Smart old me. Before I left the US, I verified that my old iPhone 5 could not be used in Europe, so I left the phone for the grandkids. Proceeded to buy a new unlocked iPhone 6, thinking the minute I was over the French border, I’d get a French cell number and that would be that.
My research showed that Orange has the best coverage in France, so off we went to the store in old town Bergerac. Hot day. No air-con. A line almost out the door. Chaos at best. And so we milled around and finally figured out that there was a girl with an iPad “taking names.” We communicated with her that we wanted a cell contract for my iPhone and then we waited. An hour and a half later, we finally got to the only English speaking sales person and he informed us that we needed proof of living in France before they could issue a contract. They wanted a utility bill. We’re renting with utilities included, so he said they would accept our rental agreement. So home we went.
In a few days, we ventured out again with our rental contract and passports in hand. At least we had some good lunches in Bergerac along the way. Second trip, we had an “appointment” so only had to wait about 20 minutes to see our guy. Sat down, figured out the plan we wanted, filled in all the screens for the contract, then gave him our credit card with the IBAN number. Too many numbers. What is this? Holy crap. Ah, it’s a card from our German bank. Oh no, you have to have a card from a French bank. Shit. So home we went.
Asked around about opening a bank account and our English-speaking realtor took us over to her bank and made an appointment to see an English-speaking gal there the next week. And so we showed up yesterday and applied for our French bank account. Went back this morning with some missing paperwork and got our account nailed down. Whew! Then off to Bergerac one more time (this time with a side trip through the medieval town of Issigeac for lunch).
Got parked one more time, traipsed down to the Orange store, and again stood in line for an interminable half hour or so. Our apologetic sales guy seemed happy to see us. Go figure! We filled out all the questions on the screen again, he scanned all our documents, got a new SIMM card, and ‘Voila,’ I had a working cell phone again.
A month and a half without a phone didn’t kill me, but I’m happy to now be armed with my French translator! We have free calls to all of Europe and the US for less than half I was paying to Verizon! At least there’s some good news in this long tale.
P.S. If you want to talk, just email or message me and I can call you from here. Just remember that we’re 9 hours ahead of PST.