In France, phone numbers are almost universally given in pairs, like 04 91 57 50 57. The first pair is a regional zone: To make calls within France, dial the 10-digit telephone number directly. Make sure you always dial the entire 10-digit number, even if you are calling someone within the same region.
When calling from outside the country, drop the first 0 in the 10-digit number and replace it with the country code for France: 0033 (from most countries), 01133 from the US/Canada/Australia and 0044 33 from New Zealand.
You find useful numbers in France, including English-speaking operators and emergency numbers here.
Make sure your cell phone (mobile phone) can operate under the GSM standard. Many cell phones are tri-band nowadays. Do you know how to switch to the GSM mode? Only the newer cell phones do this automatically. Has your cell phone company authorized that you can make calls from abroad? For some mysterious reason (most likely related to credit issues) most require that you apply to use your cell phone outside your home country. Calling from your cell phone outside your home country can be very expensive, yet it is reassuring to have this capability in case of an emergency.
Avoiding a Large Phone Bill When Traveling
Global onnectivity has its downside, especially when it comes to the price of using your cell phone abroad. It is easy to rack up a huge bill on your cell phone and an even larger one on your smart phone while traveling abroad. Many travelers with iPhones don't turn off their apps, which continue downloading data. They get hammered with expensive voice calls and data downloads.
|AT&T International Calling Card||Sign up and make reduced calls through 0-800-99-0011 (there are special numbers for hotels - check their website)|
|Boing||Unlimited Wi-Fi access in hotels, restaurants, cafes, airports and more in over 70 countries. Coupled with Skype or Truphone a low cost choice.|
|MCI Global Connection||Get their International Calling Card and make reduced rate calls through 0-800-99-0019|
|Planet Omni||Offering inexpensive dual band GSM phones or SIM cards with both a US and a global phone number.|
|Skype||Internet-based voice services (VoIP), charges as little as 2 cents for calls to regular phones. Since early 2010 also support for the iPhone (receive Skype calls over either Wi-Fi or 3G connections).|
|Telestial||Buy an inexpensive dual band GSM phone (around USD 50) or SIM card with both a US and a global phone number.|
|Truphone||A new Internet-based voice services (VoIP) with applications for Android, Blackberry, iPhone and Nokia.|
Cabines Telephoniques (Pay Telephones)
The old fashioned way to go about. Increasingly rare - due to the widespread use of cell phones - you find three types of pay telephones in France:
- phones that only accept coins
- phones that only accept a télécarte
- phones that accept either a télécarte or debit/credit card such as Visa (most common).
A sign on the phone booth will show you what it accepts. In case you do not have a télécarte, try to find a point phone (coin phones) in a café or bistro. Please note that coin telephones in France only return unused coins you place in the slot. Example: You place two 50 cent coins in the phone slot for a call that costs 30 cents. Your change will be the one 50 cent coin not used. So if you had placed a € 1 coin, you would have received no change at the end of the call.
Télécartes (telephone cards) can be used in most public telephone booths. A télécarte can be purchased at France Telecom offices, post offices, tabacs, presses and anywhere you see a sign "télécarte en vente ici" ("télécarte on sale here"). They are available in 50- or 120-unit denominations; one unit is comparable to one local call. Cards are disposable (and even collectable) when all units are used. For maximum convenience, it is recommended that you carry a télécarte with you at all times; you may also want to give one to your kids as well.
To use a télécarte, carte bleue or VISA in a pay phone:
|Décrochez||Pick up the receiver|
|Introduire carte ou faire numéro libre||Insert the card, face up (note the direction of the arrow) or dial a toll-free number|
|Fermez le volet SVP||Close the door/flap over the card. (This message seldom appears, as phones now have a slot into which the card is inserted)|
|Solde: xx unités||The calling units remaining on the card|
|Numéroter||Dial the number or toll free number|
|Numéro appelé||The number dialed appears on screen as well as the number of units remaining on the card|
|Retirez la carte||Remove your card|
Vocabulary - Telephone Conversationn in France
|Toll free call (green number)||Numéro vert|
|I wish to call collect.||Je voudrais téléphoner en P.C.V.|
|Could you tell me how much that costs?||Pourriez vous me dire combien ça coûte?|
|Can I dial direct?||Est-ce une ligne directe?|
|I wish to speak with . . .||Je voudrais parler à . . . .|
|Could I speak with your wife?||Pourriez-vous me passer votre femme?|
|When will she be back?||Quand sera-t-elle de retour?|
|I'll call again later.||Je vous rappellerai plus tard.|
|What number to you want?||Quel numéro demandez-vous?|
|You have the wrong number.||Vous êtes trompé de numéro.|
|I have made a mistake.||Je me suis trompé de numéro.|
|Would you ask her to call me?||Demandez-lui de me rappeler, s'il vous plaît.|
|Would you tell her that I called?||Pouvez-vous lui dire que j'ai appelé?|
|I am .....||Je suis .....|
|They have moved.||Ils ont déménagé.|
|They no longer live here.||Ils n'habitent plus ici.|
|Who's calling please?||Qui est à l'appareil, s'il vous plaît?|
|I cannot hear you.||Je ne vous entends pas.|
|I can hardly hear you.||J'arrive à peine à vous entendre.|
|Speak up, please.||Parlez plus fort, s'il vous plaît.|
|I don't understand.||Je ne comprends pas.|
|What was that?||Je n'ai pas entendu (or use) comment ?|
|Would you repeat that, please?||Voulez-vous répéter, s'il vous plaît?|
|Speak slowly please||Parlez lentement, s'il vous plaît.|
|Help me!||Au secours!|
|Come quick!||Venez vite!|
|Don't hang up.||Ne quittez pas.|
|The line is busy||La ligne est occupé.|
|There's no answer.||Il n'y a aucune réponse.|
|She is just coming.||Elle arrive.|
|I'm going to find her.||Je vais la chercher.|
|She is not here.||Elle n'est pas la.|
|She is out.||Elle est sortie.|
|I heard you and understand.||Entendu.|
|Who is calling?||Qui est à l'appareil?|