iPhones sell like crepes suzette in France

December 5, 2007, 2:54 PM UTC

The British and the Germans queued up dutifully for their Apple (AAPL) iPhones, but when the devices finally arrived in Paris last week, the French went nuts.

On day one, France Telecom’s Orange division sold 12,000 iPhones, according to Metro International, easily beating T-Mobile’s first-day sales in Germany, a country with one third more people (82 million vs. 61 million) and 50 percent more Internet users (52 million vs. 34 million) (stats). After just 21 hours, 17 percent of Orange France stores had sold out, according to O’Grady’s Powerpage.

And today, France Telecom announced that it sold nearly 30,000 iPhones in the first five days, 48 percent of them to new customers (link). That’s nearly one iPhone for every 2,000 Frenchmen (and women). In the United States, Apple and AT&T sold 270,000 iPhones in that first frenzied weekend last June, or one for every 1,111 Americans.

Yesterday, a German court overturned the temporary injunction that had forced T-Mobile to offer its customers the option of buying iPhones unlocked. France is once again the only country where users can buy the phones without a contract that ties them to a particular carrier, although France Telecom reports that only 2 out of 10 French buyers paid the 100 euro ($147) fee to have their iPhones unlocked. (See Paris: City of unlocked iPhones.)

Below the fold: iPhone frenzy, Parisian style, courtesy of YouTube.