Planning a trip to France and wondering the best way of staying connected while you are there? We depend on our phones for so much these days and traveling without a mobile data connection just makes life on the road a lot harder.
Finding and booking good restaurants, navigating your way around the streets, making travel plans – all these things start and end on our phones.
There are quite a few options these days from eSims to data roaming, and of course, buying prepaid sim cards on the ground, and we are going to focus on the latter.
In this article, we take a look at the top french sim cards around so you can find the best prepaid french sim card for your trip. You’ll find information on packages, activation, topping up, data roaming around Europe, and lots more.
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The Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid Sim Card is a great sim card for France if you are looking to stay connected with the world and are on a short trip.
These prepaid sim cards come with everything you need including 120 minutes of international calls and 1000 international texts so you can keep in touch with home. You also get 20 GB of data with the package and unlimited calls and sms’ in Europe.
Orange is the biggest network in France and their sim cards ensure you will have a reliable and fast connection all over the country. You can also have the same connection all of Europe and take your data and minutes with you.
For what you get, these sim cards are pretty good value for money but the package is only valid for 2 weeks which makes it an expensive deal in the end. Also, it is not a great sim card for France if you are spending more than 2 weeks there.
Bouygues Telecom is another of the largest local mobile network providers in France and they offer some good deals on sim cards for people traveling through.
With a Bouygues Telecom sim card for France, you will have excellent coverage and connection speeds all over the country as well as be able to use the sim card in all of Europe too.
The prepaid data sim card I have chosen comes with 30 GB of data for just $39.90 and it lasts for 30 days. It is ideal for staying in touch and getting around with more than enough data, even for heavy users.
Another great thing about this local prepaid sim card is that you can order it online and have it delivered to your home before you leave for France. This means you can activate it as soon as you get to France and don’t have to find a shop to buy a prepaid card.
The only downside is that there are no free calls or sms’ included, but you can get around that using apps like Whatsapp.
LeFrenchMobile is not a local network provider, they are a company that sells prepaid sim cards online.
They have partnered with Orange, France’s largest network provider, and therefore with their sim cards you will have a fast and reliable connection to mobile data all over the country and Europe.
Another benefit of LeFrenchMobile is that you can order them online and have them delivered to your home before you leave for France. As soon as you land, simply activate the sim card and use your mobile data.
Sadly, LeFrenchMobile sim cards do not offer the best packages. For $22 you only get 2 GB of mobile data and 10 mins of calls, which is simply not enough.
Free Mobile sim cards offer insane value when it comes to a France sim card or a European sim. Like LeFrench, Free Mobile is not a network provider and actually uses the Orange network to deliver mobile services to its customers.
With Free Mobile France, you will have excellent 5G/4G coverage all over France and Europe with quick mobile data speeds as well.
The deal you can get with a Free Mobile France sim card is pretty insane. For just $35 you get 210GB of data along with unlimited calls & texts in Europe and it lasts 30 days.
You will never have to top up with this deal and you could leave Netflix playing all day without running out of data.
The only hard bit with Free Mobile is finding a one-month contract on their website. If you buy the monthly contract you can cancel it whenever you like by sending an email.
SFR is the second largest local mobile network provider in France, second to Orange.
With an SFR sim card, you will have access to a very reliable and fast 5G/4G network so you will be connected all over France and Europe.
The prepaid SFR sim cards offer pretty good value. For $35, you will get 4 GB of data along with unlimited calls and texts, which is not bad.
The amount of data on this sim card for France may not be enough if you are a heavy data user though.
I would say a sim card is essential when traveling to France. As I already mentioned, we depend on our phones a lot, and even more so when we travel, and therefore staying connected while you travel is important, in my eyes anyway.
I use Google Maps to find everything from a good restaurant to how to walk to my hotel. If I need a taxi, I use Uber. I book my onward plane and train tickets on my phone, as well as keep in touch with friends and family.
Living without the benefits of being connected via a physical sim card is simply not worth the extra hassle it brings compared to the $30 or so it costs to be connected all the time.
You might think that you can hop around from one free WiFi network to the next, and you can to a point, but this doesn’t help you in the countryside or when you need to order a taxi in the street.
Then there is the safety side of things. When traveling solo, I want to be able to use my phone whenever I need to, without depending on a free WiFi connection just in case something happens.
Overall, I would say having a sim card is essential when you travel anywhere, including France.
If you want to use a local sim card in France or anywhere else in the world, you will need an unlocked phone.
If you bought your phone yourself, it will not be locked to a network provider. If you got your phone for free as a part of your mobile contract, it might be locked to that provider.
Simply call your provider and ask them to unlock your phone before heading to France, it should only take 5 minutes.
Phones communicate using either CDMA or GSM technology. GSM phones will not work on CDMA networks and vice versa. France uses a GSM network, as does most of the world, apart from North America which has both CDMA and GSM.
If you are from North America and use either Sprint or Verizon, then you could have a CDMA phone which will not work in France. You will have to buy a new unlocked phone to use physical sim cards in France.
Buying a sim card before traveling to France does have its benefits. When you buy a sim card online and have it delivered before your trip, you save yourself a lot of hassle.
When you land in France, there is no need to find a shop and buy a sim card as you will already have it. All you need to do is pop the sim card into the sim card slot and activate it to get online.
The only downside to this is that not all sims are available online so you may not get the best deal.
Buying a sim card in France is very easy as they are sold at a lot of different outlets. You can find sim cards at supermarkets, tobacco shops, and mobile operator shops too.
Sim cards at the airport are generally more expensive so be sure to wait until you are outside the airport to buy them.
Sim cards for France are not free like in other countries and cost between 5 and 10 euros, depending on the network provider you go with.
The first thing you will need to do is activate your sim card. Some sim cards are already activated once you buy them such as Free Mobile sims and a prepaid Orange sim card.
If your sim is not activated, all you have to do is text a number and it will be activated. The number to text varies with each provider.
All sim cards for France will work as they do in France in all the countries in the European Union as well as other European countries not in the EU.
This means you can use your data, call minutes, and SMS all over Europe.
You can buy a prepaid sim card in Paris at any mobile provider shop as well as kiosks and tobacco shops. Remember to take your ID with you, Driving license or passport.
Yes, you can put a French sim card in your phone. All sim cards are sold in all sizes and therefore will fit in your phone. Chances are you have a nano sim card if you have a smartphone, which is the smallest size.