges and hipsters.
5. Find home help
Get a cleaner, gardener or someone to do the ironing/small DIY jobs via La Poste subsidiary Axeo.
Prices start from €26/hr for a cleaner.
Most services offered by Axeo can be deducted from income tax under the services à la personne box of the tax declaration, resulting in tax benefits of up to half the money paid, depending on your income.
6. Organise delivery of medicines
These come direct from the pharmacy in partnership with Mes Médicaments Chez Moi. Prices start at €5.40.
7. Use the ‘Veiller sur mes parents’ (Watch over my parents) service
You can pay the postman/woman to drop in on elderly relatives in France up to six times a week to ensure everything is all right.
They will pop in for a 10-minute chat and make sure the person does not have any urgent health issues.
They can also find out if they need any shopping or repairs in the house.
If necessary, they will ring for an ambulance, but cannot give medical aid themselves. A short report is left on a secure online space or sent to an app on your mobile.
The service is accessible to people throughout the world although the relative being checked must obviously reside in France.
8. Sign up for téléassistance
A bleeper bracelet or pendant can give the alarm in the case of a fall or sudden illness. In an emergency, the operator alerts the relevant services and as well as designated relatives.
9. Sign up for paying schemes for seniors
These include a meal delivery service with partner organisation Saveurs & Vie.
10. Make use of letter templates
You can use the extensive and completely free selection of model letters on La Poste’s website next time you want to unsubscribe from your insurance, complain, resign, contest a fine, write a thank you card, a note to Santa, convey your condolences, or even compose a love letter.
11. Buy anti-Covid supplies
La Poste’s website lists hand gel and masks for delivery at home.
12. Create your own cards
For fun, make your own greetings cards, postcards and stamps using the YouPix app available online.
Simply upload your photos or other images, arrange them to fit and La Poste will print them out and send them – or you can send them by email.