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Req Advice - Cellphone Service in France

Going to be traveling from Paris to Narbonne, to Bordeaux, LaRochelle, Normandy and back to Paris. Looking at unlocked global GSM SIMS card phones... any recommendations on service providers for tourists in France? Going to spend 2 weeks and need reliable phone / text / data without breaking the bank.

Thanks in advance

Posted by
12077 posts

I used one that had three letters - SMT, SRT, or something like that. I really just went to the phone shop closest to my hostel and bought what they had. I spent 30 euro for the card with some time and data and later added another 30 euro - so 60 euro total. I could have probably done better if I had monitored my data usage more carefully when I first arrived and adjusted some settings on my phone.

You might save a little with Orange, but all the service providers will be competitively priced.

I don't think you will have reliability issues regardless of which service you pick.

Posted by
223 posts

I suspect Brad is referring to SFR, which is the provider I have used for several years for phone and internet. You can peruse SFR's prepaid SIM cards (les cartes prépayées) here:

Other providers are Orange, Free, and Buoygues, as well as other smaller ones.

You'll need proof of ID, like a passport, to purchase. I recommend purchasing directly from an SFR store rather than a vendor such as a Tabac.

Posted by
9416 posts

I second K's suggestion. I've been using SFR for several years and always pick up my sim cards and minutes at the SFR shops. Once or twice I've had to get the minutes at a nearby shop, but the SFR employees are kind enough to load them into the phone for me.

They, as well as Orange, do have an overpriced tourist product that you should avoid, so look at the literature from K carefully.

Posted by
21 posts

Thanks for the replies. Any restrictions on the SIMS - call / txt /data cards as far as calling U.S. from France? Would I need to buy anything special or would it simply charge a higher cost-per-minute fee? I know Orange has something for tourists called a "Holiday SIMS Card" at a special rate of about 40 Euros. Orange Holiday Sims Package

Seems like a deal, anyone use this before?

Thanks again!

Posted by
8806 posts

I bought the Orange 40 Euro SIM card in Paris last month. Worked great. It's only good for 2 wks. I used it constantly, texts, apps, internet, photos, a few local calls and many calls to London. Had plenty of data and min left at the end of the 2 wks. I went with Orange because I read a post before my trip saying Orange had the best service/coverage.

Posted by
9416 posts

I don't use the French sim to call the States but I used to use Skype or FaceTime. Nowadays I use my Google phone to call the States or even other European countries, while the French phone is mainly for French family and friends to be able to call me on a French number​ when I'm there.

Posted by
784 posts

I bought a cheap phone - voice/text only - From Amazon and a Lebara SIM at a tabac once I arrived in Paris. Worked great. I didn't need or want data, but if you do, it would be worth it to see what is available on Amazon. I paid $30 for mine, which will soon make its third trip.