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Phone Data use navigating with iPhone 13 in France

We are driving in Northern France for 20 days in May/June. We would like to navigate using i Phone 13 as we are familiar with use and have been confused with in car systems in past. We currently have Verizon coverage with open subscription (can change carrier). Considering using the $10 per day Verizon package. Has anyone used this package? Problems?

Other proven suggestions? (Know buying a SIM card there is option, but don't know details etc)

Thanks very much!

Posted by
2 posts

I am about to do my first trip to France, so I can't speak to how well the nav wlll work there, but I have used the verizon $10 per day package in Prague, Ho Chi Mihn and Amsterdam and it has always worked well for me. Two thoughts: First, keep your phone on airplane mode any day that you don't intend to call because robocalls will trigger the $10. And two, you might also investigate which works off-line.

Posted by
751 posts

If you are looking for very good coverage throughout France, including the rural areas, the carrier Orange is worth considering. They have a prepaid plan for travelers, Orange Holiday:

Should you surpass the 20GB, top-ups are available. Some couples on the Forum have used one phone for the Orange Holiday plan, and used the other for the Verizon plan in case of emergencies at home, only activating a day of service if needed.

Orange Holiday has tethering so both phones can use the data. You will have a French phone number for making and confirming local reservations easily by text (SMS) or voice. The plan also includes calling and texting to the US as well as Europe.

Hope this helps. I have used it several times, and would do so again.

Posted by
2153 posts

$10 a day adds up over 20 days! Cellular services are far less expensive in Europe than in the US, and you'll probably cover your needs with 15-20 euros spent on a local SIM.

If you're not confident you could go to a phone store on your first day there. I'd recommend a store run by one of the major companies, not 3rd party shops.

Your phone must be unlocked from Verizon (which probably means it has to be paid off.

Posted by
3085 posts

Check the “Phones & Tech” section on this site under Travel Tips. It should answer a lot of your questions. The Orange SIM cards are a great buy instead of paying Verizon $200. Whenever I go on an overseas trip, I always get a local SIM card. All your apps will work as if you were home. About the only thing you can’t do is text friends back home - so use email or What’s App.

Posted by
598 posts

Thanks, Laura for the tip about keeping the phone on airplane mode. Do voicemails come through all at once when you turn off airplane mode? I know I'm charged for every call that connects whether I answer or not. I'm just concerned about the large number of Robo calls I regularly receive adding up.
To the OP: I have a T-Mobile account with decent per call rates so I will not be getting a French Sim card for my upcoming trip. I have, however in the past purchased local Sim cards for my phone which have always worked well. I know Orange has excellent coverage. Last time we used a service located in the UK for coverage in France and Italy. Don't recall the name right now but you could probably Google it. The great thing about it was customer service which was, thankfully in English! And Scudder is right that your phone has to be paid off before can be unlocked. If it is paid off you call Verizon as Scudder says and get them to unlock it. I have always stayed in the shop where I purchased the card and asked for help loading the new Sim card and checking to make sure it worked. One caveat: do NOT Lose Your Original Sim Card! I put mine in the little plastic container the new Sim card came in and put that inside by passport. Easy to keep track of that way.

Posted by
540 posts

we found that it was actually cheaper to rent a GPS from the car rental place. sometimes they will throw it in for free.

Posted by
1220 posts

We always buy a SIM once we arrive. It's super easy (and cheap). Just make sure your phone is unlocked before you leave (go to Verizon to do this), and then when you land you will likely find an Orange retailer in the airport and the person working there can put the new SIM in for you. Seriously at 10/day, we never use the Verizon plan (plus it gets triggered for all kinds of reasons and we ended up spending $10 on days we didnt want it). The SIM card, as someone said, is cheap and easy. We've done this in France, Greece, Spain, and Italy. If/when the SIM we bought runs out of data, we have found another Orange store in small, towns on the road and bought a new one.

edited to add: save your original/U.S. SIM card in a safe place because you will re-load it into your phone once you leave Europe

Posted by
5665 posts

Verizon also has an international plan
One time charge of $100 for a 30 day period
20 days x$10 is twice that for fewer days
If you go over your data you will be charged but we’ve never gone over
Only use when you need, otherwise free Wi-Fi everywhere

Posted by
751 posts

Just had another thought on the Orange Holiday…you can download the eSim directly to your phone on their website. iPhone 13! It has space for 2 active eSims.

Posted by
83 posts

Thank you for your advice on the SIM cards. I am thoroughly befuddled on how this works. Here's what I'm thinking: I wanted to get a prepaid int'l phone here, get a SIM card in Paris, w/unlimited data.
I don't want to keep changing SIM cards, so I'll just keep my iPhone with me & pay the ATT $30/fee (so I can respond to bz messages).
1. What are the best retailers that sell Orange for examples, at CDG or in Paris? We are staying near the Gare L'Est the first night.
Will the phone store set-up my phone for me with the SIM card? Do LG & Samsung work in France?
2. Is my plan to have a pre-paid for Google Maps reasonable, you think?
3. Buying a cheap international enabled phone here in USA, would allow me to use it with the French SIM card and also when I return.

All suggestions welcome!

Posted by
1375 posts

Orange is a French internet and telephone service provider. Another provider is SFR

1/ If you don't go to the CDG store, there are Orange stores in Paris (the closest to the Gare de l'Est is located at 274 Faubourg Saint-Martin).

Many tobacco shops also sell prepaid SIM cards (Orange, SFR, or others) check if you see the "Orange" logo on the door of the shop, they are not supposed to install it for you, but ask anyway.

LG and Samsung are very popular brands in France

2/ There is an option in Google Maps to pre-download maps.
When you are connected in Wifi choose the area where you want to go and pre-download it. You will consume less GSM data

Posted by
1025 posts

Buy this, ( install it on the trip over, first insuring that your phone is powered off, then turn on your phone power after landing. Easy peasy, French phone number, full utility with Google Maps and all your other apps.

Before you leave, like tomorrow, download Google Translate and download the French dictionary/translate function. It is a truly remarkable app for communication. It reads signs through the camera on your phone and translates the words. Slick.

Posted by
1745 posts

I found an E Sim option from Orange. The carrier gets good reviews in the forum. The link is for a data only E Sim plan. They have others that include calls and texts but are for 14 days and would require a top up. It appears that you can buy it online direct from Orange.

Posted by
2630 posts

We used Verizon’s $10 per day plan in Spain when we were driving last November. It worked much better than the car’s GPS which could not locate many places we were trying to find. We only used the Verizon plan on days we needed it. We have also used our Verizon plan for GPS when walking for the past three weeks. And it worked well.

Posted by
694 posts

I'm not sure why you need a data plan. I have been navigating using my phone without a data plan for over 10 years.

All you need is a phone that does GPS, and an ap that uses the GPS. Download the maps for where you are going over wifi , and a couple of local maps that cover where you live so you can practice, before you leave home.

I use organic maps, which uses OSM data. The maps are updated every month and are very detailed ( is an example). The navigation is good, certainly as good as google.

Posted by
144 posts

We've used the Verizon $10 plan on a few trips. It cost a bit more, but it was easier. I like to keep it simple, even if I have to spend more. There is also a monthly plan as mentioned in another post that's cheaper if you're there over a few weeks.

On a trip to England a few years ago, we had problems with reception only in areas of London, of all places. Not on our hiking trails in Cornwall and Dorset. Go figure. But I complained to Verizon when we arrived home and they credited me right away.

We rented a car on our last trip to France and the navigation on google maps worked great. I can still hear the little voice saying, "At the roundabout..." Heard that a lot! :)

Posted by
194 posts

Not sure if Verizon is same as AT&T wrt the $10/day, but it is only for days you USE data. I just got back from Paris, and was only a week. So I used my iPhone and the $10/day plan - was just easier for me. And I use my maps quite often when traveling.