If you’re planning a trip to France, having a sim card is essential for staying connected and making your travels smoother. Access to the internet while exploring new cities allows you to easily find the best restaurants, navigate your way to your accommodation, book transportation, and share memorable moments with your family through photos.
While roaming is an option, the accumulating fees can be daunting when traveling internationally. That’s why we recommend either an eSIM or a local sim card to enjoy local phone rates without breaking the bank. Luckily, acquiring either option in France is effortless, but it’s helpful to know which one is the most suitable for you.
This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with all the necessary information about purchasing a sim card in France, including current pricing and the most exceptional sim card options available.
If you’re only visiting France (no other countries) and you are looking for the cheapest and most convenient sim card then I recommend the Airalo eSim. With Airalo you can purchase just the amount of data you require, which for many people will only cost around 7 – 10 EUR. Plus it will save you the hassle of buying it in a store once you arrive.
The best local sim card you can buy in France is the 210 Go prepaid sim card by Free. This card offers a massive amount of 5G data (perfect if you need a lot of data), the best coverage in France and unlimited calls and texts.
If you’re planning to explore other countries, especially in the EU, then the 25GB roaming data that comes with the card makes this a clear winner.
This plan is 19.99 EUR + a 10 EUR registration fee, but Free also have a cheaper plan for 12.99 EUR + 10 EUR registration fee which is suitable for budget travellers, though an eSim with less data will be even cheaper.
A Tourist Sim Card in France costs between 7 EUR and 29.99 EUR in February 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.
Alternatively, an eSim in France will cost between $4.50 USD and $36 USD. This, again, depends on how much data you require and which eSim provider you choose.
I generally recommend this Airalo plan for most tourists visiting France which includes 5GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $14 USD.
In France, the main SIM card providers are Orange, Free Mobile, and SFR. Orange, with the largest market share, offers a wide range of plans suitable for different needs. Their network coverage is excellent, ensuring reliable connectivity across the country. They are known for their competitive prices and excellent customer service.
Free Mobile, on the other hand, disrupted the market with their low-cost and no-contract offers. They quickly gained popularity, especially among budget-conscious consumers. Despite their affordable prices, they offer good network coverage and decent data speeds.
SFR, a subsidiary of Altice France, also offers a variety of plans catering to different needs. Their network coverage rivals that of Orange, and they have competitive prices and various add-on services to meet customer demands.
Overall, these three providers dominate the market, each with its strengths and loyal customer base.
Orange is a major telecom operator in France and offers tourist SIM cards for hassle-free connectivity. These SIM cards provide seamless network coverage throughout France, allowing tourists to stay connected with their loved ones. With affordable prepaid plans and attractive data packages, visitors can browse the internet, make calls, and send messages without worrying about excessive charges. Orange’s tourist SIM cards ensure an enjoyable and convenient travel experience for tourists exploring the beautiful sights of France.
The price of a Orange tourist sim card in France is 29.99 EUR.
The plan offered by Orange stores includes 10GB data valid for 1 month.
Free Mobile is a popular telecommunication company in France, offering affordable and reliable services. They also provide tourist sim cards, specifically designed for travelers visiting France. These sim cards come with generous data allowances, unlimited local calls, and texts. With widespread coverage across the country, tourists can stay connected and navigate easily. Free Mobile’s tourist sim cards are a convenient option for travelers seeking a seamless mobile experience while exploring the beautiful sights and experiences of France.
The price of a Free Mobile tourist sim card in France is 29.99 EUR.
The plan offered by Free Mobile stores offers 210GB 5G Data + unlimited calls + unlimited SMS + 25GB roaming data valid for 1 month.
SFR is a leading telecommunications company offering convenient tourist sim cards in France. With their sim cards, travelers can enjoy uninterrupted data connection, calls, and texts during their stay. SFR’s sim cards provide extensive coverage across the country, ensuring reliable connectivity even in remote areas. The packages offer generous data allowances at affordable prices, making it an ideal choice for tourists who want to stay connected without overspending.
The price of a SFR tourist sim card in France is 25 EUR.
The plan offered by SFR stores includes 2GB data + unlimited calls valid for 30 days.
Identify mobile providers: Orange, Free Mobile and SFR are your best options in France.
Find your nearest store: Locate a store or retailer by searching on Google Maps for your nearest store or asking at your hotel reception. I’ve never had issues finding a store as they can usually be found in major cities, shopping centers, or tourist areas. If possible, I always recommend to to avoid airports and head in to an official store in the city.
Bring the necessary documents: It is always a good idea to carry your passport or identification documents for sim card registration purposes. We’ve found most providers will need to confirm your identity to provide a sim card and it can be a major hassle to head to a store only to have to come back again later with your passport.
Choose your plan: Either request the plan you are after or consult with the staff in the store to select the right plan for you. My recommendations at the beginning of this guide are a good starting point, but the staff will usually be able to suggest the best option.
Pay and activate your card: Pay for the SIM card and plan, and the staff will activate it for you.
Test: It’s always a good idea to check that you can access the internet before you leave the store. I always search for something on Google then refresh my Instagram feed to check it’s working fine.
Buying a prepaid sim card for France at the airport is usually considered the most convenient option for travellers arriving by plane.
However, airport stores selling sim cards are almost guaranteed to charge inflated prices, so if you are a cost-conscious traveller then you should definitely buy your sim card from a store in the city center.
In addition to this, we would argue that buying physical sim cards at all aren’t particularly convenient now that most people use esim compatible phones. If you are looking for the most convenient option, then buying an esim before you arrive or with the airport wifi is much easier and will save you having to queue up or communicate with staff.
If you must purchase a sim card at the airport in France then you will be in luck. All major international airports in France have stores selling sim cards. Despite the prices being higher than normal, the staff are knowledgable and will be able to get you set up with the correct sim card relatively quickly.
If you want to avoid the inflated sim card prices you’ll find at the airport and your phone isn’t esim compatible, then you’re going to need to head in to a store to buy your sim card.
I recommend visiting one of the official retail stores of the mobile internet operators such as Orange, Free Mobile and SFR. Your best option is to enter their names into Google Maps and find the branch closest to your hotel or accommodation. Typically the staff in the official stores in France are knowledgable and helpful which means you can ensure you’ll walk away with a functioning sim card.
Despite this, it’s always a good idea to check your internet is working before you leave the store by loading a Google search results page and your preferred social media app. You should also ensure you always bring your passport with you when purchasing a sim card in case they need to register it.
If you like to be prepared and would prefer to arrive in France with your sim card all sorted and your phone ready to connect to the internet immediately then you should look into purchasing a sim card online.
The first option is to buy your sim card in advance via SimOptions, which is a company that will prepare and ship a sim card directly to your door. It’s a reliable and effective service, but with the invention of eSims it’s becoming obsolete.
The better option is to purchase an eSim online. We’ve written more on that below!
An eSim is a digital version of a traditional sim card and is most likely the future of connectivity for mobile devices. The convenience of no longer visiting a store, handing over your passport and purchasing a physical sim card is quickly making physical sim cards obsolete in favour of eSims.
We recommend Airalo’s eSim when travelling to France. The Airalo France eSim offers fast internet speeds, wide coverage and extremely competitive prices making it a far more compelling option than purchasing a physical sim card from any of the local sim card providers.
In order to get set up with an Airalo eSim, all you need to do is visit Airalo here and purchase the eSim online (the $14 USD plan is suitable for most travellers). Once you’ve purchased the sim card Airalo will email you instructions and a QR code. Following these instructions should take just a couple of minutes, then you’ll have a sim card in France without having to venture outside.
Our preferred eSim provider in France is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to France and found the service to be equal to the local sim card but without the hassle of acquiring a sim card in a store.
Airalo’s France eSim uses the Orange, Bouygues and SFR networks to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the Orange, Bouygues and SFR networksnetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in France.
Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s France eSim:
1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $4.50 USD
2GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $7.50 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $10 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $14 USD
10GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $23 USD
20GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $36 USD
For most travellers we recommend the 5GB data plan for $14 USD which is valid for 30 days. Some travellers may prefer a larger plan, whilst travellers visiting for just a couple of days may be fine with a smaller plan.
An alternative eSim provider we can recommend is Holafly.
Holafly’s eSim is a suitable option for travellers who require large amounts of data, such as digital nomads and people who work online while they travel. All of Holafly’s France eSims offer unlimited data.
Holafly’s France eSim uses the Orange/Societe Francaise du Radiotelephone/Bouygues Telecom/Free Mobilenetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in France
Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s France eSim:
Unlimited data valid for 5 days – Price: $19 USD
Unlimited data valid for 7 days – Price: $27 USD
Unlimited data valid for 10 days – Price: $34 USD
Unlimited data valid for 15 days – Price: $47 USD
Unlimited data valid for 20 days – Price: $54 USD
Unlimited data valid for 30 days – Price: $64 USD
Unlimited data valid for 60 days – Price: $87 USD
Unlimited data valid for 90 days – Price: $99 USD
An embedded SIM or eSIM is a digital SIM card that is built into a device like a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. Unlike physical SIM cards, an eSIM does not require physically inserting or removing a card.
Instead, the eSIM is integrated into the device’s hardware and can be activated and programmed remotely by a mobile network operator. This allows users to easily switch between different mobile networks or plans without the hassle of physically swapping SIM cards.
eSIM technology brings convenience, flexibility, and ease of use, especially for frequent travelers or those who switch between mobile networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the need to purchase and insert physical SIM cards, making it more convenient to manage multiple mobile connections on a single device.
To activate an eSIM, users simply need to scan a provided QR code or manually enter activation details. Once activated, the device can connect to the chosen mobile network and enjoy voice, data, and messaging services just like with a physical SIM card.
Using an eSIM offers various benefits:
– Convenience: No need to physically insert or remove SIM cards when switching networks or plans. This is especially useful for frequent travelers.
– Dual SIM functionality: Allows for two active mobile numbers on the same device, useful for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.
– Space-saving: Embedded eSIMs eliminate the need for a physical SIM card slot, making devices smaller or creating additional space for other components.
– Remote provisioning: Mobile plan activation and management can be done remotely, without requiring a physical SIM card or store visit.
– Future-proofing: As eSIM technology gains popularity, more networks and service providers offer support for eSIMs, ensuring access to new services and offerings.
In summary, eSIM technology provides flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity, making it an appealing choice for users.
eSIM technology is becoming increasingly popular and is supported by a growing number of smartphones and other devices. Here are some examples of eSIM-compatible phones:
Apple iPhone series (iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, etc.): Apple was one of the early adopters of eSIM technology and offers support for eSIM on various iPhone models.
Google Pixel series (Pixel 3, Pixel 4, Pixel 5, etc.): Google’s Pixel smartphones also support eSIM functionality, allowing users to activate and use eSIMs.
Samsung Galaxy series (Galaxy S22, Galaxy Note 20, etc.): Many of Samsung’s flagship devices now come with eSIM support, enabling users to utilize eSIM technology.
OnePlus devices (OnePlus 7, OnePlus 8, etc.): OnePlus has included eSIM support in some of its smartphone models, offering users the flexibility of using eSIMs.
Motorola Razr (2020): The latest iteration of the iconic Motorola Razr features eSIM compatibility, enabling users to use eSIMs for cellular connectivity.
These are just a few examples, and the list of eSIM-compatible phones continues to expand as more manufacturers embrace this technology. There’s a very strong chance your phone supports eSims so if you’re unsure we recommend looking it up on our list of eSim supported phones.
Using an eSim is new for many travellers, however, the good news is it’s surprisingly easy to get set up – even for the technologically challenged!
Here’s a general guide on how to use an eSIM:
Check eSIM Compatibility: Ensure that your device supports eSIM functionality. Many newer smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and other devices are eSIM compatible including all iPhones produced since 2018.
Obtain an eSIM: There are multiple ways to acquire an eSIM. You can purchase an eSIM online from a provider like Airalo (which we recommend) or directly from a mobile network operator. Some devices also allow you to scan a QR code provided by your carrier to download the eSIM profile.
Activate the eSIM: Your eSim provider will send you instructions to activate the sim. This will usually involve scanning a QR code, entering an activation code, or downloading the eSIM profile directly onto your device.
Set up the eSIM: Once activated, your device will guide you through the eSIM setup process. This typically involves selecting the eSIM as your preferred mobile plan, configuring settings like data roaming, and entering any necessary authentication details.
Enjoy the Connection: Once the eSIM is set up, you can use it as you would with a physical SIM card. Make calls, send messages, browse the internet, and use data services as needed. You can also switch between eSIM profiles if you have multiple eSIMs installed on your device.
Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. Travel Sim Expert is a blog dedicated to helping you find the best sim card for you, no matter where you are or what your budget is.