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France has made a substantial investment in bringing modern communications technology to everyday life. The French communications industry is sophisticated and dynamic, an impressive engine of French industry. Some years ago the former Postes, télécommunications et télédiffusion (PTT) was split into La Poste, the post office, and France Télécom, the telecommunications company. In addition, deregulation was made effective at the beginning of 1999, opening the field to competition from private companies.
The sections below introduce the phone and mail systems and provide links to more complete information. Once you know how they work, you can take advantage of the two directories provided here. The first contains only emergency numbers in a simple, uncluttered format. It's been kept short to encourage you to print it and take a copy with you to France. The second directory is more general, containing the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of tourist offices, airlines, embassies, transportation agencies, and more.
If you visited France prior to 1996, then you may remember the 8-digit telephone numbers in use at that time. In today's more modern direct-dial system, all numbers are ten digits. Remember, however, that when dialing France from abroad, the initial zero digit is omitted!
Here's more information about the telephone system.
The French post office, La Poste, does much more than deliver mail. It also handles telegrams, Chronopost express mail, packages, savings accounts, money markets, fund transfers by wire, telephone bill payments, checking accounts, mortgages, retirement plans, and more! Don't be surprised if the line takes longer than you're used to. Here's more information about sending mail.