The Best Prepaid French SIM Cards for Tourists Compared

During a trip to France, it is often possible to use the Wi-Fi connection of the hotel you’re staying in. Additionally, some public places such as train stations and cafés now offer a free Wi-Fi connection. But since it is hard to predict what you might need at any specific moment of your trip and it can be hard to get access to the internet at any specific time, here are some useful tips to get a SIM card and some telephone credit for the duration of your visit.

sim card
Planning on getting a SIM card for your trip to France? We’ll explain what you can do

Important note: Since June 15th, 2017, mobile roaming fees have been canceled in Europe. So, if you live in the European Union, you will now be able to use your data without additional cost during your trip to France (or any other country of the EU). Be careful though, this law is only valid in the European Union and is not applicable elsewhere such as America, Africa, and Asia, or even countries like Turkey or Switzerland (which are situated in Europe but are not part of the European Union). Also, remember to be mindful of your data consumption: your data limit might be reduced while you’re abroad. For example, if you have a bundle with 20GB of internet data, you might only be able to use 5GB of data abroad and will be overcharged if you exceed the limit. This law is also applicable to prepaid SIM cards (the conditions will have to be negotiated with your telephone operator).

For European citizens, it is therefore not necessary to buy a French SIM card before traveling to France, but be very careful about the terms and conditions of your operator to avoid being caught off-guard.

For others, here are the different offers by French phone companies, created especially for tourists:

 

 

1) TravelWifi SIM card

sim card travelwifi

The startup company TravelWifi has set up its own prepaid SIM card. It works in more than 200 countries and offers 20GB of data (valid throughout Europe). It also includes 120 minutes of calls and 1000 texts, all for 39.95€, valid for 14 days.

This SIM card can be collected free of charge from the TravelWifi store in Paris in the 2nd arrondissement (38 Avenue de l’Opéra, 75002 Paris) or delivered directly to your hotel or home in Europe.

Take advantage of a 5% exclusive discount with our buyer’s code France_Hotel_Guide

Book your TravelWifi SIM card

 

 

2) Orange Holiday

orange

Orange, one of the main French phone operators, offers a prepaid SIM card without a contract or invoice: the “Mobicarte” for 14.99€. It includes 2 hours of calls in France and in Europe, unlimited texts, 3 unlimited numbers, and 100Mb of data in France and in Europe. This card is valid for 14 days, but you can get a top-up card.

There is also the “Orange Holiday” card, conceived specifically for tourists, Orange offers a SIM card for 39.99€, with a French phone number, unlimited calls and texts in Europe, 2 hours of calls and 1000 texts from Europe to the world as well as 30 GB of data in Europe. The initial plan is valid for 14 days starting from the first call or text.

You want more? You just need to buy a top-up card to get 1 hour of calls, 500 texts and 5 GB (also for 14 days) for 20€. It is also possible to top-up with any Orange prepaid card, which you can find in supermarkets and tobacco shops. They are easy to find since they are used by locals as well.

Are you going on a trip around Europe? Good news, this bundle can be used in all the countries of the European Union.

You can get the Orange Holiday card and the top-ups in Orange stores (in French), tobacco shops, gas stations, and supermarkets. You will also find them in Relay shops in airports. The booklet that comes with it will be able to guide you since it comes in five different languages.

Recap of their offers:

    Price Calls Texts Data Validity period
Mobicarte 14,99€ 2h Unlimited 100Mb 14 days
Mobicarte top-up “Classique” 5€ Unlimited from 9pm to midnight Unlimited from 9pm to midnight See current prices 6 days
10€ 12 days
15€ 20 days
20€ 2 months
35€ 3 months
50€ 4 months
75€ 6 months
100€ 1 year
“Max” 5€ 2 hours to unlimited Unlimited 20Mb 7 days
10€ Unlimited

 

 

Unlimited 500Mb 10 days
20€ 2Gb 1 month
30€ 10Gb 1 month
“Internet mobile” 5€ Aucun

 

 

 

Aucun

 

 

 

1Gb 5 days
10€ 5Gb 14 days
25€ 15Gb 31 days
40€ 35Gb 31 days
“Monde” 5€ 16 minutes See currents price None 5 days
10€ 33 minutes 14 days
20€ 66 minutes 1 month
Holiday 39,99€ Unlimited in France and Europe; 2 hours international calls Unlimited in France and Europe; 1000 international texts 30Gb 14 days
Holiday top-up 20€ 1 hour international calls 500 international texts 5Gb 14 days
40€ 1 hour international calls, unlimited in France and Europe 1000 international texts, unlimited in France and Europe 20Gb 30 days

Where can you get the card?

  • Tobacco shops
  • Orange shops
  • Supermarkets (Auchan and Carrefour)
  • Newspaper kiosks
  • At Carte SIM 4G (CDG and Orly airport)
  • Online

Where can you get the top-up?

  • Tobacco shops
  • Online
  • From your cell, dialing #123# or 224
  • From some ATMs

 

 

3) PASS SFR La Carte

sfr

SFR, another leader in the phone operators market, offers a prepaid card “La Carte” (in French), starting from 9.99€ and including a 10€ credit, available for 30 days. Once the card is in your cellphone, you can get a top-up option in SFR (in French).

The “classique” top-ups include a communication credit (calls, texts, data), unlimited communications after 9 pm and on the weekend, and an access to the PASS. Top-up cards start at 5€ and go up to 95€ and are valid for 6 to 150 days, depending on the price.

PASS are similar to top-up cards, but you just have to send a text from your cellphone if you have a SFR SIM card.

The “monde” top-ups include international texts and calls. You can get a 5€ top-up for 5 days, 10€ for 14 days and 20€ for 30 days.

The “internet mobile” top-ups only give you data and doesn’t include any call or text. With 5€, you get 1Gb of data for 5 days; with 10€, you get 5Gb for 8 days; with 25€, you can get 15Gb for 30 days; with 35€, you can get 30Gb for 30 days.

The “illimité” top-ups give you unlimited communications (texts/calls). With 5€, you get 1 hour of calls, unlimited texts and 1Gb of data for 7 days. The other offers all have unlimited calls and texts. With 10.99€, you get 5Gb of data for 10 days. With 20.99€, you get 20Gb of data for 30 days. With 30€, you get 30Gb of data for 30 days. These top-ups give you access to SFR hotspots.

The SIM card must be ordered online (in French) or bought in an SFR store (in French). The top-ups can be ordered online or bought in SFR shops, in supermarkets or in Relay shops (including in airports).

Recap of their offers

Price Calls Texts Data Validity period
La Carte 9.99€ See current prices See current prices 0 à 20Gb 14 to 30 days
La Carte Connect 14.99€ See current prices See current prices 15Gb 25 to 30 days
La Carte Welcome 30€ Unlimited Unlimited 20Gb 14 days
La Carte Web 9.99€ See current prices See current prices 50Mb 30 days
“Classique” top-ups 5€ Unlimited after 9pm and on weekends Unlimited after 9pm and on weekends None 6 days
10€ 13 days
15€ 25 days
20€ 30 days
25€ 60 days
30€ 60 days
35€ 90 days
65€ 120 days
95€ 150 days
« Monde » top-ups 5€ See current prices See current prices None 5 days
10€ 14 days
15€ 30 days
« Internet mobile » top-ups 5€ None None 1Gb 5 days
10€ 5Gb 8 days
25€ 15Gb 30 days
35€ 30Gb 30 days
« Welcome » top-ups 20€ Up to 1 hour See current prices 10Gb 14 days
5G top-ups 40€ 100 numbers, unlimited calls 200 numbers, unlimited calls 40Gb 30 days
« Illimité » top-ups 5€ 1 hour Unlimited 1Gb 7 days
10.99€ Unlimited Unlimited 5Gb 10 days
20.99€ 20Gb 30 days
30€ 30Gb 30 days

 

Where can you get the card?

Where can you get the top-ups?

  • Superrmarkets (Auchan and Carrefour)
  • Newspaper kiosks
  • Relay stores (including at CDG and Orly airports)
  • Tobacco shops
  • By texting: 987 (for the PASS)

 

 

4) LeFrenchMobile

lefrenchmobile logo

 

This website offers prepaid SIM cards to use in France for purchase.

With a delivery of 7 to 10 days in Europe and 12 to 15 days for the rest of the world, you will have a SIM card as soon as you arrive in France. You can do everything online: choose the offer you’re most interested in and place your order right away. For the tourists in French territory, this company offers a SIM card and a bundle for 25, which allows you to make calls, send texts in France and use the internet. The advantage is that you can use the 25 however you want to. Moreover, this bundle has an unlimited validity!

If you only need the internet data, another offer based on the same principle might be better for you: a SIM card with a bundle of 2GB of data, for 16.94€ only. Please note that for this option, the validity is only 90 days.

No more credit? Don’t worry, you just need to connect to the LeFrenchMobile website (at a place that offers Wi-Fi) to top-up your SIM card with the amount you wish (2GB will cost you 12€ and 5GB will cost you 25€). You should note that this website also offers deals that work throughout all of Europe.

Recap of their offers

    Price Calls Texts Data Validity period
SIM + DATA France 16,94€ 10 minutes See current prices 2Gb 90 days
SIM + credit France 25€ See current prices See current prices See current prices Unlimited
Top-ups Credits 10€ to 100€ See current prices See current prices See current prices Unlimited
Pack DATA France 10€ to 65€ None None 2Gb to 100Gb 30 to 60 days
Pack DATA European union 5€ to 69€ None None 500Mb to 20Gb 14 to 30 days

 

 

5) Lyca Mobile

The Lyca Mobile website also offers prepaid SIM cards, for you to spend your holidays without the stress of not being able to use your phone. You can order directly on the website and can receive your SIM card at home in just a few days.

You can order the free SIM card and add the top-up of your choice (5€, 10€, 20€, 30€ or 50€). Calls to a Lycamobile number are unlimited.

Where can you get the card?

Where can you get the top-up?

  • Supermarkets (Géant casino, Carrefour, Dia, Leclerc, Super U, Monoprix)
  • Darty stores
  • Newspaper kiosks
  • Relay stores (including at CDG and Orly airports)
  • Tobacco shops

 

6) Lebara

Lebara logo

Lebara offers prepaid cards. You can order a SIM card on Lebara’s website (shipping in France only), then buy a top-up on their website or in stores such as tobacco shops, supermarkets etc…

The SIM card is free and includes 2Gb of data. You can choose how much credit you want to add (5€, 10€, 15€, 20€ or 30€). You can also get a SIM card that you can charge with the amount of money you want.

If you only need data, it is also possible with the “pass internet”. From 1 to 40Gb, these cards are available for 30 days and the SIM card is free and includes 2Gb. With 4.99€ you get 1Gb of data, with 9.99€ you get 3Gb, with 19.99€ you get 10Gb, with 29.99€ you get 20Gb and with 49.99€ you get 40Gb.

Recap of their offer

  Price Calls Texts Data Validity period
SIM card Free See current prices See current prices See current prices Undisclosed
“Classiques” top-ups 5€ to 30€ See current prices See current prices See current prices 90 days
“Pass Internet” 4.99€ to 49.99€ None None 1Gb to 40Gb 30 days
“Pass international” 9.99€ 30 to 120 minutes (13 to 16 countries) See current prices None 14 days

 

7) La Poste Mobile

La Poste Mobile (in French) offers different prepaid cards and top-ups. You can find it at the Post office. You can get the top-ups on their website, the post office, or by call. There are four offers:

With 5€, you get unlimited texts and calls and 100Mb of data for 7 days.

With 10€, you get unlimited texts and calls and 500Mb of data for 15 days.

With 20€, you get unlimited texts and calls and 2Gb of data for 60 days.

With 30€, you get unlimited texts and calls and 4Gb of data for 90 days.

Recap of their offers

  Price Calls Texts Data Validity period
Prepaid card 9.90€ See current prices See current prices See current prices Undisclosed
Top-ups 5€ Unlimited Unlimited 100Mb 7 days
10€ Unlimited Unlimited 500Mb 15 days
20€ Unlimited Unlimited 2Gb 60 days
30€ Unlimited Unlimited 4Gb 90 days

 

Where can you get the card?

  • Post offices

Where can you get the top-ups?

  • Online (in French)
  • Post offices
  • By dialing 2525

 

8) Bouygues Telecom

Bouygues Telecom also has some offers for prepaid SIM cards.

My European SIM is a prepaid card for tourists, especially those who want to visit other European countries. For 39.90€ you get unlimited calls and texts in France and in Europe, 20Gb of data and 25€ of international communications for 30 days. You can order this card online, but it can only be activated in France.

The card comes with a tourist guide translated in 10 languages, a map of Paris metro, different tips, a SIM card ejector in the shape of the Eiffel Tower, stickers, and a keychain.

They also offer other prepaid cards (in French). With their XL offer you get unlimited calls and texts, and internet data.

With 5€, you get unlimited calls and texts, 500Mb of data and 3€ of international communications for 3 days.

With 10€, you get unlimited calls and texts, 1Gb of data and 5€ of international communications for 10 days.

With 20€, you get unlimited calls and texts, 2Gb of data and 10€ of international communications for 30 days.

With 40€, you get unlimited calls and texts, 5Gb of data and 25€ of international communications for 60 days.

Recap of their offers

  Price Calls Texts Data Validity period
My European SIM 39.90€ Unlimited Unlimited 20Gb 30 days
Cartes prépayées XL 5€ Unlimited Unlimited 500Mb 3 days
10€ Unlimited Unlimited 1Gb 10 days
20€ Unlimited Unlimited 2Gb 30 days
40€ Unlimited Unlimited 5Gb 60 days

 

Where can you get the card?

  • Online (in French)
  • Bouygues Telecom stores
  • Relay store (including at CDG and Orly airports)
  • Tobacco shops

Where can you get the top-ups?

  • Online (in French)
  • Supermarkets (Auchan and Carrefour)
  • Newspaper kiosks
  • Relay stores (including at CDG and Orly airports)
  • Tobacco shops

 

 

Bonus: the 4G TravelWifi Hotspot

hotspot travelwifi
Why not rent a 4G Wifi hotspot?

This one is a little bit different since it is not a SIM card. TravelWifi allows you to rent a 4G WIFI hotspot which they call a Teppy and which can be used all over the world, including in France.

The Teppy is ideal for a family or a group of friends traveling together because the connection is in 4G (calls and texts are not included but the Tep+ voice call application is free and included – apps such as Messenger or WhatsApp also work) and can be shared to up to 5 devices (tablets, smartphones, computers).

You can pick up the device at the startup’s offices in Paris’ 3rd arrondissement, at a Tourist Information Point, at CDG and Orly airports or even have it delivered directly to your home.

After picking up your Teppy, you will receive a pouch containing the device, a user manual, a charger, and a return envelope.

Rental price for the Teppy hotspot in France:

Adventure: 7.25 € / day (1GB / day).

Escape: 8.25 € / day (5GB / day + travel adapter).

Voyage:  9.25 € / day (unlimited internet + travel adapter).

You can also buy the Teppy hotspot for 149€ or 199€.

Take advantage of a 5% exclusive discount with our buyer’s code France_Hotel_Guide

Book your TravelWifi Hotspot

 

 

Comparative of the different French SIM cards for tourists

  Price Calls Texts Data Validity period Where can you find it?
Carte SIM TravelWifi 36.95€ Unlimited Unlimited 20Gb 14 days In stores or online
Orange 14.99€ to 39.99€ 2 hours to unlimited Unlimited 100Mb to 30Gb 14 days In stores or online
SFR 5€ to 95€ 1 hour to unlimited Unlimited after 9 pm and on the weekend 50Mb to 30Gb 5 to 150 days In stores or online
Frenchmobile 16.95€ to 25€ None or to share None or to share 2Gb or to share 90 days or unlimited Online
Lycamobile 5€ to 50€ See current prices See current prices See current prices Depends on the top-up Online
Lebara 4.99€ to 40.99€ See current prices See current prices 1Gb à 40Gb Up to 90 days In stores or online
La Poste 5€ to 30€ Unlimited Unlimited 100Mb to 4Gb 7 to 90 days In stores or online
Bouygues Telecom 5€ to 40€ Unlimited Unlimited 500Mb to 20Gb 3 to 60 days In stores or online
Boîtier WIFI (TravelWifi) Starting at 7.25€ Via WhatsApp or Messenger Via WhatsApp or Messenger 1Gb to unlimited Changing In store or online

 

The Mobile Phone Coverage

Depending on where you are in France, the strength of your mobile signal can vary, going from full coverage for some operators to “white areas” for others. It is therefore important to get information beforehand on the quality of the network coverage in the region where you will be staying, so you don’t get caught off-guard in case of emergency, and thus choose the operator that has the best network.

To make sure you have a satisfying network once you are in France, you can refer to this general map for the main operators’ network coverage in France :

carte de la couverture mobile en France
©ARCEP – monreseaumobile.fr

 

Moreover, this is an interactive map; go to the dedicated ARCEP website, and you will be able to check how the coverage is like in each region and city, depending on the different French operators. Just use the search bar in the right top corner, above the map.

When taking the example of Paris, here are the results:

For Orange:

©nperf

 

For SFR:

©nperf

 

For Bouygues:

©nperf

 

What documents do you need to buy a SIM card?

For Orange Mobicarte, SFR and la Poste: Identity paper (resident permit, identity card, passport)

If you buy online: you need to fill a form on the website

 

Conclusion: Which SIM card should you get?

  • European tourists: roaming is free in Europe, so you can use your current card. If you need more data, we advise you get the Internet Pass by Lebara or the pass + DATA by Frenchmobile
  • Non-European tourists in France for 1 to 3 days: we recommend the prepaid card XL (in French) by Bouygues Telecom or Orange Mobicarte (with a data top-up).
  • Non-European tourists in France for 4 to 7 days: we recommend travel WIFI SIM card or Orange Holiday.
  • Non-European tourists in France for 8 days to 1 month: we recommend the card CONNECT (in French) by SFR or My European SIM by Bouygues Telecom
  • Non-European tourists in France for more than a month: we recommend La Carte (in French) SFR with a top-up or My European SIM with a top-up.
  • Non-European tourists traveling as a group: we recommend renting a WIFI 4G from travel WIFI.