Telephones in France

French regional telephone codes (Photo by Babsy)
French regional telephone codes

How to make phone calls to and within France

The country code for France is 33.

How to call France from another country

If you are calling France from another country, you must

  1. Dial your international dialing prefix: 011 for the U.S. and Canada; 00 for most other countries.
  2. Dial the country code: 33
  3. Dial the French phone number, leaving off the initial 0. That "zero" is the trunk code, and is only necessary when calling another number from within France itself. This is why I put it in parentheses on this site; it is situationally optional.

So, to call the local Paris number listed as "(0)1 23 45 67 89" from the U.S., you would dial 011 33 1 23 45 67 89.

How to make a phone call within France

  1. Dial the French phone number, including the initial 0.

So, to call the local Paris number (0)1 23 45 67 89 from, say, Nice, you would dial all ten digits: 01 23 45 67 89.

How do I use pay phones in France?

To use one of the (slowly vanishing) pay phones to make a call in France, you have to buy a telecarte (phone card) from a tabac (tobacco shops, usually marked by a vertical red sign tapered at both ends—like an elongated diamond with flat ends).

If you use a credit card at a payphone, the cost goes up considerably. 

Honestly, it is now far more convenient and cheap to put your own cell phone in airplane mode, then turn on WiFi and connect at one of the many free WiFi zones around town to use Skype.

How to make a phone call from France to another country

  1. Dial the French international dialing prefix: 00.
  2. Dial the country's country code: 1 for the U.S./Canada, 61 for Australia, 64 for New Zealand, etc.
  3. Dial the local number, including the local area code or city code.

So to call the local U.S. number 215-555-1212 from Paris, you would dial 00-1-215-555-1212. (Though, unless you actually need directory assistance for the city of Philadelphia, you should probably call a different number.)

City codes, mobile prefixes, and other French phone number quirks 

Most Paris telephone numbers start with 01, followed by an eight-digit number.

01 is Paris's "geographic code"—sometimes called a "city code." France only has five of these—plus a few for toll free calls, etc.:

  • 01 Paris & Île-de-France
  • 02 Northwest France
  • 03 Northeast France
  • 04 Southeast France
  • 05 Southwest France
  • 06 and 07 Mobile phones
  • 0800, 0804, 0805, 3000, 3144, 3655 are all Freephone, or toll free (numéro vert)
  • 09 Non-geographic number (used by VoIP services)

Those 08 numbers are "freephone" (toll free) numbers, and cost nothing to the customer to call from within France (though these can be tricky to dial from abroad).

Oh, and if you calling either of the microcountries bordering/surrounded by France, you now do have to do the whole international dialing rigamarole complete with their own country codes, so to call Monaco, dial 00-377 and then the number; to call Andorra dial 00-376 and then the number.