How to Make a Phone Call

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GO! How to make a phone call
GO! Using public phones
GO! Cellular phones
GO! International calls
GO! Calling DOM-TOM locations
GO! Telephone rates

How to make a phone call

French telephone numbers have ten digits, each one beginning with a two-digit prefix for one of the five telephone areas. To place a call between any two points in France, simply dial the 10-digit number. To help you know the location of the number you are calling, here are the areas and their prefixes:

01 Île-de-France (Paris area)
02 Northwest France
03 Northeast France
04 Southeast France and Corsica
05 Southwest France

Local directory assistance may be accessed by dialing 12. All cellular telephone numbers begin with 06. Toll-free numbers (numéros verts) begin with the digits 08.00, often grouped as 0.800.

Using public phones

Public telephones are nearly all equipped for the TéléCarte, an embedded-chip smart card available in 50-unit and 120-unit denominations. Since few public phones accept coins, we recommend that visitors obtain and carry a phone card for use in emergencies. They are available in tobacco shops, post offices, offices of France Télécom, and from newsagents. Some credit cards can also be used (Visa, Mastercard/Eurocard).

Public telephones can be found in métro and train stations, in airports, and on TGV and EuroStar trains, although the latter only accept Visa, Mastercard, and Eurocard. Coin-operated phones are sometimes found in bars and restaurants. Note that emergency numbers and directory information services can be dialed without a card or coins.

Cellular phones

Cellular phone numbers all begin with 06. Phones can be rented from several companies for delivery or airport pickup. A few customers used this cell phone rental company with satisfaction.

International calls

To call abroad from France first dial 00, then the country code, then the telephone number. Here are a few country codes: Australia 61, United Kingdom 44, Ireland 353, United States 1, Brazil 55, Canada 1, China 86, Germany 49, Israel 972, Italy 39, Japan 81, Mexico 52, Portugal 351, Spain 34, Sweden 46, Switzerland 41. To reach an international operator, dial 00.33.12, then the country code.

Incoming international calls must not include the zero digit of the prefix. For example, the telephone number of the Paris Office of Tourism is 01.49.52.53.54. To dial this Paris number from London, dial 00.33.1.49.52.53.54. To dial the same number from Marseille, dial 01.49.52.53.54. From the United States, dial 011.33.1.49.52.53.54.

Here are some telephone calling card access numbers.

Calling DOM-TOM locations

Telephone numbers for French overseas departments (DOM) and territories (TOM) consist of six digits prefixed with a four-digit code:

Guadeloupe 0590
Guyane 0594
Martinique 0596
Réunion 0262
Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon 0508
Mayotte 0269

Telephone rates

Free rate information is available at 08.00.06.19.19. When placing calls from your hotel, it is advised to ask for rates at the reception desk to avoid misunderstandings. As elsewhere, hotels usually add a surcharge to phone rates. Here are a few France Télécom peak-time rates for international calls (updated April 2008):

North America first 15 seconds 0.11€ each additional minute 0.70€
Japan first 5 seconds 0.11€ each additional minute 1.19€
United Kingdom first 15 seconds 0.11€ each additional minute 0.70€
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