Buying A Sim Card In France

 

buying a sim card in france

buying a sim card in France

 

Traveling to France can be one of the most amazing and rewarding vacations you will ever have. With so much history and cultural diversity, France is one of the most toured countries in the world.

There are so many famous places to visit. The Eiffel tower, many classical art museums, Lyon’s Roman theater and the Palace of Versailles are just a few.

Some places in France can be quite challenging and expensive if you plan to stay connected. As mentioned in my post buying a sim card in the USA, it is important to make efficient use of your smartphone abroad. I suggest that you buy a sim card in France to avoid those hefty charges that your regular provider will hit you with.

 

Sim Card providers in France

There are 4 main providers for sim cards in France. They are:

  • Orange
  • SFR
  • Free Mobile
  • Bouygues Telecom

 

Orange sim card France

Orange is France’s market leader and the #1 mobile network for 7 years in a row. They have the best coverage and the largest number of customers.

Here is what you receive with Orange:

  • A SIM card with a French phone number
  • 120 min + 1000 texts
  • International calls and texts from the European zone
  • 10GB of mobile data valid in the European zone
  • Validity of the credit : 14 days after 1st use
  • 4G/LTE
  • Covers 30 countries

 

Where to buy Orange sim cards

SIM cards can be purchased from official Orange stores, approved resellers or at supermarkets for EUR3.90. You will normally receive EUR5 worth of credit at the time of purchase. You will be required to show your passport or ID card.

Official Orange stores can be very crowded at times, so you might need to keep your patience hat on or try and set the SIM card up yourself to avoid the nuisance of waiting in a long line. If you do not know the French language, it’s a good idea to download the Google translate app beforehand to help with the communication.

The Orange Holiday Prepaid sim card is perfect for tourists and will cost about EUR39.99, you can also get them on Amazon here.

Pro tip:

The standard rate is very expensive, so I recommend you buy a sim package that has data included. You can also buy an add-on that will keep things much cheaper. The following data packs are available:

 

Price

(EUR5)

Valid for 7 days

1 hour local calls

Free SMS

Price

(EUR10)

Valid for 10 days

Free domestic calls

Free SMS, MMS 

Price

(EUR20)

Valid for 30 days

Free domestic calls

Free SMS, MMS

Price

(EUR30)

Valid for 30 days

Free domestic calls

Free SMS, MMS

Add-on data packs include:

EUR10 – 1GB Data – Valid for 14 days

EUR25 – 3GB Data – Valid for 30 days

EUR40 – 5GB Data – Valid for 180 days

 

How to activate your Orange sim card

You will need to follow 3 steps in order to get your line activated.

  1. Make a first call or send a text
  2. Dial 225 to receive your phone number by text and the validity period of your line
  3. Enjoy right away your full credit including calls, texts, and mobile internet

 

How to top up

You can top up online anytime 24/7 by going to the section “rechargement” on orange.fr and top up your account right away by credit card. You can also top up in person in the store by dialing #124 then the 14 digits of the voucher#.

 

 

SFR

SFR sim card france

SFR is the second largest provider in France just after Orange. SIM cards can be purchased from official SFR stores, approved resellers or at supermarkets for EUR3.99. You will normally receive EUR5 worth of credit at the time of purchase. You will be required to show your passport or ID card.

A tourist sim prepaid card is available from select supermarkets and tobacco shops for EUR34.99.

Here is what you will receive with SFR:

  • A SIM card with a French phone number
  • 1 hour of voice in France, Europe, US and China
  • 500SMS to France, Europe, US and China
  • 2GB of domestic data
  • Unlimited SFR Wi-Fi
  • Valid for 14 days

 

The following packs can also be purchased:

 

Price

(EUR5)

1 Hour domestic voice

Valid for 7 days

Price

(EUR10.99)

Unlimited domestic voice

Valid for 10 days

Price

(EUR20.99)

Unlimited domestic voice

Valid for 30 days

Price

(EUR30)

Unlimited domestic voice

Valid for 30 days

 

You can also buy data packs which include:

 

EUR5 – 300MB Data – Valid for 5 days

EUR10 – 1GB Data – Valid for 10 days

EUR35 – 8GB Data – Valid for 30 days

 

How to activate your SFR sim card

You will need to follow 3 steps in order to get your line activated.

  1. Insert your sim card into your mobile phone
  2. Call 963 to activate
  3. Receive a text with your number and information

How to top up

Visit SFR France recharge at Recharge.com. There you will select from a few options. Text the code you are given to 952. You can also call 952 and follow the instructions.

 

Free Mobile

Free mobile sim card france

Free Mobile is the smallest provider in France but remain very popular. They offer low prices and good deals which target at the young travelers on social media networks. They usually have good promotions on from time to time.

Free Mobile prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores, approved resellers or at supermarkets. Credit can be purchased from official stores, approved resellers or most supermarkets and convenience stores. You will be required to show your passport or ID card.

Free Mobile offers two SIM card options, which can be used either on a contract or in prepaid format. But as mentioned, keep your eyes open for that special deal.

 

Price

(EUR2)

2 Hours calling in France

Unlimited SMS and MMS in France

Auto connection to Free wifi secure

Price

(EUR19.99)

Unlimited calling in France

Unlimited SMS and MMS in France

Auto connection to Free wifi secure

 

How to activate your Free mobile sim card

Activation is extremely simple and will not take you more than 5 minutes.

  • Log in to your Subscriber Area using your 8-digit login and password.
  • Click on the link Have you received your SIM cardClick activate link to activate it and then enter the 19-digit code located on the SIM card holder.

 

 

Bouygues Telecom

Bouygues telecom sim card france

Bouygues Telecom is the third largest operator in France and also offers some great deals at certain times. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores, approved resellers or at supermarkets. Credit can be purchased from official stores, approved resellers or most supermarkets and convenience stores. You will be required to show your passport or ID card.

The prepaid SIM card can be purchased for EUR10, which includes EUR4 credit for calls. The following data packs are available:

Price

(EUR5)

Unlimited domestic text and voice

Valid for 3 days

+ EUR3 for international calls

Price

(EUR10)

Unlimited domestic text and voice

Valid for 10 days

+ EUR5 for international calls

Price

(EUR20)

Unlimited domestic text and voice

Valid for 30 days

+ EUR10 for international calls

Price

(EUR40)

Unlimited domestic text and voice

Valid for 60 days

+ EUR25 for international calls

Additional credit can be purchased online. You can also dial 630.

Coverage and data speeds

Here are the coverage and speeds for the 4 main networks in France.

Image credit Fandom wikia.com

 

What is the best and cheapest prepaid sim card in France?

According to Tripadvisor.ca, here are a few comments left by other Trip Advisor users:

“I personally prefer Orange, which has many different options with different features at different costs, and offers excellent coverage”.

“The Orange SIMs (including the Holiday SIM) can also be recharged on the Internet. I recharge mine & my husband’s whenever needed on the Orange website, using our US credit cards”.

“Compare the features of the Orange Holiday SIM and the new prepaid SFR SIM carefully; they are not the same, so just be sure you are choosing the SIM that best meets your own needs….”

Summary

Keep in mind that these rates are subject to change at any time. At the time of writing, these are the current rates. There are a few other providers available other than the 4 main ones I recommend, but chances are the service and coverage areas are not as good. I would stick to the main providers. For France, Orange would be my top recommendation.

If traveling to the USA, check out our buying a SIM card in the USA post here.

Also, you can click on the map below for information on buying a sim card in other countries.

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If you enjoyed our buying a sim card in France guide, have a look at all our travel gear guides here:

 

Hopefully, you found these guides helpful. As always, feel free to leave a comment or send us a message anytime via our contact form.

Thanks for reading!

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Buying A Sim Card in France

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