by David Applefield
When you have found your apartment and are ready to move in, keep in mind that the electricity and gas will probably have been turned off. Contact your local EDF-GDF office (Electricité de France/Gaz de France) to reactivate the service. Bring proof of address-your rental agreement, for example. And make sure to take the meter reading as you move in to avoid being charged for previous tenant´s bills. You might need these to avoid paying for renters before or after you as well as proof in the case of dispute over cost of electric and gas.
To obtain a telephone, call renseignements téléphoniques (information-dial 1014) to find out at which France-Télécom office in your arrondissement you must make your request. The surest bet to have the service and number activated is to go in person.
If you can bring the former tenant or at least his or her last bill with you, you might facilitate matters. This usually happens with one or two days. You may rent on of many snazzy models of phones or you may purchase your own.
Similarly, you will be offered a Minitel, instead of phonebooks. Take it, it´s essential. If there is already a phone line, the landlord may insist that you list the number under your name, which is a smart move, since you would not want to pay for the previous tenant´s calls, making your first bill an unpleasant surprise. If the phone is under the landlord or previous tenant´s name, your access to 00 (international calls) may be blocked.
If you are sharing the apartment with other people, it is always best to restrict the phone to local calls. You can request a special service that gives you an access code from any phone. You dial 3610 and your code, followed by the number and the day. The call will appear on your bill. For four people calling internationally, it is not uncommon to have bills up to 6,000 FF (,100 US) or more. As an alternative, reserve long-distance calls for your télécarte (see Communications), so you can gage how much you are spending, since it is more costly to telephone from France than from North America or Asia.
Consider luxurious and affordable timeshare properties the next time you need a place to sleep in Paris. Spacious and fully furnished, timeshares allow you to enjoy great comfort at an inexpensive price.