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Telephone for a month?

We will be visiting Paris for a month. Both my wife and I would like to have telephones. What is the best way of doing this? Merci.

Posted by
7996 posts

Our last trip we stayed a month and went to an Orange phone store (there are many) and bought two phones. They were about $100 for both. Came with a lot of minutes. When we needed more we just went into an Orange store and paid for more. It was easy and having the phones was great. Next trip, we'll bring the phones with us.

Posted by
1020 posts

Check the Phonehouse website to see the latest "prépayé" phone deals. It's in French but you can figure it out fairly easily. Not long ago Lebara had the best deal on phone sims.

Posted by
833 posts

It may be cheaper to bring unlocked phones to France (if you have any available to you or can find two for cheap), and then simply purchase SIM cards there. Pre-paid is the way to go - just recharge your credit whenever needed.

Posted by
1005 posts

Buy unlocked phones before you go (or unlock the old ones still in your desk drawer). I use the Lebara brand when I'm in France because they have an English version of their website and their operators speak English, see Lebara website.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for the advice. I'm not sure I understand locked and unlocked phones. Before reading all of the responses, I stopped at a Verizon store, and they recommended I get two iPhones and get sim (sp?) cards at CDG. Does this make sense?

Posted by
833 posts

Most phones when you buy them are locked to a carrier. For example, if I buy a new iPhone at the Apple Store (or Best Buy, AT&T, whatever you want) it will be locked to a carrier unless I specifically buy unlocked (and pay $$$ for that privilege). Usually when you buy a phone you are under contract. After your contract is up (and sometimes before) the carrier will unlock the phone for you. Or if you buy cheap go-phone, sometimes they are unlocked. If your phone is not unlocked, then it will not function on a SIM card from another carrier. That is why you must have an unlocked phone if you want to put a French SIM card in. So you can ask your carrier to see if they will unlock your phone, or there are places to buy unlocked phones here in the US, or you can do it over in Europe.

Posted by
31303 posts

dcastro,

NO, the suggestion from Verizon to buy two iPhones does NOT make sense. It sounds like they're trying to flog iPhones, rather than providing practical advice. Having an iPhone (or other Smartphone) brings the matter of data costs into the equation, and I'm assuming that you're just interested in voice and perhaps text.

You can easily buy cheap prepaid (PAYG) phones when you arrive in France. Cell phone shops are ubiquitous in most cities in Europe, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding one. The staff in the shop should be able to help you set things up, as the menus will be in French. Also, make sure you're clear on the method of topping up.

You could also pick up a couple of unlocked, quad-band GSM phones off E-Bay or Amazon and then just buy SIM cards when you arrive in France. I used a Motorola V-551 flip phone for many years and always found it to be reliable, so that's one possibility. If you buy a phone on this side of the pond, be sure to check the Charger to ensure it's designed for multi-voltage operation. You'll also need to pack along some Euro Plug Adaptors.

Regarding your question about "unlocked", many network providers here "lock" their phones so they will only accept SIM cards from their network (tends to prevent customers from changing to a rival network). Having an unlocked phone means it will accept SIM cards from any network.

Happy travels!