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February 23, 2012 9:37 AM   Subscribe

How does Poste Restante work? Need to send gift to Geneva, Switzerland next month but no fixed address for recipient yet...

Have a small parcel to send from UK to friend just moved to Geneva in Switzerland. Someone suggested using Poste Restante but have no idea on rules, logistics or cost. Is there customs excise to pay? How to label gift? What should recipient bring to collect? What is main Post Office address in Geneva to send to? All advice welcome.
posted by veryape to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
Best answer: Here is the relevant info from Swiss Post.

It looks as though you can specify whichever post office is most convenient for your friend. There should be no difference in cost, customs procedures, or anything else. From your perspective, you are just sending a parcel to your friend at a convenient address for them. Your friend will surely require some form of ID to collect the parcel.
posted by ssg at 10:15 AM on February 23, 2012

Best answer: Arguably the most central and easiest to get to post office in Geneva is the one by the train station. The address would be:

Veryape's friend
Poste restante
1200 Genève
1 Mont-Blanc
posted by Ernest Frawde at 2:07 PM on February 23, 2012

Best answer: Poste Restante is free. Well, free in the sense that you don't have to pay extra to use it--you spend the same amount of money in sending the mail as you would any other address.

You label it all exactly the same as any other mail.

Your friend should take some sort of identification to pick it up, ideally two just in case.

I used Poste Restante for /years/ for mail pickup when I was travelling and without a fixed address, and I have to say, the smaller branches were usually best for it, because that way you wouldn't have to navigate the huge queues and run the risk of stuff being lost. All post offices will do poste restante--anywhere in the world. They don't have to be big branches. Or they did, when I was travelling :)
posted by owlrigh at 2:47 PM on February 23, 2012

the smaller branches were usually best for it, because that way you wouldn't have to navigate the huge queues

Note that the huge queues are a thing of the past. Poste Restante basically fell into redundancy & almost total disuse with the advent of email, so nowadays the only reason people ever use it is for situations like yours - parcels or essential hard copy documents.

As far back as 10 years ago, I had some ID mailed to me Poste Restante at the main post office in Istanbul. Their *entire* collection of Poste Restante articles was held in a single shoebox.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:31 PM on February 23, 2012

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