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Will the red French stamps I have at home still work after January 1?

La Poste has announced that it will be discontinuing the priority stamps and replacing them with an ‘e-letter’ service

La Poste has announced that it is discontinuing its red priority stamps on January 1, 2023 Pic: La Poste

Reader Question: Will France’s red stamps bought already continue to work after they are discontinued? 

La Poste has announced that it will be discontinuing its timbre rouge red stamp – which is currently used to send letters requiring delivery the next working day – on January 1, 2023.

The red stamp will be replaced by a digital ‘e-lettre rouge’ costing €1.49 – compared to €1.43 now for a red stamp – which will allow customers to send a document of up to three pages through a website before 20:00, to have it printed and distributed to its recipient the next day. The new price will include the paper and envelope. 

Read more: French post office confirms it is ending its next-day red stamp

La Poste’s Philippe Dorge has said that all products bought before [January 1, 2023] can continue to be used indefinitely in the coming years.

However, if you would prefer to get rid of any red stamps you have and instead use the e-lettre service, there will also be the possibility of exchanging old products for new ones in post offices, he added.

The details of the exchange process will be revealed at a later stage.

For people who have mobility issues and cannot get to a post office, La Poste is considering a solution, Mr Dorge has said. 

The idea is to offer a service through which a La Poste employee visits the person’s home and helps them to carry out the e-letter sending process using a portable digital device. 

However, this service is still only in the early stages of development and no start date has been announced. 

La Poste told us that red stamps used after January 1 will make sure that the letter is distributed within three working days rather than one. 

France’s green stamp (timbre vert) – the most widely used by people sending letters – will remain in place after the red stamp has been discontinued, but deliveries will take three days instead of two. It will continue to cost €1.16 for letters weighing up to 20 grams.

Customers will also be able to use a ‘turquoise services plus’ stamp, “for the most important post which needs to be traceable, such as cheques or small goods.”

Letters carrying these stamps will be delivered within two working days and cost at least €2.95 to send. 

The La Poste spokesperson said that customers would be able to exchange red stamps for green or turquoise stamps after January 1, but that the exchange process is still being developed at this stage. 

Related articles 

New French stamp issued in honour of Pyrenees mountain pass

French post office to launch digital ‘stamps’

Legacy of La Poste: Tracing France’s postal service through the ages

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