How to dial from France, and the cheapest ways to call
For Americans, if you are having a problem reaching an 800 number from France (which is not free, by the way!), a little trick is to dial 001 then change the 800 to 880. And 888 numbers never work.
If you are in France, but using your own cellphone to dial a local French number, you still have to dial as if it were international: 00 then the country code (France is 33), then drop the first 0 of the local number. So a 10-digit local phone number starting with 04 or 06 would be a 9-digit number starting with a 4 or a 6.
To give your hotel number to the folks back home, drop the first 0 and replace it with the French country code of 33. So a 10-digit local phone number that looks like this 04 xx xx xx xx would be dialed from the US as 011 33 4 xx xx xx xx.
And don’t forget, New York is 6 hours earlier, SF is 9 (evening here is morning there).
International Calling Cards: If you don’t have a cellphone and have to use your hotel phone to call home, don’t dial direct: better to pick up an international phone card at any tabac (cigarette stand). Get the scratch-off pin code type, which use English as well as French. You dial the free number, enter your pin, then dial your number, and can even use them from payphones. If you are having problems, remember you start with 00 first, not 011 like in the US. This is much less expensive than dialing direct from your hotel phone.
Skype: If you have a smartphone, the very cheapest way to call is to find a free wifi spot and use Skype: you can call any phone in the world for just pennies. Here is a map of Free Wifi Spots in Nice, from the great little app Free Wifi Cafe Spots.
Note that when you pull up your list of available networks, you will probably see ‘FreeWifi’: this is NOT free, ‘Free’ is a misleading brand name and it’s only free… if you pay!
Photo credit: PlanetNumbers.com
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