Public phone access in Paris?

Sep 3rd, 2014, 05:35 PM
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Public phone access in Paris?

I'm trying to decide between two options for where to stay for 5 nights in Paris.

One is a vey inexpensive hotel near St. Michel with a phone in the room, and the other is a studio on St. Antoine with no phone. It's only available for 4 nights, so if we took it, we'd likely stay at the hotel for one night and then move. Not ideal, but not a deal breaker either

I've stayed in both areas before, and really prefer the right bank.

My question is DH's phone is for work, and couldn't be used overseas. I am a total Luddite with a pay as you go phone, it has no options available to purchase a travel plan. I've looked into it a dozen times, no luck. My mother is elderly and likes to keep in touch. She's not on the internet, so no emails. It is increasingly difficult to find pay phones, which would be another option, buy a phone card there and use it to call her.

Does anyone know if there phone cafés or phone booths near to st. Antoine if we go that route?

Really it comes down to location or phone. Peace of mind or a preferable area. I feel ridiculous even saying that out loud-a grown woman should be able to decide herself!
sugarmaple is online now  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 05:46 PM
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Personally, I would either pick the hotel or an apartment that has 5 full days availability. There HAS to be one available. Changing for a night seems silly, especially if you need a phone.

You can get a skype phone number that your mother can call. Easy on her part and it is pretty cost effective on your part.
DebitNM is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 05:47 PM
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Are you traveling with a laptop? You can use Skype to phone your mother.

You can also buy a phone when you arrive and load it with minutes.
adrienne is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 06:03 PM
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Excellent, I never thought of Skype. I'll have my iPad.
sugarmaple is online now  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 07:55 PM
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There are two ways to fund Skype calls to a real phone number.

1. Fund Skype account itself. Then it is just a few cents per minutes to practically anywhere around the world. I still using balance left from 10EU I added to my account in 2009.

2. Use a phone card. Yes that old phone card people used to carry in the 70's! I still have an MCI card from Costco from the 90's with balance left. Because Skype calls to toll free number are free and can be done without funding the Skype account, call the 800 number on the calling card from Skype, then the calling card PIN then your mother's phone number. Your family/friends might have calling cards with balance left they don't know that to do in their drawers.
greg is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 09:06 AM
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As in other big cities, public pay phones are growing scarce as the cell phone becomes universal. My fallback is to seek out a subway station as a last refuge for telephone kiosks. Often, in Paris, those pay phones only take some sort of
credit card, rather than coins, and your bank's foreign transaction fee will drastically increase the cost of making even a local call. Alas, it's hard to live in the past.
Southam is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 09:41 AM
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I know I've seen pay phones in the airport, but not elsewhere, although I haven't looked for them, actually. I suspect you might find them in train stations, also.
Christina is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 10:10 AM
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There are payphones, both coin operated and card operated, at CDG. I know of none in Paris itself.

If your husband´s work phone is a quad band, GSM protocol model, you could simply purchase a French SIM for 5€ to 10€, insert and use that for phone calls. His work provider would be eliminated from any calls you might make or receive.

You can make VoIP calls any number of ways if you have an internet connection and a laptop.

For a solution, either your mother will need to embrace email or you will need to obtain a GSM phone using a French SIM. There are very easy to set up. One company I have used, Lebara, only charges pennies per minute for calls to the USA.
Sarastro is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 11:42 AM
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His phone is a Blackberry if that makes any difference.

<> this is a WHOLE other language to both of us, so I'll need to ask some questions.

Can Skype and VoIP be used with an Ipad to call home on her land line? Not that I know what the difference is between them...I'm feeling stupider by the minute
sugarmaple is online now  
Sep 4th, 2014, 12:42 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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VoIP is only voice transmission using an internet connection. Skype is but one of many programs allowing you to use an internet connection to make calls. Using a laptop and VoIP, you may call another computer for free.

If you want to call a phone, there will be a modest connect charge. You will need to have an account with a provider.

If your husbands Blackberry is capable of operating on a GSM network at 900/1800mHz, which is the standard in Europe, all you would need is a French SIM as described above. I can only guess that Canadian telephone providers all use the GSM protocol as most of the entire world does. (Basically only Verizon in the USA uses something different).

If all of this seems overwhelming, it might be a lot easier to show your mother how easy it is to use email.
Sarastro is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 12:50 PM
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Sugarmaple, it's easy to call your Mums landline from your iPad using Skype. Get an account with Skype, put $10 credit on it - very cheap calls, the credit has lasted me for two years now. You just need a reasonable wifi connection, which your hotel should have.

I too have an elderly mother, teaching her to use email has been tried and failed.
sartoric is offline  

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