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Thread: Electricity in France - adapter needed if travelling from USA ?

  1. #1
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    Electricity in France - adapter needed if travelling from USA ?

    I will be traveling from the USA to France for a short holiday.

    In France, will I need an adapter to charge my phone, run my laptop, etc. ?

    Will a cigarette lighter-based charger charge my phone ?

  2. #2

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    Re: Electricity in France - adapter needed if travelling from USA ?

    Your power bricks will either work, or will require a transformer to step down the voltage. The latter option is not really compatible with holidays :-)

    France, like most of the rest of Europe, has 240 V, 50 Hz single phase mains power. Most modern power bricks for computers and the like will automatically compensate for the change. If this is the case, it will either be written on the power adapter in a list of compatible voltages, or it will be in the user manual.

    In the bad old days (could be as recently as ten years ago) the power supplies were for US or European voltage only. The easiest solution was to buy a new power brick from a local Dell/Apple/whatever store when you arrive. Some equipment still needs the right frequency, but it's rare, and non-existent among consumer electronics.

    You will need a plug adapter to make your US plugs fit French wall sockets. Again, buying a French power cord is sometimes an option. If you have a lot of chargers consider bringing a power strip and replacing the single plug on that with a French one. Make sure any adapters can handle the power load you have in mind (usually only a problem if taking studio flash or charging large batteries) and I personally would look for ones which pass through a ground connection properly. Modern European power outlets are usually backed by a ground fault detector, but by no means all, and rural France can get you quickly back in the days of cloth-wrapped twin-pair mains cords with bakelite plugs for that cozy fire hazard feel.

    Cars run on 12V DC just like the states. Cigarette lighters are still fitted to cars, and they work fine with inverters and chargers. Quite a few cars will have a second lighter socket in the trunk, which can be more convenient for charging. Leave nothing of value in the car if you are leaving it unattended, even if in a hotel garage.

  3. #3

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    Re: Electricity in France - adapter needed if travelling from USA ?

    Ken
    Most likely, your mobile chargers are made to run on any voltage. Have a look. You should be able to find where it says "100-220V AC, 50-60hz" or something like that. US power is 120 volts 60hz, Europe is 220 volts 50hz.

    Enjoy your trip.

  4. #4

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    Re: Electricity in France - adapter needed if travelling from USA ?

    and rural France can get you quickly back in the days

    I'm quite sure that Ken (welcome to France, Ken) is looking for picturesque places or rural France where no electricity can be found, and where no hazardous electromagnetic waves generated by disturbing cellular phone equipements can be felt 30 km around.

    Hence for the laptop, etc ... if Ken really insists in bringing those equipments with him (but I cannot believe that Ken, an uncompromising LF aficionado, can be such an addict of laptops and mobile phones) the best would be that he brings with him a crank-operated human-power electrical generator, the perfect complement of his hand-operated mechanical shutters.

    pssst : not kidding, if you have any question, take the advantage that several French people read and post here regularly ; they will be glad to help you. If you do not find, right upon arrival at the French airport, the battery charger that you are looking for, most likely you'll find it a any major supermarket.
    In France we have strange supermarkets mixing food and house appliances, something that US citizen do not like at all ; so it is very likely that pushing the doors of any big supermarket looking for a nice 'n cheap bottle of bordeaux wine, you'll find your battery charger at the same time, even without looking for it: those huge supermarkets are arranged in such a way that usual food & beverage that French buy every day are located in the remotest corner of the shop, exactly opposite to the main entrance, so that you cannot have any direct access to the "baguette - bordeaux - camembert" places without going throug the full assortment of laptops & battery chargers

  5. #5
    funkadelic
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    Re: Electricity in France - adapter needed if travelling from USA ?

    I'm not well versed in international travel, but I do know that we have 60Hz alternating current here in the US. The rest of the world uses 50Hz. Regardless of whatever voltage step-up or step-down you need, if any, you'll need something to insure that you have the proper frequency of AC power also (unless all of your powered devices work with either option).

  6. #6

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    Re: Electricity in France - adapter needed if travelling from USA ?

    In the UK we did have 240V supplies, but these have now been changed to match the rest of Europe at 230V.

    Nick

  7. #7

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    Re: Electricity in France - adapter needed if travelling from USA ?

    As Chuck and Stuan mentionned it, if your chargers are marked "110-240V - 50-60Hz" they will operate in France, provided that you have the mechanical adaptor for the plugs, something like that :

    Click image for larger version. 

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    D.C.

  8. #8
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    Re: Electricity in France - adapter needed if travelling from USA ?

    "but I cannot believe that Ken, an uncompromising LF aficionado, can be such an addict of laptops and mobile phones"

    Yes, it is very shocking, but I will need my iPhone to make "connections"

  9. #9

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    Re: Electricity in France - adapter needed if travelling from USA ?

    Hello ken ,

    which part of france are you travelling ?

  10. #10
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    Re: Electricity in France - adapter needed if travelling from USA ?

    Quote Originally Posted by doublezero View Post
    Hello ken ,

    which part of france are you travelling ?
    Mainly Paris, with a brief visit to Avignon.

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