Electricity Voltage, Plugs & Sockets in France

Are you going on vacation to France? Do you want to know what electricity voltage is used in France? Here we give you useful facts & information on how to use your electrical appliances in France.

Mainland France and Monaco both operate on 220 Volts and 50Hz on AC. The electricity system in Andorra is slightly different, operating on a combination of 220 Volts and 125 Volts, both at 50Hz.

The US and Canada both operate on 120 Volts and a supply of 60Hz which means is you intend on taking any electrical appliances with you on vacation to France you’ll need to buy some continental electricity adaptors.

Electric Voltage Transformers

While it’s fairly easy to buy electric voltage adapters that enable American electrical appliances to work in France, it’s important to know the difference between voltage and Hz. Many electrical transformers will transform the voltage but not the Hz rate. The Hz rate, among other things, is responsible for determining the rate at which a motor in an electrical appliance works. This means if you are running an American electrical appliance in France with a transformer, there’s still a chance it wont work at the optimum rate it’s designed to.

Heavy & Light Electrical Adapters for France

There are generally two different types of electrical adapter for France. The large heavier adapters are actually only designed to work for electrical appliances that operate at 35 watts or less. This includes small devices such as radios and shavers.

The smaller lighter electrical adapters can be used for appliances with a maximum watt rate of 1500. These electrical adapters are only for appliances with heating elements such as kettles and hair driers.

electric socket franceElectric Sockets in France

There are two types of electrical sockets used in France. Many older buildings in France operate with electric wall sockets that only have two prongs. All newer buildings have three fat prongs including a protruding earth prong; that means there are two holes in which you plug your device, but the actual wall socket has a prong sticking out that is supposed to slot into the plug head of your device. If you didn’t buy your device in France you won’t even be able to stick it in the wall unless you have a special adapter.

This will allow you to plug in your appliance  so it can get electricity from the wall; it will NOT convert the voltage though. If you’re coming from a country that runs on 220V or near enough you should be fine with the adapter alone, but if you’re coming from a country that runs on 110V like the United States, you either need to buy a wall adapter AND a voltage converter, or you can just get a 2 in 1 adapter/converter that handles both tasks, and is a about the same size as a regular wall adapter, so for only a few dollars extra it’s really a no-brainer.