Just moved to France from the UK, the US or elsewhere? If so, you'll likely need to know how to make calls in France and what are the important numbers to remember. Learn all about the French telephone system in this guide.
How to Dial from Within France
French numbers have 10 digits, starting with 0, and are listed in the following format:
0X XX XX XX XX
French people usually state phone numbers as a sequence of five double-digit numbers (e.g. 09 42 53 84 06 = "zero neuf, quarante deux, cinquante-trois, quatre vingt-quatre, zero six"). There are no long-distance charges for calling numbers within France from a French phone number (though some customer service numbers are paying numbers). Numbers that start with 06 or 07 indicate cellphones, and numbers starting with 01 through 05 indicate different regions in France. Customer service numbers often start with 08, but watch out, as some are paying numbers. Numbers starting with 09 indicate VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) numbers, and are not geographically assigned. The area code for Corsica is 495.
|02||Northwest France (Brest, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Nantes, Orleans, Rouen)|
|03||Northeast of France (Boulogne, Calais, Dijon, Lille, Nancy, Strasbourg, Reims, Troyes)|
|04||Southeast France (Cannes, Grenoble, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, St. Etienne, Toulon, Valence)|
|05||Southwest of France (Bordeaux, Limoges, Lourdes, Toulouse)|
|06 / 07||Mobile phone|
|08||Customer service numbers|
|09||VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) numbers|
How to Dial France from Abroad
The international country code for France is 33. To call France from abroad, dial your country's exit code + 33 + the 9-digit number (does not include 0).
Living Abroad?Find out how to call important French helplines from abroad
Important Numbers to Know in France
Emergency Numbers in France
The European Emergency number is 112 (114 for hearing-assisted). Dial this number for any emergency service (ambulance, fire brigade, police) anywhere throughout Europe. Specially-trained operators will pick up the call, and in France are guaranteed to speak English and French. This number is free of charge and can be dialed from a fixed line or a mobile phone - even if the mobile phone is out of credit or locked. It exists alongside French national emergency numbers, which are:
- 15: Medical help/SAMU
- 17: Police/Police Nationale (Gendarmerie)
- 18: Fire department & accidents/Sapeurs Pompiers
Other important/emergency numbers include:
- 112: European Emergencies (if you are a witness or victim of an accident anywhere within the EU)
- 115: Emergency shelter/SAMU Social
- 119: Child protection/Enfance en danger
- 116: Missing child/Enfants disparus
- 112 / 196: Emergency at sea/lake when calling from land
- VHF Channel 16 / 112: When calling from sea
When reporting an emergency, don't forget to indicate the following information:
- Your name and contact information (phone number)
- The location (and directions, if necessary)
- What happened, and whether it is still happening
- How many people need help
- Whether any weapons were involved
Dial 32 37 if you are looking for a pharmacist that is open outside of regular hours (i.e. late at night or on a Sunday).
English Speaking Helplines in France
Find a full list of English-speaking helplines in our guide
Along with the European Emergency Number 112, here are some other helplines that are available in English:
This is is an English-language emotional support line for the international community in France, run by the non-profit association SOS Help (which is affiliated with the Samaritans). It is available at 01 46 21 46 46 seven days a week, from 3 to 11 pm. Volunteer listeners are trained by psychologists to provide empathatic and non-judgemental listening support to anyone experiencing difficult or painful life experiences.
Healthcare Insurance/Carte Vitale Questions
The state health insurance social security system is managed by l'Assurance Malade, or "Ameli". You also may hear about the CPAM (Caisse primaire d'assurance maladie), which is the French administrative body that manages healthcare in France. The number for Ameli's English-speaking service is 36 46. You can also try 08 11 36 36 46. Calls cost 0.06 €/min + any applicable operator call charges. To call from abroad, dial +33 811 70 36 46 (calls cost 0.06 €/min + long distance charges).
EDF is currently the only electricity supplier to offer an English-speaking customer service phone number, available at 09 69 36 63 83 (+339 69 36 63 83 when calling from abroad). While EDF (Electricité de France) is the largest energy supplier in France, other suppliers offer lower rates. Find out more.
Moving to France?Call Selectra's English-speaking customer service helpline at 09 87 67 37 93 or through the free callback service (Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 8 pm, Saturdays from 9.30 am to 6 pm) to open an account and find a supplier and plan that meet your needs.
Orange (formerly France Telecom), the historic telecommunications provider in France, operates an English-speaking customer helpline available at 09 69 36 39 00 (+339 69 36 39 00 when dialed from abroad). While other telecommunications providers have limited English-language support, you can often find better prices when you shop around.
Looking for a Mobile Phone in France?Call Selectra's English-speaking customer service helpline at 09 77 55 72 27 or through the free callback service (Monday to Friday from 9:30 am - 7:30 pm) to find a supplier and plan that meet your needs.
The national train company in France is the SNCF (Société nationale des chemins de fer français). The customer service number for SNCF is 36 35. To access English-speaking customer help, dial 1 as soon as the call goes through. Calls cost 0.40 €/min including tax, plus any fees charged by your telephone provider. To book a train ticket from outside of France, call 00 338 92 35 35 35. You will be charged the cost of an international call, plus any applicable operator charges.
Dialing Customer Service Numbers in France
Many customer service numbers in France par pay-per-call/pay-per-minute services. Watch out for the following types of numbers, as they tend to be paying numbers:
- 4-digit numbers starting with 3 or 10
- 6-digit numbers starting with 118
- 10-digit numbers starting with 08
Prix d'un appel local or numéro non-surtaxé both mean that the call should be free when dialed from a French landline
How to Call for Free in France
Here are a few ideas for talking on the phone for free in France:
- It is free to receive calls on your French fixed line or mobile phone
- Calling from fixed line to fixed line is usually free in France
- Skype, Whatsapp, and FaceTime Audio are three possibilities of making free calls, though you will need to have a Wifi connection
- Many mobile phone plans in France offer unlimited calling time to numbers in France, and some even include free calls to Europe/North America/Asia. Find out more about your mobile phone plan options