French Telephones

Unlike twenty years ago, France today has a modern and efficient telephone system.  However, its differences from the United States system can lead to frustration. Here is how the French system works.

French Telephone Numbers

French telephone numbers consist of 10 digits and are usually written in the format 01 23 45 67 89.  The first two digits of the number represent the region of France corresponding to the number or the type of phone service.  

01     Île-de-France (Paris and surrounding suburbs)

02     Northwest France

03     Northeast France

04     Southeast France and Corsica

05     Southwest France

06     Cell Phones

08     Toll-free numbers

Calling Within France

To make a call within France, simply dial all ten digits of the telephone number. This is true where ever you are calling, whether from a private line, a telephone booth or a cell phone.

Telephone calls are generally cheaper on Sundays and holidays, and between 9pm and 9am.

Telephone Booths

Although telephone booths are less common place with increased use of cell phones, they can still be found in the street, in Métro stations, in railway stations and in other public places.  

In order to use them, you will need a carte téléphonique (telephone card), which can be purchased from France Télécom agencies, the Post Office, the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, tobaco shops and newspaper kiosks. The price varies from €8 to €15 depending upon the number of units purchased.  You can also use international calling cards.

Calling From the United States To France

To call from the United States to France:

For example if you are calling the number 01 52 89 22 65 in Paris from the United States, you would dial:

001 33 1 52 89 22 65

Calling From France to the United States

To call from France to the United States:

For example if you are calling the number (212) 555-1010 in New York from France, you would dial:

00 1 212 555 1010

Cell Phones in France

Although you may be able to use your cell phone in France, you will probably incur very high roaming charges.  These charges can be avoided by converting your phone to a French phone.

Here is what you need:

If you have an unlocked GSM phone and a French SIM, you will be ready to make calls from the moment you walk off the airplane.

French Telephone Zones Paris Tabac Shakespeare and Company