Basic dictionary

Basic dictionary

Basic French words and expressions

Communications

Calling internally in France

All numbers have 10 digits and start with a 0. Mobile phone numbers start with 06.

Calling France from abroad

You must dial 00, then the code +33 (for France), followed by the number desired without the 0, i.e. 00 + 33 0X XX XX XX XX

Calling abroad from France

You must dial 00, then the code of the country that you wish to call, followed by the number desired.

Country codes

  • 49 for Germany
  • 44 for the United Kingdom
  • 31 for the Netherlands
  • 32 for Belgium
  • 39 for Italy
  • 34 for Spain
  • 41 for Switzerland
  • 352 for Ireland
  • 11 (AT&T) or 19 (MCII) for the USA
  • 16 for Canada

Mobile phones

If your phone is GSM compatible, it should work in France. You can keep your current provider and pay roaming rates (except for european citizens). You can also buy a French SIM cart which is a cheaper solution. You may need an adapter to be able to use your mobile phone charger.
If your phone is not GSM compatible (USA, Japan…), you will have to purchase a mobile phone in France.

Mail

Stamps can be bought in post offices or tobacconists. A letter weighing up to 20g costs €0.85 for France and EU countries and €1.30 for the USA, Asia or Australia. Yellow post boxes are dotted around the towns.

Internet

Free wifi access on the Sancy tourist offices.
Hotspots Wifi: www.wifi63.fr
Wifi access and internet connection in some bars, restaurants and hotels.

Daily life

Time and opening hours

Most businesses are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday. In tourist resorts they are also open on Sundays and public holidays, whereas in towns and cities, such as Clermont-Ferrand, they are closed.
Public services (post office, town hall) are generally open from Monday to Friday and closed on public holidays.
Restaurants serve lunch from noon to 1.30 p.m. and dinner from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Summer/winter time

GMT is Greenwich Mean Time.
In winter, the time in France is GMT +1. When it is 12.00 GMT, it is 1 p.m. in France.
Change to winter time: end of October (at 3 a.m., it will be 2 a.m.)
In summer, the time in France is GMT +2. When it is 12.00 GMT, it is 2 p.m. in France.
Change to summer time: end of March (at 2 a.m., it will be 3 a.m.)

Currency, euro

€1 is made up of 100 centimes or cents.
Notes: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500.
Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimes, as well as €1 and €2.
Your bank card will give you 24-hour access to euros by using any of our many ATMs.

Electrical standards

The French standard is 220V with a frequency of 50 Hz. Bring an adaptor. If you forget, electrical goods and DIY stores will sell them, as will supermarkets. French plugs have two round pins.
France uses the metric system for measurements and temperatures are expressed in degrees Celsius.

Most common measurements

Conversion table

Clothes and shoe sizes

In order not to get confused and to help you ask for your size, here are the correspondences.

  • France: 34 – US: XS – UK: 6
  • France: 36 – US: S – UK: 8
  • France: 38 – US: M – UK: 10
  • France: 40 – US: L – UK: 12
  • France: 42 – US: XL – UK: 14
  • France: 34 – US: XXL – UK: 16

Practical services

Emergency services number

List of practical numbers you may need

  • 17: Fire
  • 18: Police
  • 15: Ambulance
  • 112: Emergency

Practical info

Make sure you note down your important addresses and telephone numbers or bring them with you: Embassy or consulate in France – Bank service in the event of loss or theft of credit cards and chequebooks – Insurance in the event of accident or hospital treatment…
Don’t forget your identification (passport, ID card, visa…).

Vaccinations

No vaccination is needed if you visit France.
As for pets, you will need to provide a health record book and ensure that they are vaccinated against rabies. Also check with an embassy or consulate that the breed is allowed in the country.