France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Electrical Plugs & Outlets in France
They're not the same as the rest of Europe—they're hermaphroditic (prongs in both plug and socket), presenting a special challenge...

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FranceTravelPlanner.com shows you how to adapt to France's special hermaphroditic (male+female) electrical plugs and sockets/points.

French Plugs & Sockets: Hermaphroditic!

In most of the world, electrical plugs and sockets (outlets, points) are termed male and female: the male is the one with the prongs, the female with the receptacles for the prongs.

In France, plugs and outlets are hermaphroditic ("both sexes in one"), meaning that both plugs and sockets have prongs and receptacles.

Why?

Parce que...

Conspiracy theorists among us might believe it means that French manufacturers keep the French electrical device market to themselves because plugs and sockets imported from other countries won't work in France.

In any case, you'll have to deal with these hermaphroditic French plugs and sockets.

French Electrical Plug
French electrical plug with a hole
to receive the ground prong...

Look at the photos above and on the right side of this page. Note how the plug has a hole to receive a prong, and the socket/outlet/point has a protruding prong. This is the ground connection, recommended but not essential for most small appliances. (The ground prong carries no electricity; it acts as a safety in case of a short circuit.)

This means a full-sized plug that will fit a socket in Germany (or any other European country) will not fit a socket in France. (Don't even think of using a British plug anywhere in Europe without a special adapter...)

Euro-Adapters

Of course you can buy elaborate Euro-adapters designed to receive North American, UK and normal Euro plugs, and to fit into hermaphroditic French sockets as well as into other European outlets:

Euro-UK Multi Plug Electrical Adapter
Fancy multi-adapter: what you need if you travel in the
United Kingdom and other European countries as well as in France...

The Simple Adapter Solution

However, if you're only going to travel in France and other continental countries (not the UK), a simple 2-prong adapter solves several problems at once, and less expensively. This sort of flat 2-prong adapter works in French outlets as well as in those of other European countries:

Electrical Adapter for France
The simple flat 2-prong adapter...

...because it bypasses the outlet's protruding prong.

It even works to adapt North American grounded (3-prong) plugs: the third prong (ground) would go on the bottom side of the adapter:

US-CN 3-prong to Euro 2-prong electrical adapter
The ground prong from the French outlet/socket
passes above the other side of the adapter...

Note that you can also use the flat 2-prong adapter with standard large 2-prong Euro plugs that would not otherwise fit in, and connect to, a French hermaphroditic socket because of the France-only ground prong coming out of the outlet:

Euro plug electrical adapter

These simple 2-prong flat adapters are sold in airports, European electrical shops, and in North America at hardware stores, and in places that sell travel supplies. Or you can order an adapter online.

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Next: Wifi & Laundry!

Your next question is probably: what about Wifi in France? How do I connect to the Internet while traveling in France?

Here's the answer.

And...what about washing laundry (and not paying outrageous hotel-laundry prices)?

Here's the answer to that.

There are lots more answers in the 1400+ pages of ParisTravelPlanner.com and FranceTravelPlanner.com. Just wander!


Power Tap & Charging Station

Internet & Wifi in France

Doing Laundry in Paris

What to Wear

Money & Costs

Travel Details

Paris Apartments

Charles de Gaulle Airport

Airport-to-City Transport

 

 

French Electrical Outlet/Points

Above, French electrical outlet/points:
two genders in one...







Euro-UK-US Multi Plug Electrical Adapter
The business end of the multi-adapter...









Electrical adapter for France
French ground prong bypass...





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