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Shipping items to US?

Tennessee
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148 posts
17 reviews
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Shipping items to US?

I will admit to loving to shop. I am trying to figure out what will be the best way to ship our Paris purchases back to the States. Paris is at the start of our 3 week adventure and I don't want to have to carry everything along the way.

Thank you!

Paris, France
Destination Expert
for Paris, Loire Valley
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22,548 posts
4 reviews
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1. Re: Shipping items to US?

Shipping packages from France to the US is, in my opinion, very expensive. You can purchase special boxes from the Post which, for a set price, can be stuffed with as as you can place inside.

New Hampshire
Destination Expert
for Paris
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21,261 posts
25 reviews
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2. Re: Shipping items to US?

Search this forum for the box service similar to USPS "flat rate" so you can determine whether it's worth your while.

Once you understand that, you can compare to shipping while shopping. Most shops offer shipping.

HOWEVER, before you consider purchasing anything and shipping it, if you will have web access while in Paris (and it's well worth having), Google or check Amazon. There's very little that's not available online from home for the same cost (or less), with free shipping (if you shop diligently).

There's just no point in buying anything in Paris and shipping it home if you can acquire it for less from home on the web, unless you want to pay a lot extra for bragging rights ("I picked this up in Paris", which you didn't because you shipped it home, and NoBody Cares.)

There are a few exceptions, notably, items actually produced/manufactured in Paris, such as Peugeot products, Revol and Pillivuyt and others porcelain, and so on.

Check the origin of what you're thinking of buying...if it's Made in China or anywhere else, why bother?

Edited: 19 November 2012, 08:28
Ottawa, Canada
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7,728 posts
21 reviews
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3. Re: Shipping items to US?

La Poste, the French postal system, actually has a web page in English for visitors: http://www.laposte.com/Visiting-France

Edited: 19 November 2012, 13:46
Worcester, MA
Destination Expert
for Dordogne
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1,334 posts
62 reviews
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4. Re: Shipping items to US?

I have had things shipped directly from stores in Paris; I am not sure of the rates but they did not seem outrageous. Not all stores have this option, but it is very convenient if they do. For things that are exclusive to France and Paris it can be an option.

jhgrady

Worcester, MA
Destination Expert
for Dordogne
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1,334 posts
62 reviews
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5. Re: Shipping items to US?

I forgot to add: Use a credit card that has good customer protection policies (AMEX, Capital One etc). I have never needed it, but it gives peace of mind

jhg

Vancouver, Canada
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14,474 posts
75 reviews
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6. Re: Shipping items to US?

We have used the Colissimo boxes from La Poste several times. The orices vary according to size but you can fill them up. They are efficient and arrive at their destination in a week. Cost is subjective, but if you need to send things back, this is the way to to it. It comes with its own tape but if you think you need to pack the box to its fullest, you may need to get extra packing tape.

Oregon/Washington
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for Portland, Sunriver
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11,150 posts
97 reviews
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7. Re: Shipping items to US?

I have shipped items home on every trip to France. The Collissimo boxes are so easy to use. I go purchase the box and get the paperwork, then take it back to the hotel/apt and fill it up and then return it. Much easier than hauling everything to the post office, IMO. Anyway, the packages usually arrive within a week to our home on the west coast of the US. One time a box took 10 days.

Paris, France
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25,245 posts
32 reviews
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8. Re: Shipping items to US?

Just about everybody seems happy with the post office boxes, although there is sometimes some concern about how long it takes (always too long when you are impatient and worried).

Sydney, Australia
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11,123 posts
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9. Re: Shipping items to US?

I am also a fan of the Colissimo boxes. They are an easy to organise and the cost is not prohibitive.

Delivery is quick and the boxes arrive in about a week. The record so far has been 4 days!

Yes, they are self adhesive but I would recommend taking or buying packing tape. On my last trip I did not bother with tape and the boxes arrived a little bit worse for wear.

Destination Expert
for Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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3,638 posts
2 reviews
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10. Re: Shipping items to US?

Before there were serious baggage restrictions, we frequently used to buy another piece of luggage to bring home things that i had bought in the course of our month-long stay en-Provence. Now, we just go to the Post Office and buy the Colissimo box that is the right size for the items that will not fit into our bags - it is always the largest size (unfortunately), but hey - we're in France, and there are lots of wonderful things that we can't find at home.

We usually take the Colissimo box to the local Post Office the day before we are going home, and it has never been more a week to ten days until it arrives (and we are in quite a semi-rural area, albeit, on the East Coast of the US)

Like Mez3000, I recommend using packing tape in addition to the adhesive that comes with the boxes, especially, if you are using the larger boxes, or are packing somewhat heavier items.