La Poste…

14 Aug

La Poste is the french postal system.  There seem to be thousands of postal delivery people in Paris alone, driving their little yellow vans/cars, riding their bikes, or even walking along the street.  The one thing they all have in common is that none of them where anything remotely close to a common uniform.  As far as we can tell there isn’t really a dress code.

But the really odd thing with mail here isn’t so much the workers, but the addresses.  You see our address is the building number, followed by the street name, postal code.  Nothing to odd here you say? Well except that our building is actually three separate buildings, one behind the other (only the first of which is visible from the street).  All three buildings have the same number…  It gets better…

Each building has 5-6 floors, and each floor has 2-3 apartments, so there are somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30-50 apartments, and none of them have numbers….  In Canada, on top of your building number and street name, you’d have your apartment number, but not here.  All 30-50 apartments have the same address, the only difference being the name the package is addressed to.  To top it all off, the postal code here refers to your “arrondissement”, of which there are 20 in Paris (a city of 10 million). So 10 million people have 20 different postal codes, compared to Canada where each city block has a new and unique postal code (a lot of mail must get lost!).

So you’re probably wondering how anyone ever get’s their mail?  Well, most apartment buildings have a concierge.  The concierge has lived there for years and know everyone on a first name basis and they collect all the mail from the carrier and leave it by your door.  So a bit old-fashioned, but it must work, right?  Well except that when your concierge goes on holiday, for say, the entire month of August, and us being renters, and not the owner of the apartment, the fill in concierge has no idea who we are.

It’s been a slow mail month, hopefully our concierge doesn’t have a tragic parachuting accident while on holiday, or we may never get the mail…

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