How To Call France From the US

How To Call France From the US

The intertwining history and culture of the United States and France goes back several centuries. France, in its role as a staunch ally, was instrumental in the United States winning its independence from England. Without their crucial assistance, we might be living in the United States of England and swearing fealty to a monarchy more than 4,000 miles away.

Since those revolutionary days, the two nations have enjoyed a mostly peaceful relationship as allies for over two centuries. The Statue of Liberty is an enduring symbol and reminder of this friendship as it was presented as a gift to America from the people of France. 

France's cultural impact on America is undeniable. Whether it's the artistry of French cuisine enriching American gastronomy (macaroni and cheese came from France) or the elegance of Parisian fashion influencing American style, France's impact is unmistakable. As economic powerhouses, both countries engage in substantial trade, creating a high probability of American businesses having important French connections.

Given the shared history, cultural ties, and economic interactions, it’s fairly common for the citizens of America to need to call France. It may be for personal or business purposes, but the need could arise anytime. However, it’s not as straightforward as making a domestic call within the United States. The steps are similar, but understanding the differences is critical. 

What Is the Standard Procedure for Making an International Call?

International calling has become an essential part of our interconnected world. The standard procedure for making an international call from the United States requires you to dial a series of specific codes before the actual phone number you want to reach. Here's a brief rundown of the process and some key terms/numbers that you’ll need to know:

  • Exit Code: Also known as the International Direct Dialing (IDD) code, the exit code is the first number you dial when making an international call. For the United States and Canada, this code is 011.
  • Country Code: The next number you dial is the country code. This code varies for each country. For example, France's country code is 33, while Mexico's is 52.
  • Area Code or City Code: After dialing the country code, you enter the area or city code (if necessary). This code identifies a specific geographic region within the country.
  • Local Number: Finally, you dial the local telephone number of the person or business you're trying to reach.

Keep in mind that the cost of international calls can quickly add up, so it's crucial to understand your service provider's rates or explore alternative methods like VoIP services, which often offer more cost-effective solutions. We’ll get deeper into the details of that later. 

How Do You Call France From the US?

Calling France from the US isn't very difficult if you know what you’re doing. It’s only a few extra steps added onto a regular phone call. If you don’t follow them exactly, you won’t be able to contact French residents. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to call France from the United States: 

Step 1. Start With the Exit Code: 011

Your first step when making an international call is always to dial the US exit code. For all calls originating from the United States or Canada and heading abroad, this code is 011. By dialing this, you signify that your call is meant to exit the country.

In some cases, this step could be bypassed if you have an international calling feature on your plan or use an internet phone service. The majority of situations will require you to enter this code before making the call. 

Step 2. Dial France's Country Code: 33

The second step in dialing an international number is to input the specific country code for your calling location. In the case of France, this code is 33. Dialing this immediately after the exit code connects your call to the French telephone system.

Step 3: Acknowledge France's Trunk Code (0) and Skip It

Whether you are dialing a landline or a cell phone in France, the procedure remains the same. Both types of numbers generally have ten digits, beginning with a “0.” This “0” in every French phone number is known as the trunk code. This is used when making local calls within France.

When making an international call, you disregard this initial “0.” You dial the rest of the number as is without making any other changes. So, following the French country code (33), input the remaining nine digits of the number, excluding the initial “0.”

Step 4: Dial the Remaining Phone Number

Once the exit and country codes have been dialed (with the trunk code being disregarded), you’ll dial the remainder of the local number. This includes both the area code and the unique local number. The area code can vary between 1-5 digits (more on those later), and the local number makes up the rest of the total ten digits (not including the initial “0”).

Practical Examples

Here are a few examples of how to apply the aforementioned steps when calling both a landline and a mobile number in Paris from the United States:

Calling a Landline in Paris

Let’s say that the number of the landline that you’re calling is 01 23 45 67 89. To reach this number from the US, you would:

  1. Start by entering the US exit code: 011
  2. Next, enter France’s country code: 33
  3. Then, dial the local number (excluding the initial 0): 1 23 45 67 89

The final dialing sequence would end up being 011-33-1-23-45-67-89

Calling a Mobile Phone in Paris

Now, let’s say that you’re calling a cell phone that has a French number of 06 12 34 56 78. The process is largely the same as calling a landline and is as follows:

  1. Dial the US exit code: 011
  2. Enter France’s country code: 33
  3. Dial the mobile number (omitting the initial 0): 6 12 34 56 78

The final dialing sequence would end up being 011-33-6-12-34-56-78

What Are the Different Area Codes in France?

France uses area codes just like the United States and Canada. However, there are a few differences that you’ll likely notice very quickly. 

Below is a list of the key area codes for major regions and cities all across France:

  • Paris and Île-de-France: 01
  • Northwest France, including Normandy and Brittany: 02
  • Northeast France, including Lorraine, Champagne-Ardenne, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, and Picardy: 03
  • Southeast France, including Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Rhône-Alpes, Languedoc-Roussillon, and Corsica: 04
  • Southwest France, including Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrénées, Limousin, and Poitou-Charentes: 05
  • Mobile numbers: 06 and 07
  • Non-geographic numbers (usually used by businesses): 08
  • New non-geographic numbers: 09

As you can see, area codes operate a little differently in France. Mobile numbers have their own designated area codes in France, unlike in America, where they’re treated the same as landlines. 

Recall these are the local area codes for France. If you’re calling one of these areas from outside of France, then you’ll need to omit the first 0 in each of these area codes. 

How Much Does It Cost To Call France From the US?

Understanding the costs associated with international calls is crucial to avoid any unpleasant surprises on your phone bill. Generally, the cost of calling France from the US varies depending on your phone service provider and whether you have an international calling plan. Additionally, the rates may differ depending on whether you're dialing a landline or a mobile phone.

Let's delve into the specifics by considering carriers such as AT&T and Verizon. 

For AT&T, the basic rate per minute to France can be as high as $4. If you subscribe to AT&T's World Connect Advantage, you’ll have unlimited calls to landlines in 70 countries and wireless numbers in 36 countries for $15 a month. 

On the other hand, Verizon charges a standard rate of $0.1 per minute for landline calls and $0.29 per minute for mobile calls to France. They also offer an international calling plan — the World Plan 500, where you can add 500 minutes per month of direct-dialed calls to landlines in 120 countries and mobile phones in 98 countries for $14.99 to $19.99 per month. 

What Time Is It in France When You Call?

Before dialing France, note the time difference. France operates on Central European Time (CET) or Central European Summer Time (CEST) during daylight saving, which is generally ahead of US time zones.

For instance, if it's noon in New York (Eastern Standard Time), it will be 6 pm in France. For Central Standard Time (Chicago), it will be 5 pm in France, and for Pacific Standard Time (Los Angeles), it will be 3 pm in France. 

France observes daylight saving time, so these differences may vary by an hour depending on the time of the year.

Are You Ready To Dial France? A Few More Tips First

To recap: calling France from the US involves four steps: dialing the US exit code (011), entering France's country code (33), ignoring France's trunk code (0), and entering the remaining numbers. By following these steps, you can reach anyone in France, whether they're on a landline or a mobile phone.

But, it's essential to remember a few extra tips to avoid high phone bills. Always check with your phone service provider for their specific rates in France, and consider subscribing to an international calling plan if you call frequently. Take note of the time difference to ensure you're not calling at an inconvenient time.

Lastly, your security matters. Communication is fundamental to our social existence. In the digital age, maintaining contact across borders has never been easier. 

While you dial and connect with people in France or any other country, remember the importance of safeguarding your privacy. Using an app like Burner can enhance your personal security when making calls. While Burner doesn’t support international calls as of now, it does offer a robust privacy feature for your domestic calls. You’ll be able to keep your personal number private and have more control over your communication. 

Whether you're buying goods online, dating, or just prefer to keep your personal number private, Burner is the go-to app. Download the Burner app today to start your free trial. Remember, in a world that is more connected than ever, your privacy should remain a top priority. Enjoy calling, but stay secure with Burner.


France and the American Revolution | American Revolution Museum

The Statue of Liberty: The Meaning and Use of a National Symbol | NEH

Did An Enslaved Chef Bring Macaroni And Cheese To America? The Truth Behind Everyone’s Favorite Side Dish | Essence

Gowns and Mansions: French Fashion in U.S. Homes | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

International Calling Tip Sheet | Federal Communications Commission

Central European Time | CET Time Zone | Time and Date

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