Untours Cafe

Who is using what kind of cell phone and why? We are only interested in being able to contact members of our group, not calling home to the US.
What's the status of connecting to the Internet? WiFi? Internet cafes, or bring my own lap top?
Any info appreciated, thanks!

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We were able to connect our laptop to the Internet by using an ethernet cable which we bought at a local store in Paris. There are also Internet cafes. We arranged to extend our cell phone service ( ATT) to Europe, but didn't use it for local calling. In general it seems that electronic technology in Europe is well ahead of the U.S. Didn't they go to high definition TV years ago?
Thanks for the response. It's been so long since I've used ethernet, I sort of forgot about it, I'm so used to a WiFi connection...how about adapters to plug into the wall just to charge it? Are they readily available there, or should it be purchased in the States, prior to the trip? Ditto the charger for the cell phone? In the past we have always used pre-paid cards to call home, we are most concerned about phones that will keep us in touch as we travel around Europe.
We bought the electrical adapter in the U.S. It was one that can be used in various countries with different "tabs". Most outlets in Europe are 220V with two round slots. I made the mistake of buying the adapter at a shop on Times Square, NYC where it was inordinately expensive ($80). You will need to use the adapter with all AC devices - power adapter to your laptop, cell phone charger, etc.
I don't remember using an Internet cafe in Paris, but did in Venice a few years earlier. It was about 5 euros per half hour as best I recall.
Thanks! I'm interested in getting as much info as I can before I buy anything. ;o) The last time I went to Europe, I bought all kinds of tech "toys" and wound up using the Internet cafes almost exclusively. We were also fortunate enough to stay in a villa in Tuscany that had easy Internet access. But, it did occur to me that I would need something to charge all of the devices that we all use on a routine basis now...my grandson's PSP, for example.
We're also curious about the cost of the Internet cafes...anyone have any info. on that for Rome and Paris? About five years ago, it was possible to use computers in Post Offices, for a moderate fee...still possible?
Ann:
Check out http://www.mobal.com/. We purchased the $49 phone (works anywhere in world except U.S.A.). It worked fine, and was a lifesaver during our Paris Untour April/May 2008.

A Paris friend loaned us his laptop for the length of our stay. Wifi is available in Paris in at least key locations. It may be available all over Paris by now.
Hi, Bill,
That sounds great - very encouraging! Do you happen to know if any (mine!) laptop will work on the Parisian WiFi system or just the ones from there?
Also, is there a fee for WiFi and/or do you need special passwords, etc.? I know these sound like a silly questions, but I'm not going to bring mine if it will be more frustrating than useful, thanks for any info. you can share, I really appreciate it!!
I recommend you bring your laptop. It's more convemient to have access to it in your apartment. The laptop came in handy when we reserved and paid online for a table on the Bateaux Parisien lunch cruise. We also reserved a car near Giverny via the laptop.

My wife, Eleanor, is more familiar with the laptop setup that we had in Paris. She will come on shortly to answer your questions.
Dear Ann,
As my husband, Bill said, a friend had loaned us his Mac laptop to use while we stayed in an Untours Parisian apartment.
Due to this loaner, we did not bring our PC laptop. I'll try to answer some of your questions from the "top of my head." If you need specifics, let it be known.
First, WiFi (pronounced "Wee-Fee" in France due to their vowel sounds) was available in our apartment. A converter plug was used to connect the laptop to the European outlet. When we traveled North, and stayed at a New York motel, I was
able to connect to their WiFi wirelessly. Since you could sit outside in a WiFi Parisian park, it would be possible to connect your laptop to their free WiFi system without any electrical outlets. We didn't carry the laptop out of the apartment for two reasons. First, we didn't want to have to lug it about as we traveled here and there. Secondly, we had a special gizmo connected between the laptop and the apartment's ISP box. As you may well know, there are dangers when using WiFi anywhere. In particular, anyone within 300-feet of you could "eavesdrop." This would suggest strongly that you do not transmit private or credit card type information. We were in Paris for a month. While on holiday, I needed to pay a few bills that couldn't be paid prior to our departure. The gizmo we used was an Apple Airport Extreme. The Airport Extreme provided me with a save connection while using Paris' WiFi system. When we returned home, I ordered one for our PC, and now use it when we travel and plan to use the laptop in a WiFi location. It provides security for the laptop. You just need to have it in between your laptop and the location's ISP connection. The Extreme model costs a bit more ($179.00) than the Express ($99.00) model. Since I wanted to be able to use the laptop anywhere in the room, I purchased a refurbished Extreme to enable more latitude.
We have two sets of European electrical converters. Bill uses one for his photo items, and another one for personal things that need to be recharged. The cell phone came with the necessary charger and adapters, so we brought that with us.
In a nutshell, is it worth bringing along your laptop? My response would be a "Yes." Not only were we able to download Bill's photos for review, but we were able to insert them into our email messages and even post them on the Café. When we wanted to double-check times, places and locations and weather, the laptop was there. When we ate our meals in the apartment, we were able to listen to French music played from a DVD disk. We used it every single day once we returned to our apartment. Just don't plan on bringing a heavy one. You have enough to carry, as it is.
While traveling and not having an electrical outlet available, I employ a small penlight type of gadget. It charges my
cell via AA-battery. Varied adapters are available to connect it to your cell phone. I purchased TurboCharge through http://www.adrenalinetechnologies.com/ It's small and easy to transport and use.
Thanks, El. This is very informative. I am a Mac person. I always bring my MacBook when I travel. I, too, like to post my photos as I travel and send "real time"messages to family and friends. It seems from what you said I'll have to check with Untours and see if we have WiFi at our Paris and Rome locations. Due to some minor mobility concerns, I had some specifics in terms of apartments, so technology wasn't foremost in my mind while checking out the apartments.
My MacBook is one of the tiniest they make, because, as I said I travel a lot and need it for work as well as to stay in touch. I wouldn't take it when we go out and about, but will want to use it when we're "at home." :O) So, I guess I'll check with Lotta and go to the Apple store for the other peripherals we'll need.
Thanks again for all the help!
Ann
Oh, I forgot! I did check out the little AA battery charger website...that is COOL! Good to have even when not traveling - thanks!!
A*
Yes, I carry the TurboCharge with me all of the time. In 2006 we had enjoyed a trip to California.
I had packed my auto charger thinking that the cell could be charged while we drove. Couldn't
use the charger because the rented vehicle was set-up for Bluetooth. The cell worked through
the speaker system of the rental. I had an old cell and it wasn't equipped with Bluetooth.
When we returned home, I did a Google Search and found the battery recharger, TurboCharge.
Now, I have Bluetooth capabilities and the battery charger. You just never know what the
situation will be.
They do have a double battery TurboCharge device available in case you wish to achieve a longer
period of usage.
http://www.adrenalinetechnologies.com/products.asp
2-Battery Models (TC2 / TBA650 / TBG750): Our TC2 line of chargers run on 2 "AA" batteries, providing a true portable charging solution. These units are powerful and reusable. They feature a dual LED flashlight as well as a 3-light battery gauge that let’s you know when it’s time to change the batteries. The TC2 units are perfect for all Cell Phones, Smart Phones, PDA’s, iPods, iPhone, Portable Gaming Systems, compatible GPS units and all other portable electronics for which we provide adapters.

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