I love La Poste, the French post office. There's something about the way they handle the art of mailing that's so much more creative and whimsical than our American equivalent. The color of the French post office is yellow, and all of the mailboxes are painted in this bright, happy color. It makes sense doesn't it? Getting good snail mail (letters, packages, gifts, cards; not bills!) is one of the happiest things I can think of. I dream of having my own yellow "La Poste" mailbox like this one to hang from our pink house, but seeing as how they are government property, these great-looking mailboxes are difficult to find at flea markets and yard sales.
In the 15th arrondissement of Paris, near the metro stations Pasteur or Montparnasse-Bienvenue, there is a post office museum, Le Musée de la Poste. It might sound boring, but I love it! The post office museum has an incredible gift shop boutique that's filled with wonderful greeting cards, stationary, notebooks, wrapping paper, pens, and such that you cannot find anywhere else.
Just to give you an idea of how cool and creative La Poste is, take a look at the latest stamps to be issued in France. The collection is called "bloc chocolat", or Block of Chocolate. Designed to look like a candy bar, this group of stamps pays homage to the role of chocolate in history. Chocolate has been used as a form of currency, an important part of religious worship in ancient cultures, and as a status symbol by the royal French courts. Today, of course, it is a treat enjoyed by kids of all ages. The best part about these stamps? They're scratch and sniff! Yes, they actually smell like chocolate!
You can bet that in the coming weeks, I'll be checking my mailbox daily, hoping for my own snail mail posted with a chocolate stamp!