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French SIM cards - Lyon airport


I am a Canadian travelling and WWOOFing (working on organic farms) in France for about 3 months this summer, and I have been investigating French SIM cards to use whilst I am there. Some of the prepaid cards marketed to tourists (e.g. SFR's "welcome card") probably won't do the job since they are quite pricey for only 14 days, so I have looked into buying a SIM card from SFR, Orange, etc. and then topping up a plan ("les recharges") every month or so. (Please advise me if this is a good way to go, thanks!)

The only problem is that I arrive at the Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport (but won't be going into Lyon itself) and there don't seem to be any SFR, Orange, Bouygues Telecom, etc stores at the airport, if I'm not mistaken. Does anyone know if the Relay stores in the airport sell basic SIM cards (beyond just the 14-day ones) that can be topped up with a "recharge"? Or is anyone familiar with what my options might be in this circumstance?

Any advice or ideas are very much appreciated! Thank you!!

Posted by
8889 posts

WWOOFing (working on organic farms) in France for about 3 months this summer

Not the question you asked, but this rings two alarm bells.
1) Unless you are an EU/Schengen citizen, working requires a Work Permit. Some of these volunteer schemes try to hide under the radar by advising you to enter as a tourist; but that makes you an undocumented illegal immigrant, and if caught you can be fined.
2) As a non-EU/Schengen citizen, you are only allowed 90 days in any 180 in the Schengen Area, including France. 90 days is slightly under 3 months. If you go over you may be stopped on exit, fined and banned from returning.

Posted by
401 posts

Personally, I would not recommend buying a SIM card anywhere but from one of the service providers at their shops. At the last minute, I bought an SFR SIM card at one of the larger tabacs in Lyon for a spare phone I have to give to some visitors to use while they were in town. It was a total pain to deal with and we never really got it to work properly during their week-long stay.

SFR was unable (or unwilling) to help because they didn't sell it, and the tabac, of course, was useless.

Based on that experience, when I did a similar thing for other visitors the following year, I went to an SFR store and bought a SIM from them. Same phone, no problems.