If you live in rural France, the prospect of your postman dropping round with your groceries might not be as surreal as it sounds. This is one area of service expansion now being considered by La Poste.
The move comes in response to declining levels of post being sent.
Other proposals include notifying local authorities of potholes in rural roads, taking photos for insurance claims and even checking in on elderly customers.
All of this would place France’s postal service at the very heart of the local community. Almost a quarter of the country’s population live in rural areas, so this could offer many a lifeline.
Increased use of email and other online communication may be at the heart of La Poste’s woes. However, internet usage is lower in France than in many of its neighbours – and certainly the number of people who order goods online is lower than across the Channel in Britain.
Running a business in a rural area can be tricky, particularly in slow economic times, so you sometimes have to be quite flexible to survive – as La Poste has realised.