Traveling to France soon? Don't get fooled by slow overseas data plan, buy a local prepaid sim card in France, the best way to avoid high roaming charges. This is your guide for buying a prepaid sim card in France with up to date prices as per October 2022, the best 4G/5G network in France, where to buy a sim card for traveling in France, info about EU roaming and even info about international and e-sim cards for France.

As I am on a journey to visit every country in the world I get to see a lot of countries and that is how I already wrote more than 150 articles about sim cards for tourists: USAThailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Africa, Egypt, UK, Germany, Spain, Poland, Rome, Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, Dubai, Cameroon, Pakistan, etc.

So whenever you are planning your next adventure come back here and I will tell you what is the best sim card for your next trip. Bookmark Traveltomtom!

Why buying a sim card for France

Nowadays every hotel, bar, restaurant and even taxis in France offer free WiFi, but the simple question is: do you want to rely on this? What if the WiFi signal in your hotel room is very weak, or the restaurants WiFi is too slow to even stream a video? Frustrating! Right? Also another reminder that public WiFi is an UNSECURED connection, the use of a VPN in these cases is recommended to protect your privacy.

Ordering an Uber, getting directions from Google Maps, finding a nearby restaurant on TripAdvisor... I can come up with a ton of reasons why I recommend you to buy a local sim card for your trip to France.

High roaming charges can easily be avoided by getting a local prepaid sim card with data. A much cheaper way to stay connected than an overseas data plan. You can actually find very good prepaid sim card deals in France in 2022.

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends a Free Mobile sim card for France as they have the best sim card deals and the best 4G/5G network in France! Wanna make it yourself very easy? Then order an e-sim card for France directly online. Fast, easy and done in a minute.

If you are traveling to more than one country in Europe then you might want to look into an international sim card with global coverage. In my comparison of the best international sim cards in 2022 you can find them ranked from best to worst.

E-sim card for France

Without a doubt the best way to get internet on your phone when traveling overseas in 2022 is to get an e-sim card. Everything will be done online and installed on your phone. You change some settings and voila, done! An e-sim card lets you connect to a foreign network and gives you data allowance. Check out the following e-sim card deals for France:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $5
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $10
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $15
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $22.5

Click here to order a France e-sim card directly online or find more info. With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number.

europe sim card orange 728x90

E-sim cards are data only sim cards! So if you also want to make phone calls in France then I recommend you buying a physical sim card for France online. For $39.90 you get 20 GB data including unlimited texting and calling all over Europe. Click here to order this France sim card directly online or find more info in the link.

France sim cards and EU roaming

All prepaid sim cards in France include free EU roaming. That means if you buy a sim card in Paris and then travel to Frankfurt, Germany you can use your France sim card for calling, texting and data without any extra charges. Find more info and tips in my guide for buying a local sim card in Europe or go directly to my list of the best sim cards for traveling in Europe in 2022.

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Mobile operators in France

There are 4 mobile internet providers in France and all of them are offering prepaid sim cards for tourists:

  • Orange
  • SFR
  • Free Mobile
  • Bouygues Telecom

Orange is the former France Telecom and the biggest mobile operator in France. On top of that there are a bunch of smaller so called MVNO's. They operate independently but use the mobile network of one of the above internet providers, an example is Lebara Mobile and Lycamobile.

Where to buy a sim card in France

Buying a sim card at Paris Airport

The easiest and fastest place to buy a France sim card is of course on arrival at the international airport. Paris has two international airports. Are you landing at Charles de Gaulle then check out my complete guide for buying a sim card at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. May you land Paris Orly Airport don't worry there are also sim card shops there, but I don't have a specific guide for it.

Any other major international airport has France sim card kiosk. You can buy a sim card at Nice and Marseille airport also. Great thing about buying a sim card for France at the airport is that they will speak English, in the city center that will sometimes be an issue!

City center

Every city in France has multiple phone retail stores located across the city center. Simply go to Google Maps and type in one of the 4 mobile internet operators and see where is the nearest store to you. But wait till I show you what is the best prepaid sim card in France, so you know in which direction to go.

Best 4G/5G network in France in 2022

First of all let's have a look at the 4G/5G network coverage maps for France updated per February 2022. We don't want to get stuck with a 3G signal anymore, we want 5G!

Bouygues Telecom 4G/5G Network map

bouygues telecom france 4g 5g network coverage

SFR 4G/5G Network map

sfr france 4g 5g network coverage

Orange 4G/5G Network map

orange france 4g 5g network coverage

Free Mobile 4G/5G Network map

free mobile france 4g 5g network coverage

What comes to mind first is that France has a very strong and extensive 4G network all across the country, it is very impressive for such a big country. Second thing is that we can very clear concluded that Free Mobile has by far the best best 5G network in France in 2022! Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom are miles behind!

Based on the 5G network Traveltomtom recommends a Free Mobile prepaid sim card for traveling in France.

Prices France sim cards in 2022

All the below prices for France prepaid sim cards are up to date as per October 2022.

Orange France sim card

orange france prepaid sim card

Orange France lures costumers by claimed to have the best prepaid sim card package deals for France. Well, nice try Orange, but you are NOT! Let's forget quickly about the first two prepaid sim card deals and check out the other 2:

  • €29.99 = 10 GB data in up to more than 80 countries around the world
  • €39.99 = 20 GB data in Europe + unlimited calls/sms + 120 international minutes

This last option with 20 GB you can order directly online and get the sim card shipped to your home address. Click here to order this Orange sim card directly!

Not a bad prepaid sim card deal, but not the best either! Check their website for the latest Orange prepaid sim card deals.

Bouygues Telecom France sim card

bouygues telecom france sim card prices 2021

At Bouygues Telecom they actually have a designated prepaid sim card for tourists. They were very helpful at their store and explained me everything about the Bouygues Telecom tourist prepaid sim card:

  • €39,90 = 20 GB data plus unlimited calls and texts + €25 credit for international calls

You can use this France sim card all over Europe and therefore a really good option for tourists traveling to Europe. For more info check out the Bouygues Telecom website.

SFR France sim card

sfr france prepaid sim card

A SFR prepaid sim card cost €9,99 and comes with €5 credit and 50 MB internet. That of course is nothing and you will need to top up with one of the following packages.

  • Mobile Internet Pass:  5 GB data - valid for 8 days = €10
  • World Pass: 4 GB data + 200 international calling minutes - valid for 30 days = €20
  • 5G-enabled pass: 100 GB data + unlimited calls/sms in France - valid for 30 days = €40

The restriction of no free EU roaming makes the SFR prepaid sim cards a no-go for travelers traveling onwards in Europe. In all honesty let's forget about buying an SFR prepaid sim card for France. All the packages are useless compared to Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile and Orange. If you are still interested in getting to know more check the SFR website.

Free Mobile France prepaid sim card

free mobile france prepaid sim card

Free Mobile France has one of the cheapest sim card deals in Europe! They offer an amazing 5G plan with 210 GB data in France (25 GB free EU roaming included + many more countries), plus unlimited calls/texts and that only for €19,99.

For the latest sim card deals of Free Mobile check their website.

*After a lot of complaints from my readers I decided to write a note for those willing to go ahead with a FREE Mobile sim card. Many people have been reporting that after buying a FREE Mobile prepaid sim card in France they have recurring payments from FREE Mobile on their credit cards. As FREE Mobile is advertising to be a PREPAID sim card without a fixed plan, this is something pretty concerning.

Apparently they lure people into signing a long term contract and getting out of that seems to be very difficult / not possible. After many complaints from readers I decided therefore NOT to recommend a FREE Mobile prepaid sim card for traveling in France anymore.

Lycamobile France prepaid sim card

lycamobile prepaid sim card france

There is also Lycamobile, which operates on the network of Bouygues Telecom and offers France prepaid sim cards for tourists as well. Lycamobile sim cards are sold randomly in phone shops and convenience stores. Mostly they have a sign hanging outside to show they are Lycamobile resellers. To activate a Lycamobile sim card you have to pay €10.

Lycamobile France has 3 different packages:

  • Pass national S: €10 - unlimited calling and texting in France + 3GB
  • Pass national M: €15 - unlimited calling and texting in France + 10GB (BEST BUY)
  • Pass national L: €20 - unlimited calling and texting in France + 12GB

Connection is 4G and data packages are valid for 30 days all across Europe.

Best France data sim for tourists in 2022

After comparing the best prepaid sim cards in France we can come to the conclusion that FREE Mobile has the best prepaid sim card deal and the best 4G/5G network coverage in France, so normally it would be an easy conclusion! However...

As said above a lot of my reader have reported problems with FREE Mobile and being lured into a year long 'prepaid' contract. Initially paying just €9.99 but then ending up with recurring charges on their credit cards and getting out of it after contacting FREE Mobile seems to be very difficult and often not possible.

Therefore Traveltomtom has decided to NOT recommend FREE Mobile sim cards for France anymore! Thanks everyone for the input and helping other save money while getting connected in France.

Leaves us with comparing the other mobile internet operators in France and comes out that Orange and Bouygues Telecom pretty much offer the same prepaid sim card deal for €39.90 with 20 GB data in all of Europe. Lycamobile is a little cheaper, but their data allowance is only valid in France.

Since Bouygues Telecom also has great 4G/5G network coverage Traveltomtom rates Bouygues Telecom as the best prepaid sim card in France in 2022!

Buy a sim card for France online

europe sim card orange 728x90

However, if you have very limited time for traveling to France you don't want to waste your time finding a Free Mobile store. For those people I recommend buying a sim card for France online. Get yourself an international travel sim card with coverage in France. These pre-activated sim card will be send to your home address before your trip. Check out the following France sim card deals:

Orange Holiday ZEN - $29.90

  • 8 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • 30 minutes worldwide
  • Unlimited sms in Europe
  • 200 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days

Three PAYG AIO15 - $29.90

  • 10 GB data
  • Unlimited calls within Europe
  • Unlimited sms within Europe
  • Valid 30 days

Three PAYG AIO20 - $39.90

  • 12 GB data
  • Unlimited calls within Europe
  • Unlimited sms within Europe
  • Valid 30 days

Orange Holiday Europe - $49.90

  • 20 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • 120 minutes worldwide
  • Unlimited sms in Europe
  • 1,000 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days

Bouygues Telecom Vacation Prepaid Plan - $39.90

  • 20 GB data
  • Unlimited calls within Europe
  • Unlimited sms within Europe
  • Valid 30 days

As you can see this last prepaid sim card deal for France from Bouygues Telecom is one of the best ones.

Click here to order any of the above sim card deals for France directly online or find more info!

Also another last reminder that you can order an e-sim card for traveling in France. You arrange everything online within just a couple minutes and you keep your own phone number.

Let me know if you have any questions about traveling to France or France sim cards. I am happy to help you out so please leave me a comment below and I will do my best to get you an answer.

If you are curious what it looks like to travel to every country in the world then have a look at my Instagram account @traveltomtom and get fuelled with wanderlust. As of October 2022 I visited more than 140 countries.

If this France travel blog was helpful for you would you like to help me a little too? Please could you share the link of this article somewhere on the internet? That would be so kind! Every tweet on Twitter, pin on Pinterest or post in a Facebook Group or on your own page helps me a lot. A small thing for you to do, which can make a big difference for me.

Enjoy your trip to France!

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