Luggage / Cycle Shipment within Europe

On this page:


We can ship luggage and / or bikes within what used to be called “Western Europe” (except for the U.K. and Ireland) regardless of whether you are travelling on one of our organized trips.

  • We can only ship on the continent, and to (but not from) London St.-Pancras station. 
  • We do not offer shipment between Europe and other continents, from any place in the British Isles or Ireland, nor to the British Isles or Ireland (other than to London).



Discussion

This is an expensive service.  Parcel express service always costs more than human transport, but that surprises people until they stop and think about it.  For any given trip, it costs twice as much to ship an 80 kg. package than to buy a train ticket for an 80 kg. person.  This because packages do not have legs.  So they cannot walk themselves on or off the train:  they have to be carried.  And the person who carries them has to be paid.

Few people who ask about this service solely to improve the comfort of their journeys (and nobody whose only goal is to escape an airline’s baggage charge), actually wind up using it.  If you have a lot of baggage, travel by train, and carry it on board.  Fun?  No.  But cheap?  Yes.  We spend a lot of time gently letting down people who hope that they can bring us their suitcase on the way to the airport, have us move it across Europe as fast as they can fly, handle customs declarations & shipping manifests, and deliver it to their hotel room before they get there, all for 25€.  We can’t.  Shipments are rarely much under 100€, and international shipments can be quite a bit more.

You may be interested in our service if you are shipping more than one piece (single-piece shipment can be economical within France, or between France and Switzerland or Germany), and you additionally fall into at least one of these 4 catagories.  Otherwise, there is really no point in enquiring further: 

  1. You are making multiple stops, and only need the bag at the end.  So, for instance, you have 2 days in Amsterdam, 3 days in Frankfurt, a day in Prague, and are winding up in Vienna.  You have 3 flights and two train connections, and really don't want to haul your bag(s) thru all of that.  Another example:  you are hiking across France, and want your bag at the beginning, at the end, and perhaps once in the middle.  But not at every one of your 14 planned stops.
  2. You are comfortably well-off, travel first class, and don’t mind hiring people to make your trip a pleasant one.
  3. You are taking a trip which involves a biking segment (but is not all by bike).  You thus need to acquire or get rid of bikes or luggage mid-trip.
  4. You have a physical infirmity, very heavy luggage, or both, and so have little choice. 


Parameters that influence shipping cost include:

  • Urgency.
    The longer you give us to ship the piece, the lower the cost of doing so.
  • Advance notice.
    The further in advance you order your shipment, the more likely we are to be able to handle it economically. 

  • Pick-up conditions.
    The service is more expensive if we have to claim your bags from you, either in person, or at a precise place and time, than if we have a less-precise window during which we can pick up the bag (for instance, “my bag will be waiting for you at the hotel’s reception at any time on Tuesday or Wednesday”).  If you must hand the bag(s) to us in person, it is typically less expensive to do so at a railway station (or at our Paris office) than elsewhere.
  • Delivery conditions.
    The service is more expensive if we have to hand the bag to you, either in person, or at a precise time, than if we have a place to deliver it to during a less-precise time band (for instance, “to my hotel any time on Tuesday or Wednesday”).  If we must hand the bag(s) to you in person, it is typically less expensive to do so at a railway station (or at our Paris office) than elsewhere.
  • Size, weight, and number of pieces (in the case of luggage only).
    “Ordinary pieces” are those of up to 23 kg / 50 lbs.  Add 50% for pieces 23 - 30 kg.  Pieces heavier than 30 kg cannot generally be transported via our service.  Prices are digressive if more than one piece is sent in the same shipment. 
  • Boxed or not (only applies if you are shipping a bicycle or bicycles).
    Perhaps surprisingly, shipping unboxed, and thus rollable, bikes is generally less expensive.
  • Distance of the shipment.
  • Season.
    Shipments outside of France are typically less expensive between May and October than otherwise, as our volumes are higher, and we can pass along lower bulk rates.  Within France, and also from France to some neighboring countries, seasonality has no influence on price.

Additionally, shipping costs are generally lower if Paris is a start or end point of the shipment, and / or if the origin / destination is in the immediate vicinity of a railway station.


Special Conditions for Shipping Within France
Within France only, a fixed price of 78€ (first piece), 39€ (additional pieces in the same shipment) applies, conditions as outlined below. 
Bicycles, prams, and surfboards cost 138€ per object, regardless of quantity. 
Ask about volume discounts for bulk shipments (5 or more pieces).

  • The time band for pick-up or delivery must be all of one of the following:
    - 8a to 1p (13h00)
    - 1p (13h00) to 5p (17h00)
    You may choose whichever suits you.
    If you are staying at a hotel or hostal where the reception is not open all day long, this may not work.  For 35€ additional, you may set a precise time, which will be respected within half an hour.  This allows you to, for example, sit in front of a private home, and hand your bag to a shipper, without wasting the whole morning.  Or to program the shippers passage within the reception hours of the hostal.  Or to make your shipment compatible with your travel plans....
  • Pick-ups must take place Monday - Friday, deliveries Monday - Saturday (Saturday deliveries in the morning only).
    Pick-ups / deliveries cannot take place on legal French holidays.
  • Allow 3 days for delivery, from the pick-up date (orders must be placed by noon the day prior to the pick-up date).
    2 day delivery can be requested for shipments picked up in the morning time band, and almost always happens.  But only 3 day delivery is guaranteed:  late delivery provisions do not apply to 2-day deliveries.
  • Storage charges apply if delivery is scheduled for more than 5 days after pick-up.
    Shipments cannot be scheduled for delivery more than 7 days after pick-up. 
    If you require delivery more than 7 days after your shipping date, you must make two shipments:  to our office (parcel reception and storage charges then apply), and then on to your delivery destination. 
    Example:  if you are shipping one piece on December 1, for delivery on December 20, you would pay a shipping charge, plus 10€ (our parcel reception), plus storage charges from December 6 - 15, plus the ongoing shipment on the 16th, for delivery the 20th. 
  • Weight of each piece is 23 kg (50 lbs) or less. 
    Additional charges apply to heavier pieces:  +50% for pieces 23 - 30 kg.  We cannot transport pieces heavier than 30 kg. 

For international or non-French shipments:  if you would like a quote, please tell us the shipment you would like, giving us detailed information concerning each bullet point in the above list.  No quote can be supplied unless all points are addressed.


Fine Print

Prohibited Articles in Transported Luggage
Most of these are solidly in the “duh” catagory, but note the proscription on prescription medication.

  • Any type of gun, firearm, ammunition, explosive, or weapon.
  • Incendiaries, including flammable gases, liquids and fuels.
  • Large, sharp objects such as axes, ice picks and swords.
  • Corrosive or dangerous chemicals or materials, such as liquid bleach, tear gas, mace, radioactive and harmful bacteriological materials.
  • Batteries with acid that can spill or leak.
  • Fragile and/or valuable items, including but not limited to electronic equipment.  Laptop computers and handheld devices may be packed, but we accept no liability for damage, and they are not insured for transport.
  • Animals.
  • Prescription medication.  Such medication may be packed if (and only if) it is sealed in its original, unopened container.   We accept no liability for damage, and such medications are not insured for transport or against late delivery.


Late Delivery, Security, Insurance

Our baggage shipping services are often sub-contracted to common carriers or other companies licensed for transport of passengers or freight.   The luggage may be stored prior to shipment, or received and stored, by a person or persons over whom we have no control.

We select our collaborators carefully, to guard against loss or late delivery.   And we include very basic insurance in the cost of the shipment (see below for details).   However, we act only as your agent in contracting these services.   We accept no responsibility for the service of any transportation company or hotel involved with our luggage or cycle shipment or storage.   Nor for any delay, loss, or accident to baggage occasioned by such services from whatsoever cause.

Luggage doesn’t go AWOL often.   In fact, in the 30-year history of our company, no single piece of guest luggage has ever been lost.   Not bad, eh?   Maybe we should start an airline. 
Notwithstanding, since yours will probably be the first, don’t bring anything you can’t replace...

In the event of a late delivery, shipping cost is refunded in full.  No other compensation is due.

The shipping charges shown on this page include 300€ worth of loss / theft insurance.  This insurance is valid if the entire piece is lost or stolen.  Articles delivered to the correct address, as attested by a drop-off signature, and never claimed, are not insured.  The contents of pieces are not insured.  Nor are we responsible in the event of damage to your case or its contents.  This is a particular issue if you have packed a flimsy suitcase with 40 kilos of books.  Yes, the cheap plastic handle will break when we pull the suitcase out to the train.  No, we will not buy you a new suitcase, nor pay to repair the handle.  While we exercise reasonable care in moving and storing your belongings, we do not offer any insurance concerning the case itself, nor indemnify you in the event of damage to the case:  you must be sure that your case is robust enough for the use you are making of it.

Additional insurance is available at a rate of 10€ per 300€ of insured value, per shipment.  This additional insurance must be subscribed when the shipment is ordered.


How to Reserve (or Cancel) a shipment

Reservations
To reserve luggage transfer, please write our Paris office, paris@bluemarble.org, and tell us the following:

  1. A full, and careful, description of the object(s) being shipped. 
    If you do not know exact weight and dimensions, please supply approximate figures.
  2. Pick-up date and time (within France:  8a - 1p, 1p - 5p, or a precise hour).
    Pick-up date must be Mo - Fr, delivery date must be Mo - Sa, except legal Franch holidays.
  3. The full, street address of the pick-up location, and a contact phone number at the pick-up point.
    If a commerce or hotel, the name of the business.  If a private residence, the name on the door / mailbox / etc.
    If shipping within France, only a French phone number will be accepted by the shipper, though a foreign number may still be communicated to us.
  4. Desired delivery date and time (within France:  8a - 1p, 1p - 5p, or a precise hour).
    Storage charges apply if delivery is more than 5 days after pick-up.
  5. The full, street address of the delivery location, and a name and phone number at the delivery point.
    If a commerce or hotel, the name of the business.  If a private residence, the name on the door / mailbox / etc.
    If shipping within France, only a French phone number will be accepted by the shipper, though a foreign number may still be communicated to us.
  6. Pay for the service you are reserving.  You may pay securely online in €uros, by credit card.  Alternatively, you may pay by cheque / check, posted to the appropriate office.
    If you pay by check / cheque, the reservation is considered to be made when you inform us that the check / cheque has been posted.  The check / cheque must be received prior to the shipment date.

We will promptly acknowledge receipt, and confirm the service’s availability to you.



Cancellation
Cancellation charges are as follows.  If cancellation takes place...

  • ...at least one week in advance:  whichever is greater of 10€, or 10% of the cost of the shipment.
  • ...between 6 days and 3 days prior to the date of the shipment:  whichever is greater of 10€, or 20% of the shipping cost.
  • ...2 business days prior to the shipment date, by 4p (16h) Paris time:   50% of the shipping charge.

No refund can be made if the shipment is not cancelled at least 2 business days prior to shipping date, by 4p (16h) Paris time; nor if the consignement is not ready or available for pick-up at the reserved date and time.

Services which are discounted for travellers on our cycle trips are subject to the same cancellation terms as the trips themselves.  Those conditions may be consulted here.  Non-discounted services carry the cancellation terms specified above.

For the purposes of cancellations and refunds, days are indivisible.

Independent Travel Services

Air Tickets

Individual Travel Assistance