Help with Orange mobile problems... need I say more?

Can anyone recommend how I can SEND text messages (whether MMS, SMS, or iMessage) and make phone calls anywhere? I just got a sim card from Orange on a pre-pay card basis, with the intention of going to Free. I was told I have to have a SIM card with Orange to get service with Free. I did not want a contract with Orange (and from what I've read here, glad I didn't).

Now I have to use up the 33€ I have loaded on the card, and then switch to Free. The problem is, I can't send text messages to anyone (including in France), and can't make phone calls outside of France.

I understand they have no english assistance for mobile issues (In Canada we get service in 2 languages (english and french) - the advantage of officially being a bilingual country), so I am at a disadvantage on getting help from them.

If anyone can walk me through the steps of numbers to push on the french assistance help line, then I'll try to wing it. Otherwise, I may try to get some bilingual friend to help out - though I'd really rather try to do this on my own without wasting someone else's time...