Power Outlets in France: What Plugs or Adapters Do You Need?

Elizabeth Harper

Updated on:

In theory, you can use German plugs without an adapter for power outlets in France. However, this is only possible if the plugs have a specific hole. Otherwise, you might need a travel adapter.

At first glance, power outlets in France and Germany do not seem to be different. Some outlets (Type C) have only two holes, which can also accommodate German flat plugs. If they do not have a recess, they can also accept the thicker “Schuko plugs.” However, the larger French power outlets, which have a contact for grounding (protective grounding), differ significantly from German outlets. We are accustomed to power outlets having two holes and contacts on the sides for the grounding wire. The latter is completely absent in France. Instead, a pin emerges from the French power outlet. This contact fits into a special hole in French plugs. German plugs can only be inserted into such outlets if they have this hole (now you also know why some of your plugs have this hole).

## Types of “France Adapters” Available

If you only use flat plugs (e.g., chargers for mobile phones), you do not need any adapters for power outlets in France. However, for the thick, round Schuko plugs commonly found on power strips, you will probably need an adapter. This depends on whether the plug of your device has a hole or not. Computer cables and notebook power adapters often have such a hole. In that case, you do not need an adapter. Typical adapters for power outlets in France have a plug with the necessary hole on one side and look like our German outlets on the other side. However, when purchasing, you should be attentive and maybe invest a few extra euros. There are, namely, adapters for France that have the hole but do not use it to secure the plug. You should avoid such adapters! The grounding wire is not without reason on the devices and serves your personal safety. Therefore, try to buy an adapter that accepts the plug contact of the French power outlet and connects it to the grounding clips of the German plug. A good example is the Bachmann Travel Adapter France, available on Amazon for around 10.50 euros, which also grounds your German plugs properly. As an alternative, you can also purchase a universal travel adapter for around 16 euros, which can be used in around 150 countries. It can also be used in countries like the United States and Canada, as well as with old outlets in Greece or Italy. Additionally, this adapter has two USB charging ports. Since both options are not exactly cheap, it is recommended to bring a power strip from Germany, ideally one that already has the necessary hole in the plug. Otherwise, a simple adapter for French power outlets will suffice, and the devices can then be connected to the power strip.

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