- commonly used in Europe, South America & Asia
- 2 pins
- not grounded
- 2.5 A, 10 A & 16 A
- almost always 220 – 240 V
- socket compatible with plug type C
What is the mains voltage in France?
Just like the rest of Europe, the voltage in France is 230 volts and the frequency is 50 Hz.
France has standardized on type E sockets and plugs. Type C and type F plugs can also be used thanks to their compatibility with type E sockets. However, it is not permitted to install type C nor type F wall outlets. But why is that?
Typically, type C plug sockets are not allowed to be installed in France: these outlets are not earthed and are therefore considered dangerous. Only type E power points are permitted because they are grounded and therefore significantly safer.
The only (and rare) exception to this rule, is that an old type C outlet should be replaced by a new one. After all, if you hook up a grounded wall outlet (i.e. type E) on a two-wire circuit, the socket will not be grounded, but people will get the impression that it actually is grounded. No need to say, this is a potentially dangerous situation.
Nowadays, however, type C receptacles are not frequently installed anymore, since older properties are almost always completely rewired when they are renovated or significantly altered.
In the past, type E plugs and sockets were incompatible with type F. The reason for the initial incompatibility was that grounding in the type E socket is accomplished with a round male pin, which is permanently mounted in the socket.
Old type F plugs did not have a grounding hole to accept the earth pin of the type E socket. Old type E plugs, on the other hand, did not have top and bottom indentations with earthing clips to mate with the type F socket. Moreover, old type E plugs were perfectly round and lacked a necessary pair of plastic notches on the left and right side to fit the type F socket.
Fortunately, the now standard hybrid E/F plug (officially called CEE 7/7) was developed in order to bridge the differences between E and F sockets.
It is not allowed to install type F sockets in French properties, even though they are equally safe and 100% compatible with type C and type E plugs. The reason is economic: France wants to protect its own domestic receptacle manufacturers. Other European companies currently only sell the universal Continental European type F wall outlets and are not really interested in producing type E plug sockets as well. Allowing the installation of type F receptacles would significantly increase competition for French manufacturers.
Click here for a global map showing the spread of the different plug types used around the world.
Click here for a detailed list of the countries of the world with their respective plug and outlet types, voltage and frequency.