Carte Bleue and French Cellphones

ZTE Blade
This is the follow up to "Opening A French Bank Account." On the previous post I described how easy and quick it was opening a bank account in France but I have to say that the process to obtain the carte bleue (debit card) was anything but fast.
Since I didn't have my landlord's electricity bill at the time, the bank had to send a letter to my apartment to prove that I live in the address I provided. And since I wasn't there at the time the mail man came, they left a slip in my mailbox and I had to go pick up the letter at the post office. Unfortunately I didn't understand that and thought I was good to go, so the following day I went to BNP Paribas thinking I could get my card with just the coupon to retrieve it but it hadn't been approved and was told to go to the post office to pick up and sign the letter and come back on Friday. I went back on Friday but the card hadn't been approved and I was told to come back yet again on Tuesday (today) and finally after 2 weeks of waiting I got my carte bleue! The process was long due to my confusion but if you bring all the necessary paperwork to open a bank account you should get your carte bleue a lot faster than I did, just like a friend of mine did.

And as for the cellphone, getting a cellphone was a pain in the ass! I'm not even going to sugar coat it. There are so many plans and companies. Then there are companies like Phone House which has a bunch of phones and plans from different companies under one roof- yeah, it can get confusing especially if you're used to just going to one place (Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile) to get a phone. I did my fair share of visiting different companies, grabbing the booklets at stores, and doing my research on the internet on the plans.

First of all there  is carte prépayées (pre-paid), forfait bloqués (blocked contract), and forfait (contract). What differs a forfait bloqué from a regular forfait is that the forfait bloqué is very student/young people friendly because there is no worrying about going over- once you reached your limit that's it and you won't get charged extra! But you have the option of buying a prepaid card and add extra calling/SMS if you'd like. From doing my research my conclusion was that getting a forfait bloqué was a better option than prepaid. Why? Because with the forfait bloqué you get the option of a couple phones for 1€ and you don't have to worry about using up your credit or having to buy more if you've used them all up. I decided to go with Universal Music Mobile which works with Bouygues.

My plan has 1h of calls, unlimited SMS, unlimited internet (once you reach 250MB you can still use it but it'll just be slower), unlimited access to Bouygue's wifi, and music. The plan is 18,90€ for the first two months and then its 22,90€/month. The main reason why I chose this plan was because of the unlimited SMS/internet because as you can tell I'm a little bit of a social media freak. As for the phone I decided to go with the ZTE Blade which wasn't 1€ but it was the cheapest Android phone that they offered and I figured if I can go to H&M or another store and spend the 29,80€ on clothes, why can't I spend them on a good quality phone that I will use a lot? So far its great but obviously not everyone is a social networking person so this plan and phone might not be for everyone. Finally to get a phone contract with Bouygues all I needed was my passport, my RIB, and the carte bleue.

My advice is to do your research and take your needs into consideration, don't get the same plan just because people from your exchange program are getting it.

Also be aware that you will have to cancel the plan if you have to fly back before the one year plan is over. Send the company a letter about a month or two before you leave because it is a long process.


  1. I swear, aren't phone plans in Europe more reasonable than the ones here in America? It makes me angry lol.

  2. Nicole: YES! Especially for a smart phone! The U.S. should take a note from Europe when it comes to cellphone plans.