As with most countries in Europe the phone card is what you use to access the public telephones. Sure, there will be some phones in France and Chamonix that will take coins but the majority are run on the phone card. You can purchase these at any “tabacs” store, or most supermarches (super markets). The “tabac” is a store that sells a variety of things such as newspapers, cigarettes, books, gum, and phone cards. They are a very common store in towns. One note about the French phone cards is they have a collector value. Many of the French phone cards are worth much more then there original price. Some are printed in limited quantity and like other collectibles such as coins and baseball cards, there value increases dramatically.
Some phone cards are neat because they have interesting pictures of local towns or other sights and attractions. I bought several Chamonix France
inexpensive phone cards just for the neat pictures of quaint French towns on the front of the card. Most of the phone cards will have a creased corner. This will need to be bent and removed before you can use the card. This is something that if not done will cause you much anguish and frustration towards the phone card, the person who sold it to you, and the phone booth! When entering the card into the thin slot in the phone insert the card with the long rectangular strip facing up.
The phone systems in France used to be among some of Europe’s worst several years ago, but France has made great strides lately in improving their phones. To call Chamonix or any other part of France except Paris, you will need to dial your countries international access code (this code in the United States is 1). Next you will dial 33 and you will ignore the first “0” in the phone number you are trying to call. Lastly proceed to type in the rest of the 9 digits of the French phone number. For example if the phone number in Chamonix you are trying to call is 04 53 76 45 32 and you were calling from the United States you would dial: 1 33 4 53 76 45 32. (Note omission of the first “0” in the 04.
To call someone who lives outside of France you would dial “00” which is the international access code, and then add the country code of the country you are trying to call (again in the United States this code is “1”), and lastly type in the area code and the local number. Note: the rate extremely expensive for calling overseas from a public telephone in France. You can change phone cards in the middle of the a phone call but it gets a bit confusing. If you know you are going to be making a long distance phone call to another country using a public telephone you may want to purchase a more expensive phone card, which contains more minutes.
Here is a helpful chart listing several countries “country codes”. As a last result of finding your country code if it isn’t listed on a sheet in the phone booth, or in the phone book, from France you can always dial “12” and try to communicate to the operator that you need a particular country code.
|Andorra 376||Australia 61||Canada 1|
|England 44||Germany 49||Hong Kong 852|
|India 91||Ireland 353||Japan 81|
|New Zealand 64||Singapore 65||South Africa 27|
|United States 1|
Dialing from one region to another in France is fairly easy. France has five telephone regions. Making calls within the same region is the same as making phone calls from one region to another. The five regional telephone codes are listed below:
- 01 is the Paris region
- 02 is the north west region
- 03 is the north east region
- 04 is the south east region (Chamonix)
- 05 is the south west region
A question that people ask me all the time is, how is the ATM situation in Europe. There are many ATM’s in Western Europe, and just about all of them will accept the major symbols such as Star, Cirrus, Plus, or Explore. Although Eastern Europe has a fair share of ATM’s, some do not accept the major symbols that North American travelers are used to. See the Money section in our Europe travel article for more information about Eastern Europe. ATM’s are readily accessible in Chamonix. There are several scattered around the main street and among the tourist shops.
If you are exchanging currency there are also several places near the main street and shopping area that will do this for you. The commission rate ranges from 0 to 2 percent charged.
For historical reference only, in late 1998 the US dollar would purchase 6 French Francs. As of January 1, 2002 the Euro became the denomination used in France. Consult newer sources such as the business or travel section of your newspaper for the latest conversion rates. Current Exchange Rates
The hospital in Chamonix (The Centre Hospitalier) is located at Route des Pelerins, Les Favrands. They can be reached at PHONE NUMBER 04 50 53 84 00.
At last count there are at least 15 Internet cafe’s/bars in Chamonix. A couple we recommend are:
1. I-Guest is located at 22 galerie Blanc Neige, Rue du Dr Paccard, Tel +33 4 50 55 98 58)
2. The cyBar is located at 80 rue de Moulins, Tel +33 4 50 53 64 80