When you come to France, despite what your American service provider may tell you, chances are your cellphone WILL NOT WORK. It is terrifying news especially to those who are prone to very rarely lowering their iphones from their finger tips.
Our international calling plans are indeed international but the French system is not structured in the same way as the US. Also it complicates things when you have a US number because the majority of phones in Paris cannot dial a number that is not within the French network.
SO what you are going to want to do is get yourself a PHONE.
Easier said than done! My first efforts in getting a phone were well..met with some difficulty. One: get your hands on a FRENCH cell phone. Yes your iphone, Nokia, Razer, ect promises that they are international phones when unlocked but the truth is that they will not register a French sim card and therefore you will need one of the cheap “go phones” from this side of the pond.
The great thing about the prepaid system here is that you can buy and set-up your phone at any of the thousands of Tabacco Shops in the city that can easily be spotted in ANY neighborhood by looking for the red, blue, and white “Tabac” signs. (these stores are also convenient that some of them will allow you to set-up and manage your Navigo passes as well) The SIM card will probably run you about 40 euro an contains about 10 euro of initial credit.
The plans are based on how much you put into it. If you put in 10 euros into the plan you have 10 euros of decreasing money that you can spend on calls. There are peak times and low times so a call at 7pm Friday will cost you more than one at 12 or at the same time on another day, so it is very frustrating. Also no matter what if you call to a landline it will cost more than to call to a cell phone (when you are using a cell) and vice-versa. However these plans allow you to receive calls and texts for FREE, a great feature of the programs. Some plans however are limited though. For example my plan does not have any caller ID or number recognition and others do not have voicemail. It is important (if you are able to) to ask details about the options in your prepaid plan which someone at a Tabac may not be able to answer but at a dealer you should find some help.
It is important to have a phone here as wifi is not easy to find and to be in a big city that you are not familiar with can be hard without anything to help you rendez-vous with a friend or in case you get lost for two hours in an effort to meet up with them (see first blog from my experience on the Metro).


About Emilie

I'm a small girl with big ambitions and very little common sense it seems. I decided after I graduated from college that I would move from my little city of Lafayette Louisiana to the raging monster city that is Paris. In 4 months of planning I have now uprooted everything I had in an amazing town to live in a truly wild place where I have no idea WHAT I am going to do. But isn't that the fun of it all. So here is cheers to getting lost, breaking hearts, starving, and many wonderful adventures that come along with finding yourself.
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One Response to Phones

  1. Pingback: Info for students over here | Emilie in Paris

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