Address Management in France

What you ought to know about maintaining your French addresses

Here you find useful information on maintenance, updating, cleansing and enrichment of French customer addresses.

Data Quality Solutions in France

Geographical and postal classification

France is divided into 27 regions and 101 districts known as départements (96 in Europe and 5 overseas). The districts are numbered sequentially in alphabetical order. The first two digits represent the postcode. Deviations have occurred to the sequential numbering due to the renaming and establishment of new districts.

The districts are sub-divided further into 50,800 “appartment / residency groups“, each group containing from 1,800 to 5,000 inhabitants. The number allocated to each group is called the IRIS code.

Street Directories

The most complete and most common street directories in France are Hexavia (for streets and towns) and Hexaposte (for postcodes). Apart from these, one may also use the house number directory Hexaclé, CEDEX (postcodes for major clients) and the directories Cedexa or Hexaligne3 (additional information added to the address such as building, housing estate, storey etc.). Nearly all marketing service providers have access to these files, in order to provide services such as postal verification, cleansing and enrichment.

Data Protection

The French Data Protection Commission CNIL (Commission Nationale Informatique et Liberté) is particularly strict. All list owners must register their address lists there and also indicate the purpose of use. The addressee must be informed at the time of capture about the planned usage of the address. This includes the storage, the transfer as well as the usage (e.g. direct marketing) of the address. He is also given details of the organisation where he can object to the usage. The storage and transfer of certain sensitive information (e.g. credit information) is forbidden by law.

Postal Service

Postal Services in FranceEven after the deregulation of the postal market, La Poste is by far the biggest postal service provider. The former state company delivers post within France to the French colonies, the oversea districts and also to the French oversee territories. With approximately 300,000 employees, La Poste is the biggest employer in the public sector.

Apart from La Poste, more than 20 alternative delivery services exist (e.g. Deutsche Post, TNT, Swiss Post), national (e.g. Adrexxo, IMX) and local (e.g. Procourrier in Montpellier). 

Marketing Associations

Syndicat National de la Communication DirecteThe official French direct marketing association is called SNCD (Syndicat National de la Communication Directe). The FEVAD (Fédération des Entreprises de Vente à Distance) represents the French mail order companies. Both associations are well established and organise events on the various direct marketing themes.

Union Française du Marketing DirectThe main marketing association UFMD (“Union Française du Marketing Direct“), encompasses the interests of SNCD, FEVAD and others, such as the union des annonceurs (association of advertisers), le Cercle du Marketing Direct (direct marketing circle) and France générosités (French Fundraising Association).

Analysis / Test French Addresses

Deutsche Post Adress offers a data quality test on your French addresses.

Check your addresses

Quick Info France

  • Inhabitants: 62.8 million
    (world ranking 21 of 193)
  • Households: 25.7 million
  • Companies: 2.9 million
  • Cities > 100.000 inhabit.: 37
    (Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Nizza, Nantes, Strasbourg …)
  • GDP per capita: 42,747 $
    (world ranking 15)
  • Human Development Index: 
    world ranking 14
  • Mailing Volume: medial
    (75 per head/year)
  • Mail Order Affinity: high
    (62% of the pop., Europe: 52%)


Any questions?Questions on addresses in France?