While France is highly socialistic in several of their tendencies (state health insurance, huge amounts of social aide to students/families, subsidies for farmers and subsidies to small businesses) the post office itself is actually a private business who works on profit/revenue. In the States, our USPS is owned and ran by the US Government, which sets caps on the pricing for mail services and all employees are hired by the Govt. While the US has a lack of public services... France has one big difference in this department.
-La Banque Postale
-La Poste Mobile
All of which are services offered within the original post offices that were once owned by the state. Why is this important? The prices are reflected on this privatization.
For example, let's say I want to send a little bit of some French chocolate to my mom.. I buy about 1 kilo worth of candies and chocolates and bundle them nicely into a box. The costs (according to the Colissimo website, their subsidiary) is about 16e. 16e for 2 pounds of stuff.. that is very expensive considering in the United States we have a service which enables us to send about 5 lbs for 10$ international.
Here's the average costs for sending to the United States:
500g or 1lb - 21.38 €
1 kilo or 2lbs - 25 €
2 kilos or 4lbs - 28€
I still haven't sent any gifts back home because of the ridiculous prices.. and example of how privatization is really not a good idea, especially for public services.