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Where can I get adapter for 'recessed' French outlets?!

I'm familiar with adapters/converters and all of that. However, last time I was in France the outlets were all recessed and I could not use my european adapters! Does anyone know where I can purchase them? Help!
Kathie

Posted by
19151 posts

Any non-grounding Europlug adapter, such as sold on this website for continental Europe, should work. A better (safer) solution is to get a grounding adapter from Amazon (search for "VCT VP 11B"). It accepts the grounding pin in a French or Belgian receptacle and has grounding clips on the side for most of the rest of Europe. It also has wide slots for the wider polarizing blade of an American plug, although European plugs are not polarized, so any shock protection provided by the polarization of the American plug is lost. I have to wonder what "adapter" you have, and why it didn't fit in the French receptacle. I got one from Ace Hardware (South Europe). It works in Germany, and it's my understanding that the receptacles in France are the same (diameter and depth) as the ones in Germany except for the grounding pin that sticks out of the bottom of the French receptacle. My "Ace" adapter is 1/2" thick and clears the grounding pin. I also know that some voltage converters have two pins protruding from a body that is too big to fit in the German or French receptacle and, thus, the pins will not engage. Did you have a converter?

Posted by
46 posts

I had the same problem the first time in Paris.
First not all hotels have the recessed outlets, but should you have a problem in the future try asking at the hotel front desk as they will sometimes have a supply of extra adapters. If not, a quick trip to a Monoprix will solve the problem. They cost about 5€ each

Posted by
32244 posts

Kristi, I'd suggest having a look at Magellans as they have an excellent sellection of Plug Adapters. I've never had any problems using their two-pin Europe "D" Adapter with recessed outlets. I usually pack along several grounding and non-grounding Plug Adapters, so can always match any style of outlet. Happy travels!

Posted by
52 posts

Thank you so much for your replies. The problem is not that it won't fit into the french receptacle, but that the prongs are not long enough to fit into the recessed outlets! They are not flat against the wall like the ones in Italy or here at home......they are recessed a good 1/2 inch or so inside the outside edge and the wall won't allow the prongs to penetrate. In other words, the prongs have to be longer, or I think if the outside shape of the adapter were round it may work. Phew...what an explanation, heh? I probably just confused you more.
Anyway, I will try all of the suggestions you made. Thanks again.

Posted by
32244 posts

Kristi, Unfortunately, I'm still not clear on what the problem is? Have a look at This Website which shows French outlets when used with the two-pin Euro Adapter. The bottom photo shows the Adapter used with a recessed outlet.

Posted by
19151 posts

The problem is not that the pins are not long enough, but that the shape and/or size of the "body" of the adapter won't fit inside the receptacle. Mine from ACE looks about like the picture Ken posted and the body fits entirely inside, flush with the bottom. The one from ACE, and I'm sure the ones sold here and by Megellan, have "omega" shaped sockets on the receptacle side that will accept both American blades and the European pins. If you have an American plug, the adapter will fit into the recess and accept the plug. If what you really have is a voltage converter, with pins, you can put the small adapter on the pins of the converter and then plug the whole assembly into the French recess. Here is the URL for the one sold on Amazon - www.amazon.com/VCT-VP-11B-Grounded-Adapter/dp/B003C1MFYI/ref=pd_cp_e_0. (Our Bulletin Board Code won't let me post it as a link, probably because of the '=' symbol in it. You'll see it has a round body small enough to fit into the recess so that the pins go in. It also has a metal tabbed hole for the grounding pin that protrudes in the French receptacles.

Posted by
12040 posts

I'm not exactly sure what you mean either. Outlets are the same in France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Norway, and probably many other countries (although the outlets are different in the UK, Ireland and Switzerland). The standard round outlet adapter should work in France. Now, I have seen portable converters where the prongs would not fit in the recessed outlets (I'm wondering who designed them?), but never a problem with the adapters.

Posted by
19151 posts

Technically, according to our National Electrical Code, an "outlet" is anywhere where the electricity is accessible from outside the wall. That would include a switch, a light fixture, or a receptacle, which is what you call the "socket" where you can put in a plug. So, a receptacle is an outlet, but an outlet is not necessarily a receptacle. Here's where to go to find out about voltages and receptacles worldwide. I think the German style Schuko (Schutz Kontact) receptacle, the one with the grounding strips on the side, is used in most countries on the European continent except for Switzerland and some Italian installations. In France and Belgium, the side strips are replaced by a pin protruding from the recess. A "modified Schuko plug" has both the grounding strips and the hole for the French receptacles and therefore works in almost all European receptacles. The reason for the round body of the Schuko plug and the corresponding recess in the receptacles is so the pins cannot be touched when energized. How many children (and adults) in this country get shocked by touching the blades of our plugs while they are pulling them out of the wall?

Posted by
52 posts

Yes! This should do it! I thank you so much for hanging in there with me to get my problem solved and I appreciate your time and answers.

Posted by
719 posts

Kathie/Kristi,
I've had the same problem before. I always carry several adaptors, and when confronted with this problem, I simply "piggyback" several adaptors to reach into the recess. Hope this helps!

Posted by
46 posts

The problem you describe is the same as I had once. Again I recommend if you do not find the right one before you leave, you can find it at Monoprix. I bought several and always make sure to have a couple with me should I need them.
However I never saw those outlet again after the first hotel, so if you are not staying at the same place you may not need it. Good luck!

Posted by
52 posts

Thanks so much to all of you. I'm glad some of you know what I'm talking about....I was beginning to think I was losing it. ha. Your comments have helped immensely.

Posted by
156 posts

We picked up a small converter and a half dozen various adapter plugs at Walmart for $7-8 a few years ago. Each adapter was labeled with the countries in which it would be used. The converter switch could be set to the needed output, if necessary.