Calling France from abroad Dial your country's international access code, then 33 (France's country code), then the 10-digit local number without the initial zero.
Calling internationally from France Dial 00 (the international access code), the indicatif (country code), the area code (without the initial zero if there is one) and the local number. Some country codes are posted in public telephones.
Directory inquiries For national service des renseignements (directory inquiries) dial 11 87 12 or use the service for free online at www.118712.fr.
International directory inquiries For numbers outside France, dial 11 87 00.
European and Australian phones work, but only American cells with 900 and 1800 MHz networks are compatible; check with your provider before leaving home. Use a French SIM card to call with a cheaper French number.
- French mobile phone numbers begin with 06 or 07.
- France uses GSM 900/1800, which is compatible with the rest of Europe and Australia but not with the North American GSM 1900 or the totally different system in Japan (though some North Americans have tri-band phones that work here).
- Check with your service provider about roaming charges – dialling a mobile phone from a fixed-line phone or another mobile can be incredibly expensive.
- It is usually cheaper to buy a local SIM card from a French provider such as Orange, SFR, Bouygues Télécom or Free, which gives you a local phone number. To do this, ensure your phone is unlocked. If you already have a compatible phone, you can slip in a SIM card and top up with prepaid credit, though this is likely to run out fast as domestic prepaid calls cost about €0.50 per minute.
- Recharge cards are sold at most tabacs (tobacconist-newsagents), supermarkets and online through websites such as Topengo (www.topengo.fr) or Sim-OK (https://recharge.sim-ok.com).
Carrying your own charger and cable is the only sure way of ensuring you don't run out of juice. Don't be shy to ask in cafes and restaurants if you can plug in and charge – if you ask nicely, most will oblige. In Bordeaux the occasional cafe lends cables to customers and savvy taxi drivers stock a selection of smartphone-compatible cables and chargers for passengers to use.