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Paris…A Technological Heaven or Hell?

Remember when we simply used the phone booths?
Photo by Erica Simone

Paris…A Technological Heaven or Hell?

Parler Paris Previews…
A Weekly Community Calendar for English-Speaking Paris

Click here for Community Calendar #142

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Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Paris, France

Stay in the fabulous “Le Provençal” Studio
Reserve now — it’s booking up fast!

“Le Provençal” Studio

Located in a very charming and quiet 18th-century building in the heart of Le Marais, this sunny studio is perfect for one or two seeking ultimate Parisian calm, flavored with the beautiful colors of Provence.

Still available April 6th – 15th (departure April 16th) and April 26th – May 6th (departure May 7th)!

Pictures and more details available here: /parlerparis/apartments/rentals/provencal.html


Dear Parler Paris Reader,

Paris can be a technological heaven or hell. In the last few weeks, the pleasures of high speed Internet, hundreds of television channels and free unlimited telephone worldwide have been peppered with the pain of a bureaucratic and complex system. Three new Parisian homeowners have needed our assistance in getting their communications systems operational, and that’s when the fall into the abyss of purgatory began.

I’m not alone in this “Catch 22.” Anyone in Paris who is cyber connected in any way is affected by this twin-edged razor sharp blade.

When Noos cable first came on the scene with high speed Internet in 1998, I signed up without reservation. Now Paris and France benefit from a whole host of companies which offer high speed Internet access with WiFi, cable or satellite television and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol — a.k.a. IP Telephony, Internet telephony, Broadband telephony, Broadband Phone and Voice over Broadband, the routing of voice conversations over the Internet or through any other IP-based network):

* 200 TV channels, 30 Megabits of Broadband, unlimited calls within France. 49.90€/month
* 40 TV channels, 20 Megabits of Broadband, unlimited calls within France plus 23 European, North African and territorial destinations. 29.95€/month
* a “bouquet” of TV channels, 18 Megabits of Broadband, unlimited calls within France (up to 2 hours per call), 100 SMS messages on your Orange phone. 29.90€/month
* 200 TV channels, 28 Megabits of Broadband, unlimited calls to 28 different destinations including the U.S., Canada and Australia. 29.99€/month
* New to the mix! 40 TV channels, 20 Megabits of Broadband, unlimited calls within France, Europe, the U.S. and Canada. 32.90€/month

This all sounds great…and it is, really. For very little money (less than 30 euros), we can be connected with our friends and families at what used to cost hundreds of euros per month. And it’s easy to sign up. Go to any of these sites and with the click of your mouse, you’ll be able to sign away your cyberspacial life, as long as you can provide a “RIB” (relevé identité bancaire — banking details), a home address and an email address.

BUT WARNING! Nothing and I’m mean nothing, is simple.

Remember, Noos is cable, not adsl (via the telephone lines), so your building must be cable-ready and the service can be spotty. As more users clog the lines, the service can become slower and less efficient. Cable lines break down. You may be calling Noos fairly often. But, they’ve been around a long time and there are boutiques where you can actually talk to a real live person! I still keep the service after all these years, just as back-up to the others.

Alice is Telecom Italia. Don’t be fooled by their French Web site and their beautiful young mascot. When you call for service, a recording tells you their lines are busy, call back later and then actually hangs you up. I swear this is true. I lived in this technological hell for

one year until I could “resilié” (cancel) the service. The only way to do that is by registered mail and even that didn’t work very well.

Orange is a product of France Telecom. They are more expensive than the others, but their service is top of the list. They also have boutiques where you can sign up with a real live representative. Only big problem is that phone outside of France is going to cost you…and that’s one big reason we want the VoIP phone, anyway, right?

Free was the leader of the pack in adsl. At the moment, they offer the overall best deal for the price. Service is a cross between Orange and Alice — hot and cold. I have Freebox installed at my home/office, my rental apartment, Le Provençal and have installed it for several clients. Installations has been ridden with problems, but not unlike the others.

I have no experience with Dartybox, although I am loyal to Darty electronics and appliances, thanks to their amazing service. I’d say they are worth a try. Plus, Darty is advertising installation of any of these services for 90€!

If you’re moving to France and want to “abonner” (subscribe) to any of these services, keep in mind that it takes at least three weeks before you will receive your equipment by post (the adsl systems)…and that’s only if you already have a France Telecom line in place. If you don’t, and your telephone line will be subcontracted with France Telecom by the VoIP provider you choose, then allow an extra three weeks for anything to happen.

Be careful to make your selection of “dégroupé” or “non-dégroupé.”

For example, if you choose Freebox dégroupé, then Freebox becomes your primary phone provider and you will no longer have an invoice or service from France Telecom. The “prises” (jacks) throughout your apartment will no longer provide any line of communication — only the one in which your Freebox is connected. The solution to that are multiple phone systems that operate from one jack. (I found a great site that explains this: and at Darty you can buy them easily enough.)

If you choose “non-dégroupé,” you will continue to also have France Telecom service, plus the VoIP phone at your disposal, but you’ll have to add a small adsl filter to each jack with your France Telecom line.

Promise not to laugh when I tell you how connected my household is after all this trial and error?:

1. Noos TV and Internet service since 1998.
2. VoIP phone with a U.S. phone number that is obtainable only from the U.S. and is on 110 current convertor.
3. Freebox Internet and VoIP phone service.
4. Two France Telecom phone lines, one business, one personal.
5. One cell phone for use in France (or anywhere).
6. One cell phone for use in the U.S.

There are two two-line phones that sit on my desk — one for VoIP and one for France Telecom lines. Two cordless phones on the auxiliary desk next to me and a phone in every other room of the apartment. WiFi from both Internet systems, with secured access, of course. (If one goes down, the other kicks in.)

Keeping track of all the phone numbers, answering machines and security codes could make your head spin. And now, while all the battling for cyberspace is going on among these companies and others, the little old city hall of the 3rd arrondissement has made WiFi free arrondissement-wide! Have a look at

Isn’t there a better way to keep life in Paris dreamy? Or are we doomed to these technological nightmares?

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

Express Yourself. Click here to comment on Parler Paris…

P.S. My advice to all of you who are ready to connect…call a technician first who can help explain the differences and then make a careful decision…because once you “abonner,” you’re subscribed for what could seem like eternity. Technicians who speak English can be found advertised in the various classified venues (such as, and I have my favorite, (Tell Toby Adrian sent you.)

Calendar #142
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Paris, France


The Parler Paris Weekly Community Calendar is a partnership with to provide you with the most up-to-date information about upcoming events related to the Anglophone community in Paris.

We gladly run announcements for non-profit organizations. If you wish your community announcement to be listed, please provide the text in ENGLISH just as you’d like it to appear and send it to: [email protected]

We reserve the right to edit as necessary. We cannot promise it will be run if the information is provided in French or if the format is unacceptable. Please use the calendar format as your guide.

Thank you, Adrian

Your move to Paris can be hassle-free


Moving to Paris? Our experienced relocation expert will help make your move easy and hassle-free. We offer complete property consultation and search services…visit
/frenchproperty/consultation/propertyconsultation.html or email [email protected]

French Property Insider Consultation…your complete solution to finding, buying, renovating or renting your new dream home or apartment in France. /frenchproperty/consultation

Hot Property Picks: A Chalet to Call Your Own

This Week in French Property Insider…

*** Les Carroz, Chalet, approx. 250m²

A beautiful, madrier chalet with fantastic views of Les Carroz. The living room, dining area and Savoyard style modern kitchen are open plan with a central open fireplace between the living room and dining area. There are south facing French windows from the living room and dining area providing access directly onto the large garden terraceFPI Subscribers Read On…

Learn how to buy property in France. French Property Insider is an e-mail newsletter from the editors of Parler Paris. Learn all the insights, recommendations, and discoveries about buying and investing in real estate in Paris and France that French Property Insider readers get every week.

To learn more, visit /frenchproperty/insider or go directly to subscribe at /frenchproperty/insider/subscribetofpi.html or email [email protected]

A Naked Lunch at the Beat Hotel…


Excerpt from the Writers Insider Guide to Paris
By Elizabeth Reichart

Allen Ginsberg came to Paris in 1957, 31 years old and already infamously known as the author of Howl. A month before his arrival, the news-making obscenity trial concerning this perverted, sex- and drug-crazed writer out to deride American values, had just ended in favor of the poet “debutant” and “subversif.” After the trial, Ginsberg came to France because he had long been inspired by French literature, had read the avant-garde lit magazines VVV and View, and had been exposed to Artaud, Céline, Apollinaire, and Gide. “I’d walk the Left Bank streets,” he remembered, “thinking that Apollinaire or Rimbaud or Baudelaire had walked down the same streets.” He didn’t, however, let the past drag him from the present – didn’t let it become a “burden” – and got a full bohemian Beat-education from his Paris. For more about the Paris “Beat” scene, see the guide….

Novelists, journalists, poets, dreamers and doers…discover the writing life in Paris. It is possible, click here to find out how…

January 1, 2, 3 from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Whole Apartment of Decorator Furniture for Pennies on the Euro!
40 quai Louis Bleriot (corner rue Degas) Metro Mirabeau or Javel, Paris 75016

Leaving Paris. Buy over 100,000 € worth of furniture, fixtures, and antiques for 20,000 € or buy individual items. These items were all purchased in 2005/6 and barely used. To get a glimpse, visit (apartment Blériot — Vue Seine).

To get a complete listing of furniture email [email protected]

Items include king-size bed, twin beds, sofa bed, dining room table and antique chairs, Louis XV desk, chests and mirrors, wine racks, pots pans, dishes, flat screen TV’s, draperies, Marantz/Bose stereo system, bicycles, cocktail tables, artwork, clocks, and much, much more. Will sell the whole package for 20,000 € or will sell individually. Cash only. To reach owner, dial +33 (0) or +33 (0) or email now. [email protected]

Party Catering Mediterranean Style!

Let Sibel Pi

nto cater your next dinner party Mediterranean style, so you can relax and enjoy entertaining your guests! Visit
/parlerparis/services/index.html for more details.


You can trust the team at Parler Paris Apartments

[email protected]

Welcome to your home in Paris. Home is how you will feel in a private apartment in Paris that has the “seal of approval” from Parler Paris Apartments and me, Adrian Leeds.

Parler Paris Apartments offers high quality accommodations to make your stay in the City of Light as enjoyable and memorable as possible. We at Parler Paris know each and every apartment owner or manager personally, and stand behind the quality of those we represent. We understand your needs and desires, all the small details that make a rental apartment a warm and welcoming home – and a much better alternative to an impersonal hotel!

Parler Paris Apartments is administered and serviced by the same great team as Parler Paris, French Property Insider and French Property Consultation. You can trust that Parler Paris Apartments and all those with whom it is associated will do their best for your 100% guaranteed satisfaction.

Parler Paris Après Midi

Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris:

The next gathering is January 9, 2007

So mark your calendars to be sure not to miss it! See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more details.



Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group

Practice speaking French and English. Make friends, discuss interesting topics, learn about other cultures, progress in understanding and speaking, naturally and easily. Meets three times a week — come as often as you like!

* Tuesdays 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Upstairs at La Pierre du Marais
96, rue des Archives at the corner of rue de Bretagne
3rd arrondissement
Métro Temple, République or Arts et Métier

* Wednesdays 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and
* Saturdays 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

13 passage Dauphine (entrance between rue Dauphine and rue Mazarine), 75006
6th arrondissement
Métro Odéon, Saint-Michel, Pont Neuf


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