How to Use a French Phone Booth

by A. Letkemann

So there you are out and about on the town when you notice that your cell phone‘s battery has died or you simply forgot to take it along with you. You‘ve agreed to phone someone for a rendezvous or perhaps you need to reach someone while you‘re out.  There‘s no need to wait until you get home to make that call, you could make it from one of the many public phone booths around Paris.

Public telephones in France do not accept coins, so to make a call you‘ll need to get a pre-paid phone card (carte téléphonique), approximately €10 for 50 units or €17 for 120 units, available at major métro stations, post offices, tabacs, news stands, tourism offices and Orange (France Telecom) stores. Once you‘ve obtained the card, just stick it in the slot (a handy little screen walks you through this on many phones) and dial. Most phone booths display the number of the phone so you can receive calls as well. It‘s that simple!

It‘s important to note that you shouldn‘t use the regular carte téléphonique for international calls; you’ll watch your units dissipate rapidly. For overseas calls, purchase an international calling card (télécarte international) from the same locations listed above. Instead of actually sticking the card into the phone, you dial the free number listed on the card and type in the code (usually found under a scratch-off silver panel), then follow the instructions in English to make your call. These can also be used for local calls.

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One response to “How to Use a French Phone Booth

  1. Thankyou my cell phone won’t work and you provided the answer to a frustrated traveler

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