Cell Phone Service in France

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It’s 2019 and not 2010, and most likely the ‘modern day’ cell phone should work just fine when you’re traveling outside American. In recent years, most but all carriers through the FCC rules required that all phones be unlocked. So, there goes the main problem when switching out sims or changing carriers on the fly. But you should check the following with low-end phones: 

GSM – Most new phones have GSM, Global System for Mobile Technology. But just in case, check your manual or ‘About your phone’ settings. If you’re not sure, call your carrier or just Google it online.

Tri-band – Again, most phones are tri-band phone, meaning that it can work in France with the frequencies ranges of 850-1900. Note that in other regions in Europe, they use 900-1800 band frequencies.

Unlocked – All new cell phones are unlocked. But just in case, contact your carrier and have them unlock it for you prior to traveling overseas.

When you travel overseas, let your carrier know that you’re traveling overseas. Most carriers have different packages, but it ‘will’ be very expenses especially for data. If you forget to do that, just buy a 30 Euro pre-paid sim card at the airport or if you can wait, we suggest that you go to Orange which is like Verizon in America. They’re everywhere around Paris and very dependable and reasonably priced for pre-paid packages. Don’t waste your time looking for deals and running around Paris just to save a few dollars. It’s not worth it. And for some reason that your cell phone doesn’t work in France, you can always buy or rent a phone… but why? Just double check everything before you leave for your trip.

Pro-tip: Staying in touch with family or friends while you’re overseas. Don’t get swept in with your phone carrier and remember you can find free WiFi in Paris. Just remember that there are many ways to stay in touch via voice apps, messengers and social media until you get settled in.

How to make a call:

All French numbers have 10 digits and, if calling from within France, start with a 0. The first two numbers indicate a mobile code, with French mobile phone numbers starting with 06 and 07 and for  Paris, use 01, 02 to 04, 09 for landlines and 08 for toll-free numbers.

When calling a French mobile number from outside of France, you will need to add the the country code – either ‘0033’ or ‘+33’ – and omit the initial 0 from the mobile number. When calling to America, just press 00 1 and the area code/number.

Regional numbers:

01 – Ile de France and Paris.

02 – North West : Pays de la Loire, Centre, Lower and Upper Normandy and Britanny.

03 – North East : Champagne-Ardenne, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Picardie, Lorraine, Burgundy, Alsace and Franche-Comte.

04 – South East : Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, Auvergne, Rhone-Alpes and Corsica.

05 – South West : Midi-Pyrenees, Poitou-Charentes, Limousin and Aquitaine.

Important numbers is Paris:

United States of America Embassy: 01 43 12 22 22

18: Emergencies: This number connects to the fire brigade (Sapeurs Pompiers) but they also deal with medical emergencies and should be the first port of call in life-threatening situations

15: Samu – for other urgent medical calls

17: Police / Gendarmes

18: Fire / Sapeurs Pompiers

112: UEES – Universal European Emergency Services number – works from all phones including mobiles to dial direct medical, fire or police

114: Emergency calls for those who have difficulty speaking or hearing by communicating via text or fax

116 000: Missing child

116 / 117: Doctors on call

197: Terror attacks/kidnapping hotline

ORANGE: English-speaking helpline: 09 69 36 39 00

Lost or stolen credit cards:

Visa: 00 1-880-950-5114 or 08 92 70 57 05
MasterCard: 0 800 901 387
American Express: 01 47 77 72 00
Citibank (collect): 001-605-335-2222

Metro Map: Use the Paris Metro to help you get you around the city. We’ve put together official maps and apps to help you: Click here

Best Cafes in Paris: Take the time to relax with a nice cup of coffee and remember that Paris has no shortage of cafés: Click here

Annotation: ♫ Plug in your headset and enjoy a good song that’s on our YouTube playlist: London Grammar – Hey Now Remix


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