Electric Plugs and Sockets

I still manage with 6kw but it might be an issue after I get a digital ‘Linky’ meter as they are far more sensitive to spikes of power when electrical items are switched on.

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6kw should be OK… we have that in the garage, where OH runs all sorts of machinery… (but we have 9kw in our house)

Do be careful to buy good quality cable…we found it useful to get the “guides” from Leroy Merlin… which tell you how to do stuff… whatever, there is information out there.

Sadly, some folk economise in the worst way… and tragedy can, and often does follow (yep, very sad)

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Yes I’ve been reading about the Linky metre I think it’s likely we will upgrade to 9-12kw in time as we are quite electric heavy in our equipment and may want some for heating greenhouse etc but we will assess it in time. I have a digital metre here in the UK I’ve had no issues so far but obviously aware the French system is quite different. Thanks for the help

When the Linky is installed you have a period of time when you may change your supply at no cost other than the additional standing charge.

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Thanks Stella have no fear I’m someone who believes that that it’s always wise to buy the best you can afford it’s always quality over price for me when buying this kind of thing. My Dad was an engineer for a large part of his career and he has always drummed it in to me that by buying the best you can afford often means doing a job once rather than twice.

I will look at getting some of those guides then for sure. Thank you.

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Ooh ok thanks that’s good to know.

I have already bought a kindle book on French electrical installation to. Now I know I can do it myself I will get studying :+1:t2:

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There are 2 different plugs in France, the 2 pin and 3 pin.

The 2 pin plugs go on appliances without an earth and have a flat 2 core flex:

The 3 pin plugs go on 3 core flex that require an earth:

If you have a look in UK you will see appliances either have flat (ish) or round flex normally indicating 2 or 3 cores.

(@Aquitaine - David please correct me if I am wrong on this as I don’t want to give incorrect on electrics as too dangerous!)


Hi Mat I’m familiar with what you describe above and will ensure I use the right plug fitting types. I’ll be doing thourough research don’t worry!

and… please can I put my twopenn’orth in about trailing leads…

After a particularly bad house fire… the possible incorrect- usage and/or overloading of trailing leads was of major interest to the Investigators.

That was some years ago… but more recently, the Safety Inspectors made their views quite clear… fit sufficient sockets and ditch the trailing leads.


And please don’t rely on using travel adaptors for permanent use. There are numerous reports of them burning out with catastrophic consequences.


Quite agree, they are pretty poor for anything high current as well, permanent or not. The same goes for multi-way adapters whether or not they have a trailing lead.

That said we do have a lot kicking around - for stuff which moves between our UK and French properties, phone chargers power tools ets.

It’s a question I’m completely unqualified to answer, as we’re not due to move to France for another month !


When we moved from the UK to Italy 11 yrs ago, we simply replaced UK 3-pins with continental 3-pins. This worked

just fine on every single electrical appliance from washing machines and microwaves to a toothbrush charger. The only moment of total incomprehension was that there was no ‘live’ or ‘neutral’ terminals on a plug. Where there was an ‘earth wire’, that went in the middle of a 3-in-line plug. Didn’t matter where the other two went. I have no idea why.

I’m not claiming for a second this process was legal/safe/advisable. It was something we just did. Everything worked. Nothing burst into flames. We didn’t electrocute ourselves or anyone else.

AS for France, I’ve slready seen that 2-pin plugs/sockets are the same as Italian ones…3=pin ones aren’t. Will I replace Italian 3-pins with French 3-pins ? Once I’ve had a chance to take a look at a French version - possibly/probably

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Absolutely agree with relying upon travel adaptors.

Shortly after moving in our kettle expired so I used a one with a UK plug and an adaptor. Within a month the plus and adaptor had fused together and tripped a breaker on the main distribution board. Lesson learnt! I have subsequently replaced all of our UK plugs with European (German) ones.

BTW: my electrician also found out that some of our 3 pin sockets were on lighting circuits - so only suitable for a very low load. I’ve now had 80% of the house rewired and in accordance with the French norms had suitable sockets and dedicated circuits for fridge freezers, tumble dryer, towel rails and electric fires installed.

German plugs? Do you mean German manufactured? German plugs are not the same as French plugs as they have the earth as two strips on the outside of the (apparently) two pin plug, the French plugs although having similarly placed pins have a female earth socket. Quite a few appliances come with plugs which combine the two. When I first moved to France I had to replace a lot of plugs as my German plugs would not fit into my French sockets.

Standard German plugs have no female earth socket and will not work in France.

David, the plugs I used are German manufactured (bought via Amazon UK) and look exactly like yours with two earth strips on the outside. However they also have a female pin earth socket.

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They are the best sort, they work in both countries.

Our experience was that decent plugs in France are relatively expensive. When we moved here, and had dozens of plugs to change, we bought a job-lot of these https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/mains-plus-sockets/2548497/ which were cheaper and better (ie easier to wire and better cable grips etc) than the cheapest plugs we found in most of the local French DIY stores. Ironically, AFAICT, the cheapest place to buy these German-made plugs seems to be in the UK!

We also bought in bulk various “kettle” leads (C13 connectors at one end and Schuko plugs on the other) and similar (C7 for some small appliances, and C5 for laptop power supplies).