Messaging • Last Updated 1/25/2024

How to text France: An SMS communication guide

This guide provides helpful tips for texting in France. Learn how to send text messages to France and avoid common mistakes.

By Adeniyi Makinde

Are you struggling to send text messages to France? Sending text messages (also called SMS) to France is easy, but it requires attention to detail to ensure your message gets delivered. Understanding the nuances of texting to France, from phone number formats to country codes and compliance regulations, is crucial for anyone looking to communicate effectively via SMS, whether for personal connections or business communications.

Sending a text to France

French phone numbers typically consist of 10 digits (and sometimes longer depending on the area code), including the country code (+33). The format includes the country code, followed by a one or two-digit area code, and then the subscriber's number. For example, a Parisian phone number might be formatted as +33 1 23 45 67 89, where "1" represents the Paris area code.

When texting from outside France, start with the country code (+33), followed by the area code (without the leading zero) and the subscriber's number.

French phone number formatting

French phone numbers are structured in a specific way. The country code for France is +33. After the country code, the area code (1 or 2 digits) and the subscriber's number (8 or 7 digits) follow. The area codes differ based on regions and cities.

For instance, a number in Marseille might be formatted as +33 4 91 23 45 67, where "4" is the area code for the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, and "91" is specific to Marseille.

French country code

The country code for France is +33. This code is essential when sending text messages from outside France. To dial a French number from abroad, replace the leading zero of the area code with the country code. For example, to text a number like 01 23 45 67 89, you would dial +33 1 23 45 67 89.

Once you’ve formatted the French phone number correctly, you can enter it into the "Recipient" field on your messaging app and send your message. Again, including the country code is essential. Otherwise, your message may not be delivered to the recipient in France.

Staying compliant while texting France

When sending text messages in France, it's essential to comply with the country's specific regulatory framework to avoid legal issues. France has comprehensive laws and regulations governing SMS messaging, which are enforced by authorities such as the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) and the Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et des Postes (ARCEP). These organizations are responsible for ensuring that SMS messaging practices respect privacy rights and adhere to national standards.

Under French regulations, businesses are required to obtain explicit consent from individuals before sending them SMS messages. This consent must be freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous. Records of this consent must be kept as proof. Sending unsolicited text messages, especially for marketing purposes, is strictly against the law, and businesses violating these rules may face significant penalties.

Additionally, all SMS messages sent must include a clear and easy way for recipients to opt out of receiving future messages. Failure to provide an effective opt-out mechanism can result in substantial fines and legal consequences. It is crucial for businesses to stay informed about the latest developments in French SMS messaging laws to ensure they remain compliant and avoid potential legal challenges.

5 steps to send a text to France

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of formatting guidelines and regulatory compliance, you're ready to send your first text message to France. Follow these steps to dispatch your message:

  1. Inspect the number to ensure it's in the correct format.
  2. Make sure to include France’s country code (+33).
  3. Input the correctly-formatted number into the "Recipient" field.
  4. Ensure your message complies with any local or international regulations when sending texts to France.
  5. Compose and send your message.

Best practices for texting French numbers

For businesses texting in France, compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is essential. This requires obtaining explicit consent from recipients before sending SMS messages. French culture appreciates direct yet polite communication, so messages should be straightforward but respectful. Ideal messaging hours are between 9am and 8pm local time.

Some customer-facing SMS best practices are the same, regardless of your customers’ locations. For example, businesses should always use clear and concise language when crafting their messages. Messages should be brief and to the point, focusing on conveying the message in as few characters as possible while still making it easy to understand. It's also important to keep messages under 160 characters, as this is the technical limit for SMS messaging.

In addition to these recommendations, businesses should register their sender IDs with the appropriate authorities to prevent their messages from being blocked or marked as spam. They should also comply with France’s strict regulations around SMS spam and privacy by ensuring they’re not sending unwanted messages and collecting and using customer data in compliance with France’s data protection laws.

To avoid delivery issues, businesses should double-check phone numbers before sending messages. By following these best practices, businesses can increase the chances of their messages being delivered successfully and avoid any potential legal issues.

Choosing the right greeting for your text message to France

In France, the greeting in a text message is crucial for setting the right tone and engaging effectively with the recipient. The choice of greeting should reflect the context and the audience.

For formal communications, use greetings like "Cher/Chère [Name]" (Dear [Name]) or "Bonjour [Name]" (Good day [Name]). For instance, “Chère Marie,” or “Bonjour Pierre.” These greetings are respectful and professional.

For informal messages, "Salut" (Hi) or "Coucou" (Hey) are more relaxed and friendly, suitable for conversations with friends or close acquaintances.

Consider the relationship with the recipient: a formal greeting for new or professional contacts, and an informal one for those you know well.

Text France: how to get started

With these tips and recommendations, you're ready to send SMS messages to France with confidence. Whether you're sending a personal message or business communication, understanding the formatting and regulatory compliance is essential to ensure your message gets delivered.

If you’re looking for more guidance on global texting, Telnyx’s team of experts can help you navigate the complexities of international communication. Telnyx is a next-gen communications platform that offers a global private IP network, multi-cloud redundancy, and carrier-grade services. Our developer-friendly SMS API and intelligent features make it easy to build messaging capabilities into your existing apps. We also offer support and guidance to help you grow and scale your business.

With competitive pricing and a wide variety of phone numbers in over 140 countries, Telnyx provides cost-effective messaging solutions with unmatched expertise. Our deliverability reports help businesses optimize their messaging campaigns, while easy implementation and a complete set of features make it easy to get started.

Contact our experts today to learn how we can help your business communicate effectively with contacts in France and 140+ other countries.

Note: This is not legal advice. Consult your legal team and the appropriate regulatory authorities before beginning an SMS message campaign in France.
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