It’s said that the biggest fear one has it that of public peaking. For me, my biggest fear is not having cellular service, and not being able to connect while on the go.

So, how does one connect while in France

Some quick tips to staying connected while on the go:
Phone numbers

To call a French number from abroad, dial: international prefix + 33 + local number without the leading 0. For example: ++33 247 664 118 All french numbers have 10 digits. The first two digits are: 01 for Parisian region 02 for Northwest 03 for Northeast 04 for Southeast 05 for Southwest 06 for the cellphones 07 for the cellphones since 2010. 08 have special prices (from free to very costly) (Skype numbers start with 08). 09 if they are attached to Voice over IP telephones connected to DSL modems from French DSL providers that integrate such functions. You cannot drop the first two digits even if your call remains within the same area.

The initial ‘0’ may be replaced by some other digit or longer code indicating a choice of long-distance operator. Don’t use this unless explicitly told to. When speaking phone numbers, people will usually group the digits by sets of two. For example, 02 47 66 41 18 will be said as “zero two, forty-seven, sixty-six, forty-one, eighteen” (but in French, of course). The two-digit pair 00 is said as “zero zero”, not “double zero”. for example if your phone number is 02 47 66 41 18 in France, it would be said as “zéro deux, quarante-sept, soixante-six, quarante et un, dix-huit.”

Difficulties can arise when numbers between 60 and 99 exist in the phone number, as the French word for seventy, “soixante dix” literally means “sixty ten”, the word for eighty, “quatre-vingt” means “four-twenty” and ninety, “quatre-vingt-dix” means “four-twenty-ten”. So when giving a number such as “72”, you might hear “soixante”, start writing a 6, and have to correct yourself when the number turns out to be “soixante-douze”. If you find it too hard to follow, you may ask the person to say the number digit-by-digit (“chiffre par chiffre”). It would then be “zero, two, four, seven, six, six, four, one, one, eight” (“zéro, deux, quatre, sept, six, six, quatre, un, un, huit”). You can to visit Kropla to find instructions about the nationals and internationals calls.


There are few companies that provide toll-free numbers (starting with 08 00) but many have numbers starting with 081, for which you pay the cost of a local call regardless of where you are in the country. Numbers starting with 089 are heavily surtaxed. They provide service to some legitimate businesses but the ones you see advertised all over the country are usually for adult services. Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don’t speak French).

These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones. In case of a serious emergency, if you find a code-protected cellphone, enter a random code three times: the phone will lock, but you will be able to dial emergency numbers.

Cheap international calls

Dial-around services are directly available from any landline in France. No contract, no registration is required. Most dial-around services allows you to call USA, Canada, Western Europe and many other countries at local rate (tarif local) so you can easily save on your phone bill. They also work from payphones, though the first minute is surcharged by France Telecom.

Fixed line

To find out how to get a landline (ligne fixe) in France Just Landed gives more information on the subject of Frech landline providers . Another method, if you are staying for a long period, is to use VoIP over DSL, such as the Livebox or Freebox service (free long distance calls within France and to a number of countries).

Phone booths

Phone booths are available in train or subway stations, bus stops, near tourist attractions, etc. There is at least one phone booth in every village (look on the main plaza). Due to the widespread use of mobile phones, there are now fewer booths than a few years ago. Most use a card (no coins). France Télécom public phones accept CB/Visa/Mastercard cards but almost always only with a microchip. Otherwise, post offices, café-tabacs (recognizable by a red sign hanging outside), and stores that sell magazines sell phone cards. Ask for a “carte telephonique”; these come with differing units of cr, so you may want to specify “petit” if you just want to make a short local call or two. If you get the kind with a computer chip in it, you just have to slide it into the phone, listen for the dial tone, and dial. The US-style cards require you to dial a number and then enter a code (but with spoken instructions in French).


France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are 4 ‘physical’ network operators in France: Orange, SFR, Bouygues Télecom and Free Mobile. Other providers are mobile virtual operators based on Orange, SFR or Bouygues Télécom. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. However, for emergency numbers, the four companies are required by law to accept your call if they technically can, even if you are not one of their customers, thus maximizing your chance of being helped even in areas with spotty service.

If you are staying for some time in France it is advisable to buy a prepaid SIM card for your phone so that incoming calls are free. Additionally, French businesses and individuals are unlikely to want to call an international number to get hold of you as there will be a surcharge to them. Most service providers such as (Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom) supply SIM cards in shops; for instance Orange promotes Orange holiday, which allows you to use 120 international minutes and 1000 texts within all Europe + 1GB data in France for about €40. The plan can be purchased quite easily in Orange shops. But be aware that the cr expires when you do not top-up. If you want to sort out your phone before you leave, LeFrenchMobile provides a prepaid service for foreigners coming to France.

You do not always need identification at the point-of-purchase but you need to be have your personal details (including an address: your hotel address will do) in-hand to activate the service, even on prepaid lines. Another company that can help you efficiently sort out your international sim card needs is TravelSim. Their prepaid sim card is one of the cheapest on the market and, since it is a callback service, your can save up to 85% on your roaming charges. Additionally, all incoming sms and Skype calls are free on TravelSim numbers. With this sim card you can easily make phone calls in France and when you go outside of the country. Lebara offer relatively cheap pre-pay data plans. (8 euro for 1GB) If your phone doesn’t access the internet correctly you may need to manually set your phones’ “access point name” username/pass to web/web.