Should you bring an electric plug adapter or power voltage converter on your trip to Paris? And if so, what is the best power adapter and converter for France?
If you are like many travelers to Paris or elsewhere in France, you may be wondering: How do I charge my iPhone(or Android) and laptop? What about my hair dryer? My electric shaver? Do I need a special US/Canada-to-France (or other country to France) adapter or converter to use my electronics in Paris?
First, a couple of quick definitions:
- Aelectrical outlet adapter lets you insert electric plugs from your country into wall sockets in the country you're visiting.Adapters can be necessary when you travel because the electric plugs (and outlets) in the country you visit may have a different shape from those in your own country. In fact, 14 different power outlet types are in use around the world. For example, if you live in the U.S., Canada, Japan, or a couple of other countries where electric plugs have two flat blade prongs for ungrounded devices plus perhaps a round prong for grounded devices (Types A and B) and you visit Paris or anywhere else in France, you'll discover electrical sockets with holes for two round prongs (ungrounded - Type C) plus perhaps one round prong (grounded - Type E). So by using a U.S. to Paris adapter, you can fit a plug of one shape into a socket of a different shape.The best type of electrical outlet adapter to buy for use in Paris and elsewhere in France is Type E, because it accommodates both grounded and ungrounded devices.
- An electric power converter (sometimes called a transformer or voltage converter) lets you use an electrical device designed for 110-127 volts in a country where 220-240V electricity is the norm - and vice-versa. For example, in the U.S. (and a few other countries), 110-127 volt electricity is used for most products such as televisions and chargers for your phone and other electronics. If you travel from a 110-127V country to a 220-240V country and bring electrical devices that do not have a built-in converter, then you will need a converter - but don't worry, this is built into most modern electronics such as a computers and phones. (In 110-127V countries such as the U.S., a few high-powered appliances such as ovens and larger dryers do require a 220-volt power with 15, 20, or 30 amps and use specific plug types and outlets for the amount of amps - but since you're not going to be packing one of these appliances into your suitcase, no need to worry about whether or not you need an electric power for them.)
If you're planning to charge or use your mobile phone, electric shaver, hair dryer, laptop, or other electrical device by plugging it into an electrical outlet and are traveling to Paris from the U.S., Canada, Australia, China, Japan, or any other country where electric plugs and outlets differ from those used in France, then yes, you will need a plug adapter.
Fortunately, adapters are cheap, light to carry, and easy to get while you're still in your home country. But don't wait to get one until you're in Paris or elsewhere in France, because the configuration you need - US-(or other country)-to-Paris adapter - can be toughto find. (But if you need a Paris-to-other-country adapter, no problem!)
Popular brands include Ceptics, Vintar, and Tessan.
Already know what you want? Buy top-rated adapters online now from Amazon (#ad):
- The Best Cheap Adapters: Ceptics Ultra-Compact Europe Travel Plug Adapter. Premium quality at a cheap price. Buy a pack of three
- The Best Multi-Plug Adapter: TESSAN International Outlet Adapter with 4 Outlets. Ideal for using multiple devices when your hotel has limited electrical outlets. Buy a 2-pack now
- The Best Multi-Device Adapter:VINTAR European Travel Plug Adapter with 2 American/Canadian Plug Outlets, 1 USB C Port, & 3 USB Ports. Charge up to 6 devices at once with this light-weight and compact 6-in-1 adapter! Buy a 2-pack now
What about an electrical power converter?
If youlive in a country with 100-127V electrical power such as the US, Canada, Japan, or a few other places in the Caribbean, South America, and Asia/South Pacific, you may also need an electric power converter when you travel to Paris (230V) or elsewhere in France (or most other places in the world), depending on the specific devices you plan to bring.
Fortunately, most modern electronic devices such as laptops, phone chargers, and tablets such as iPads run on either voltage thanks to built-in voltage converters/transformers.
Other appliances such as hair dryers, hair straighteners, heating pads, and shavers may have dual voltage switches for you to set manually.
For any remaining devices,a couple of strategies can help you avoid the expense of buying a converteras well as the hassle of carrying the extra weight of this relatively heavy device in your suitcase.
We'll walk you through everything you need to know about how to get what you need, including determining if you need to bring an adapter or two with you on your trip to Paris, where to buy the best typefor French electric power adapter, how to determine if you need to bring a converter, how to avoid buying a converter, and what features to look for in a converter if you really do need to buy one.
Top photo: Travel adapters for Paris & elsewhere in France
Please note: Some links on this page go to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, ParisDiscoveryGuide.com earns from qualifying purchases.
Why Do I Need to Bring an Electric Plug Adapter to Paris?
With 14 different types of wall plugs and sockets in use around the world, you'll need an adapter to connect to electric power whenever you visit a country where the plug/socket shapes differ from thosewhere you live.
Once you know the type of plug your electric devices use and the type of electrical sockets used in Paris, France, and any other countries where you're traveling, figuring out the kind of adapter you need is easy because each type of socket and plug is associated with a letter from A to N:
Here are a few examples of the types of plugs/sockets used around the world:
- United States, Canada, Japan, Columbia, Taiwan: Type A (ungrounded) and Type B (grounded)
- France, Belgium: Type C(ungrounded), Type E (grounded)
- United Kingdom, Ireland, Kenya: Type G
- China: Type A, Type C, Type I
- Israel: Type C, Type H, Type M
- South Africa: Type C, Type D, Type M, Type N
- Germany, Korea, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Spain, Netherlands, Indonesia: Type C, Type F
- Australia and New Zealand: Type I
Although "universal" sockets designed to accommodate plugs from multiple countries do exist, relatively few Paris hotels have them - so in most places, you'll need an adapter.
If you want to charge or plug in more than one device at a time, consider bringing two or more adapters.
You can also buy adapters with more than one socket and with USB ports to connect phones, tables, and other electronic devices, as well as sockets for charging cables.
Some adapters provide only USB ports and no plug sockets - so think about what you'll really need based on the devices you're bringing. For example, laptops usually require an adapter with a socket.
A small but growing number of Paris hotels, especially those with four or five stars, now provide combo electric sockets and USB plugs near desk areas, or grounded versions in the bathrooms. But don't count on it - bring what you need.
If you're also visiting other countries with different plug/socket types, you may need additional adapters.
Will My Paris Hotel or Apartment Provide Plug Adapters?
Many Paris hotelsdo provide adapters to their guests to use during their stay, especially if you're staying in a 4-star or higher hotel. Many 3-star hotels will also provided them on request. If you're staying at a 5-star hotel, you can feel assured your hotel will provide the type of adapter you need - although it never hurts to touch base with them before you arrive just to let them know what your needs will be.
More about what the star ratings used by Paris hotels actually mean
However .. . you can't always count on your hotel having an adapter for your plug/socket type available.On average, apartments are much less likely to provide adapters, except for luxury properties.
You are always wise to bring your own adaptersin order to avoid the hassle of not having one when you need it, or worse, trying to buy one locally.
Where Can I Buy Plug Adapters for My Trip to Paris, France?
The easiest way to find the type of adapter you need is to shop online. For example, if you live in the US or Canada and plan to visit Paris, you need an adapter with sockets to fit Type A/B plugs and prongs to connect to the Type C/E sockets used in France.
Adapters for US Plugs and French Sockets from Amazon:
Here are top-rated American to European plug adaptors offered online by Amazon for you to use in Paris (and elsewhere in France) with American or Canadian plugs (#ad):
- The Best Basic Adapter: Ceptics Ultra-Compact Europe Travel Plug Adapter. This light-weight but solid USA/Canada-to-France Type C power plug adapter offers premium quality at a cheap price. Buy a pack of three
- The Best Multi-Plug Adapter: TESSAN International Outlet Adapter with 4 Outlets. These compact American to European plug adapters accept three 2-prong and one 2-or-3prong US and Canadian plugs - ideal for using multiple devices when your hotel has limited electrical outlets. Buy a 2-pack now
- The Best Multi-Device Adapter:VINTAR European Travel Plug Adapter with 2 American/Canadian Plug Outlets, 1 USB C Port, & 3 USB Ports. You can charge up to 6 devices at once with this light-weight and compact 6-in-1 adapter - ideal when you need to charge your laptop, phone, iPad, and up to 3 other things all at the same time. Buy a 2-pack now
More toKnow about US/Canadian Plugs & French Sockets
US Plugs: A Type A plug has only 2 flat prongs and is ungrounded, while a Type B plug has the same two flat prongs plus a round prong and is grounded. If you're bringing devices with Type B plugs, buy an adapter with a socket for Type B plugs, because Type A plugs will also fit.
French Sockets: A Type C sockethas 2 round holes to accept a plug with 2 round prongs, and is ungrounded. A Type E socket has 2 roundholes (like Type C) but also has a round prong, and is grounded. Type E sockets will accept ungrounded 2-prong Type C plugs, which have rounded or pointed ends like the one in the diagram above,as well as 2-prong 1-hole Type E plugs.
Although you can buy Type A to Type C adapters, always be sure the ends are rounded or pointed rather than square. Modern French sockets are recessed (you can see this in the above diagram) and square-ended adapters will not usually fit into them. If you see square-ended adapters labeled for use in "Europe," they will work in some European countries but possibly not in France. So before you buy an adapter, make sure its packaging states it will work in France.
You can also buy a "universal" adapter - but make sure its labeling states it will work inthe countries you plan to visit. By definition, "universal" should mean it will work everywhere . . . but that's not always true.
Where Can I Buy Plug Adapters in Paris?
The Paris store most likely to have whatever type of adapter you need is Relay, but there's a catch - they're located primarily in train stations such as Gare du Nord and Gare Saint-Lazare, and in airports, such as Roissy-Charles de Gaulle (you may have to search around a bit for one after you get through Customs - depending on your terminal, you may need to go up or down a floor.
Large Paris electronic stores such as Fnac (74 Avenue des Champs-Elysees, 75008 and other locations), neighborhood hardware stores such as Mr Bricolage and Castorama (many locations across Paris), and even the hardware section in the basement of the large BHV department store (55 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004) in the Marais usually sell adapters.
However... most of the adapters you find will be for French residents planning to travel to other countries, and therefore the opposite of what you need. So be smart: bring adapters with you. You don't want to spend your time in Paris shopping in hardware stores for something you could have easily have bought online from Amazon before leaving home.
Why Do I Need to Bring a Converter to Paris?
Good news - you may not need to, depending on what you're bringing, even if you live in a country where 100-127 volt electricity is the norm.
Laptops, Tablets, Mobile Phone Chargers - No Converter Needed
Virtually all modern electronics such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phone chargers have auto-switching voltage converter/transformers (often called "power adapters") built into their power supply or charger.
As long as you have an adapter to let you plug into a local electric outlet, you should be fine. But if in doubt, check on the bottom of your charger. You should see tiny print stating something similar to "Input: 100-240v 50/60/hz."
Other Electric Devices - Shavers, Hair Driers, Curling Irons, Toothbrushes, Heating Pads - Maybe Dual Voltage?
First, virtually all 3-star and higher Paris hotels have hair dryers for you to use during your stay, so no need to bring one. Many apartments also have them. If you're staying at a 1-or 2-star hotel (or a really cheap apartment), check to make sure a hair dryer will be available - although you can't assume it works.
For all other devices you plan to bring, you will need to check the device's voltage.
If you can pull up specs for the exact model on the internet or find it in the user's manual, that's usually easiest and quickest.
Otherwise, look for tiny type somewhere on the device - usually the bottom or plug - where you'll find the inputvoltage.
If you see dual voltagelisted, check to see ifthere's a switch where you must change it manually - for example, from 110v to 220v. If so, make a note on your trip check list to flip the voltage switch to 220v when you pack for your trip, and then flip it back to 110v when you pack to leave Paris. If you wait to flip until you arrive in Paris or return home, the fog of jet lag may cause you to forget to do it. Plugging a 110v hairdryer into a 220v outlet will fry it before you notice what's happening. (Don't ask us how we know this!)
Bottom line: As long as your device has dual voltage and you remember to switch it manually if necessary, you don't need to get a converter.
What to Do When Your Electric Devices Are NOT Dual Voltage
If you're planning to bring something that is not dual voltage, then you have three choices: you can either replace it with a similar dual voltage model, leave it at home, or buy and bring a converter/transformer.
Assuming you can't do without whatever the device is, the easier option is to buy and bring a dual voltage model. Especially if your device is more than 2-3 year old, you may need to replace it soon anyway - so do it now, and avoid the cost of a converter, not to speak of the extra weight in your bag.
For some itemssuch as electric heating pads, dual voltagemodels may be hard to findor expensive. In that case, look for a 220v-only model - they're usually surprisingly cheap.
For others, such as electric toothbrushes, dual voltage modelsare available but typically quite expensive. Assuming you don't need a converter for anything else, consider bringing an inexpensive regular toothbrush and leaving your electric model at home unless you're planning a very long trip or have been told by your dentist to always use an electric brush.
If you do decide to buy a converter, look for a "step-down" model. "Step-down" means that when you plug the converter into a 220v outlet, it converts the 220v/240v electricity down to only 110v/120v so that you can safely plug in your 110v/120v device - which is what you want if you're traveling from the US, Canada, Japan, or the few other places with 100v/110v power to France (or most other places around the world with 220/240v power). The good news is that converter prices andweight have dropped in recent years, andmost models come with adapters.
Here are a couple ofhighly-rated "step-down" converters that you can buy online from Amazon (#ad):
- The Best All-in-1 Step-Down Converter/Adapter: Ceptics Travel Voltage Converter 220v to 110v for Curling Irons, Straighteners- 2 US/Canada inputs and 4 USB Ports and Type A, B, C, E/F, G, I Adapters Included - Charge up to 6 devices at once. Buy now
- The Best Inexpensive Step-Down All-in-1 Sine Wave Converter/Adapter: Bestek Travel Adapter-Converter Combo 220v to 110v - 1 US/Canada input, 2 USB ports, and 5 different adapters included - Charge up to 3 devices at once. Buy now
Built-in Dual Voltage Outlets
Some hotels (mostly 4-star and higher) have begun to install dual voltage outlets with built-in converters and often with more or less universal adapters. These wall plug converts are relatively rare and are oftenonly in the bathroom - but may be a future trend?
As for now, don't count on either your hotel or apartment having one.
FAQs about Travel Adapters & Converters
Question: Can I use the same electrical travel adapter and converter that I bring to Paris for other countries I plan to visit in Europe?
Answer: Maybe.You can use the same electrical travel adapter and converter for Europe if the other countries you're visiting use the same plug types and outlets as France (check the diagram above to make sure). And remember, if you're visiting a country where the plugs and electrical outlets differfrom France, you will be smart to get adapters before you travel in case your hotel doesn't have one. Finding exactly what you need in a local store can be difficult, time-consuming, and sometimes impossible.
You should be fine with your electricity converter for Europe because as far as we are aware, the only countries using 110-127V electricity in addition to the U.S. and Canada are not in Europe. They include American Samoa, Anguilla,Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, Brazil, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Equador, El Salvador,Guam, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Japan, Liberia, the Marshall Islands, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saba, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Surinam, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Venequela, and the British Virgin Islands.
But contact the hotels in the countries where you're going to be 100% sure.
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What type of adapter do I need for Paris? ›
The best type of electrical outlet adapter to buy for use in Paris and elsewhere in France is Type E, because it accommodates both grounded and ungrounded devices.What kind of travel adapter do I need for France? ›
France travel adaptors
For France there are two associated plug types, types C and E. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type E is the plug which has two round pins and a hole for the socket's male earthing pin. France operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Voltage converter needed in France? In France the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You can't use your electric appliances in France without a voltage converter, because the standard voltage in France (230 V) is higher than in the United States of America (120 V).Will my phone charger work in France? ›
No, the electrical outlets in France accept 2 round pins. You need a plug adapter that plugs into the wall socket, then your plug goes into that.Do iPhone chargers need a converter? ›
Apple iPhones are dual voltage and do not require a converter. Your iPhone will work anywhere in the world with the correct country adapter.Are Type C and F plugs interchangeable? ›
The Type C plug (also called the Europlug) has two round pins. The pins are 4 to 4.8 mm wide with centers that are spaced 19 mm apart; the plug fits any socket that conforms to these dimensions. It also fits into Type E, F, J, K or N sockets that often replace the Type C socket.Do you need a voltage converter to charge iPhone in France? ›
All Apple charging products are universal, world-wide. And all USB standards are universal, world-wide. So you can use any Apple charger anywhere, and any other quality USB power source.Will my iPhone charger work in Europe? ›
Fortunately, the iPhone's power adapter was designed for international use, so it can withstand a wide range of voltages. However, consider purchasing a plug adapter, as some wall outlets in foreign countries have different prong designs.Do US plugs work in France? ›
If you are from America travelling to France you will need to use a plug adapter to fit a US plug into a French power outlet. As the voltage is different in France bring a power converter if your device or appliance isn't dual voltage and ensure that it is compatible with a 50hz power outlet.Can I use my US cell phone in France? ›
Virtually all modern smartphones (iPhone 7 and newer) are compatible with Europe's mobile infrastructure and every major US carrier has international data plans — so your smartphone should automatically work once you arrive in Europe because the major US carriers have partnerships with local European carriers.
How do I charge my American iPhone in Europe? ›
Use the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit
The Apple World Travel Adapter Kit works with any Apple USB, USB-C, or MagSafe power adapter that has a removable AC wall adapter (also known as a duckhead). Just slide the duckhead off, then attach the adapter for your country or region.
The Type D electrical plug is also known as the Old British Plug. It has three large round pins in a triangular configuration, and may be found in countries that were originally electrified by the British.Do I need a converter or just an adapter? ›
In summary, if you are traveling to a foreign country, you will most likely need to bring along an adapter. However, you only need a converter if your appliances are not dual voltage and not compatible with the electricity in your destination country.How can I charge my iPhone without USB-C adapter? ›
Unlike most new Android phones, Apple has not fully transitioned the iPhone to USB-C—which typically provides faster charging speeds—so the iPhone 14 still includes the typical Lightning charge port. This means you can use an existing Lightning cable and traditional USB-A wall adapter to charge.What is the difference between a converter and an adapter? ›
The big difference between an adapter and a converter is electricity. While the purpose of an adapter is to simply help the plugs on your electronics fit into (or more aptly, adapt to the shape of) foreign outlets, a converter's job is to change the voltage found in an outlet to match that of your devices.What does a Type F adapter look like? ›
The Type F electrical plug (also known as a Schuko plug) has two 4.8 mm round pins spaced 19 mm apart. It is similar to the Type E plug but has two earth clips on the side rather than a female earth contact.What does a Type F outlet look like? ›
The Type F plug and outlet is much like the Type E, except it has two earth clips on the side rather than a female earth contact. It is commonly known as a “Schuko” plug, from the invented German word “Schukostecker” which means “protective contact plug.Which countries use C and F adapters? ›
- Type A - Canada, United States, Japan, and Mexico.
- Type B - Canada, United States, and Mexico.
- Type C - widely used throughout Asia, Europe, and South America.
- Type D - India.
- Type E - Belgium, Czechia, France, Poland, and Slovakia.
- Type F - Commonly used in Europe and Russia.
- Use The Electrical Outlet At The Phone Charging Stations And Kiosks. ...
- Free Device Charging While You Cycle (Electrical Outlet) ...
- Use A Case That Has A Built-In Charger. ...
- Carry Around An External Battery.
To know whether your appliance or smart device will work in Europe with just an adapter, look for a sticker or a printed area on the item or its AC adapter that states something like “Voltage: 110.” In the case of dual voltage devices, the phrase “110–220V” will be printed somewhere on the item or its plug.
Does Apple provide charger in France? ›
Apple has confirmed it no longer provides customers with complimentary EarPods in the box with every iPhone sold in France, citing the environmental benefits of having a thinner iPhone box thanks to the lack of a charger and earphones.How do I charge my American phone in Europe? ›
You need a European plug adapter to use with your wall charger so that you can plug it into a wall outlet in Italy or elsewhere in Europe (except the UK). There are all kinds of "World Plug Adapters," ranging from basic ones that are simple but would do the job, to sophisticated but pricier ones.Can I charge my phone in Europe without a converter? ›
Do I Need an Adapter in Europe? The simplest answer is yes! You always need to purchase the correct plug adapter for the country in Europe you're traveling to. Your American device or gadget will not fit in any European electrical socket.What devices need a converter in Europe? ›
Some older appliances have a voltage switch marked 110 (US) and 220 (Europe) — switch it to 220 as you pack. Even older devices (and some handheld gaming systems) aren't equipped to deal with the voltage difference — you'll need a separate, bulky converter.What does a Type E plug look like? ›
The Type E plug has two round pins (diameter 4.8mm, centers spaced 19mm apart) and a hole for the earth pin. The Type E plug is round, and the Type E socket has a round recess. Note: The CEE 7/7 plug can be used with both Type E and Type F sockets.Will my US phone charger work in Europe? ›
But since most modern gadgets are "dual voltage" — meaning they work on both American and European current — these days most travelers don't need to do anything more than pack a few inexpensive plug adapters.Do I need a converter to charge my cell phone in Europe? ›
Do I Need an Adapter in Europe? The simplest answer is yes! You always need to purchase the correct plug adapter for the country in Europe you're traveling to. Your American device or gadget will not fit in any European electrical socket.Can I use my US charger in Europe? ›
In the U.S., and in fact everywhere in North America, the standard voltage is 110 V (with a frequency of 60 Hz) rather than the 220 volts used in Europe. European plugs are not compatible with American electrical sockets. In order to plug in your electric appliances, you will need a plug adapter or a converter.Can I charge my US cell phone in Europe? ›
Portable electronics, such as cell phones and laptops, typically support the full range of voltages used throughout the world -- both 110-120V (used in the United States) and 220-240V (used in most other countries).