Just like me you are going to be one of the millions of foreigners who visit France every month. Most of us are going to Paris and all of us take pictures with the Eiffel Tower. It is a common thing to do and we love sharing our travels online. So in order to avoid crazy roaming costs in France the best thing to do is to buy a prepaid sim card in France with data.
I constantly update my European sim cards for tourists blogs and in July 2019 I wrote a guide to get you the best sim card in Europe! Click on the link to find out everything about sim cards valid in all of Europe.
In total I wrote more than 30 articles about sim cards for tourists. Most of the European countries I have now covered giving travelers the cheapest and best sim card ideas for their trip to Europe: UK, Germany, Spain, Poland, Rome, Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, etc.
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Buy your Europe sim card online
When you travel to France and don't want to go through the hassle of buying a sim card upon arrival I can recommend you to buy an Orange sim card online. It will be shipped to your home address for FREE, it works in 30 EU countries and gives you NOW 20GB instead of 10GB data, 2 hours calling time and 1,000 text messages. Click here for more info and order it straight away online.
Portable Wifi device for traveling in Europe
If you are traveling with kids you might want to check out a TEP wireless portable Wifi device. It gives you unlimited internet per day for a couple dollar and you can connect up to 5 devices at the same time!
Mobile operators in France
There are 4 major mobile phone providers in France and all of them are offering prepaid sim cards for tourists.
- Free Mobile
- Bouygues Telecom
Orange is the former France Telecom and the biggest one of these 4, but do they also have the best prepaid sim card in France for tourists?
I also found a place where they sold LycaMobile prepaid sim cards for France and will discuss them as well.
Arriving at Paris by plane? Check out my guide on buying a prepaid sim card for France at Paris Airport!
Buying a sim card in France
All of the 4 mobile phone providers have multiple shops around all tourist spots in France and you can buy a sim card at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris as well. But if you have read my guide for buying a sim card at Frankfurt Airport or Amsterdam Airport you know that buying a sim card at any airport is not the best idea.
Buy a sim card in Paris
In order to write this detailed article about the best sim card for France I roamed around Paris for you. Basically I visited all the 4 mobile operator shops to see who is offering the best tourist sim card in Paris. It is a little challenge as you know French people are not those who speak the best English in the world. At some shops people would only help me in French. That is France, get used to it.
Where to buy a sim card in Paris?
Simply go to Google Maps and type in one of the 4 mobile phone operators and see where is the nearest shop to you. But wait till I show you what is the best prepaid sim card in France, so you know in which direction to go.
Network coverage France sim card in 2019
First of all lets have a look at the 4G coverage maps for Orange, Free Mobile, Bouygues Telecom and SFR.
4G Coverage map of Bouygues Telecom
4G Coverage map of SFR
4G Coverage map of Orange
4G Coverage map of Free Mobile
From the 4G coverage maps we can clearly see that Free Mobile has a way smaller network than Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom. In all famous tourist spots in France Free Mobile has still great 4G coverage, but if you go off the beaten path this may be not the best prepaid sim card in France.
If you are simply looking for the best network coverage then you should go for a Bouygues Telecom prepaid sim card. But first lets have a look at the prices for sim cards in France. You might change your mind! And oh yeah almost forgot to mention Lycamobile France! More about it later…
Prices France data sim in 2019
Walking in to the Orange shop they straight away claimed to have the best package prepaid sim card package for France. Mostly when a too actively selling guy is claiming this, he is lying! So was this guy, because Orange does not offer the best France data sim package.
There is only 1 package available for tourists:
- 10GB data in Europe
- 2 hours calling (from Europe to anywhere)
- 1000 text messages (from Europe to anywhere)
Be careful this sim card is only valid for 14 days!
I must admit the Orange shop at Champs Elysees is a pretty nice one.
At Bouygues Telecom they were really helpful and basically told me the prepaid sim cards for France they were offering were not the best options on the market. And they were right about it.
These were the data packages available
- 1GB in France only
- Valid for 1 month
- 2GB in France only
- Valid for 1 month
- 5GB in France only
- Valid for 2 months
For calling you need to pay extra packages, see the chart down below.
As you can understand this is not the best prepaid data sim card for France available.
I went to two SFR shops and at both of them the prepaid sim cards were sold out. Strange because their data packages are not that spectacular! Sim cards cost €10 to activate and these are the available data packages for tourists.
Data package 1
- 1GB data only in France
- Valid for 10 days
- No calling credit
Data package 2
- 8GB data only in France
- Valid for 30 days
- No calling credit
Package SFR Kit Welcome
- 5GB data only in France
- 2h calling time to any number in the world
- Valid for 30 days
As you can see the restriction of data only being available in France makes a SFR sim card a no-go for travelers on a trip through Europe.
They might have the smallest network of all 4 but you should see the France data sim Free Mobile is offering.
Free mobile sells only one prepaid sim card with data, but that is a great package:
- €10 for a prepaid sim card in France
- €20 package
- Total costs €30
- Unlimited calling and texting in France
- 100GB data in France
- 25GB data in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, China and some more countries
- Unlimited calling and texting in these countries
This data packages from Free Mobile definitely seems like a winner to me! Plus you can recharge your Free Mobile prepaid sim card online after 30 days, so basically keep on traveling with this data package.
And then there is also Lycamobile, which operates on the network of Bouygues Telecom and offers France prepaid sim cards as well. Lycamobile sim cards are sold randomly in phone shops. Mostly they have a sign hanging outside to show they are resellers. To activate a Lycamobile sim card you have to pay €10.
Lycamobile France has 3 different packages:
Pass national S: €10 - unlimited calling and texting in France + 3GB
Pass national M: €15 - unlimited calling and texting in France + 10GB (BEST BUY)
Pass national L: €20 - unlimited calling and texting in France + 12GB
Connection is 4G and data packages are valid for 30 days all across Europe.
Portable WiFi device for up to 5 connections: TEP Wireless
May be you want to consider buying a protable WiFi device so you dont have to switch sim cards and mobile numbers. Have a look at TEP Wireless, a devices with unlimited data for a couple dollars per day in more than 100 countries and it lets you connect 5 devices (laptops, smartphones and tablets) at the same time. All your family members online in one go with TEP Wireless.
Best France data sim for tourists in 2019
Now we have seen the prices, the data packages and the network coverage for all 4 mobile providers in France and Lycamobile we can come to a conclusion and find the best-prepaid sim card in France for tourists.
- If you are traveling around Europe then I would not recommend buying a Bouygues Telecom or a SFR sim card as their data is only valid for France.
- If you are traveling in France/Europe for longer than 14 days then I would not recommend you to buy a Orange sim card as they are only valid for 14 days.
- Orange offers a bigger package then SFR, but is only valid for 14 days instead of 30 days for SFR.
- The French mobile internet providers offers large data packages, great plus. For example buying a German prepaid sim card, a 3GB data package is the biggest one available.
In my opinion the best prepaid sim card for France in 2019 is Free Mobile!
Their data packages are huge and can be considered unlimited and the price is cheaper than all the other 3 mobile providers SFR, Orange and Bouygues Telecom. I love the flexibility of the Free Mobile sim card for tourists, almost everything is included plus after 30 days you are able to renew your prepaid package online. How good is that?
If you stick to the main tourist spots in France you will enjoy a 4G signal with Free Mobile, if you go off the beaten path you might have to deal with 3G, but that is still alright I would say.
Is a FREE Mobile sim card also great for traveling in Europe? The speed drops! So I would not trust it. In the following link you can read all about my research to find the best prepaid sim card in Europe for tourists. Check it out and find the perfect sim card for your Europe trip!
Get your Europe sim card online
Remember that you can order your prepaid sim cards for traveling in Europe online for free. Click here to buy an Orange sim card with 20GB data valid in 30 countries! Now double data, click on the banner below to claim it.
If you want to connect more devices at the same time to the internet then a TEP Wireless portable Wifi device is great for traveling in Europe.
As being connected to the internet is vital to me I always research for the best sim card available in countries I travel to. That is why I also wrote guides for the best sim card in Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Vietnam, etc.
Let me know if you have any questions about traveling to France. If I can help, Im happy to do so. Send me a DM on my Instagram account @traveltomtom. Also you can find some cool France travel inspiration there from all over the country.
My Instagram though, tends to create serious wanderlust as you will find amazing pictures from all over Europe and more than 100 other countries worldwide. I have been on the road for more than 2,500 days now. Click here to find some of my best travel adventures from around the world.
Also if this France travel blog was helpful for you would you like to help me a little too? Please could you share the link of this article somewhere on the internet? That would be so kind! Every tweet on Twitter, pin on Pinterest or post in a Facebook Group or on your own page helps me a lot. A small thing for you to do, which can make a big difference for me.
Enjoy your trip to France!