Getting connected to the internet while traveling abroad is crucial these days, whether you need to access maps, translate languages, or stay in touch with loved ones back home. For travelers flying into France, buying a local SIM card at France airport is often the most convenient way to get set up with cellular data during your trip.
In this definitive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about purchasing SIM cards at airports across France. We’ll look at which major airports sell SIM cards, where to find them in the terminals, how to prepare before your arrival, alternatives like France eSIMs, frequently asked questions, and more. Read on for all the details to help you buy a SIM card with ease upon landing in France!
Table of Contents
1. Which airport in France offers SIM cards for tourists
There are currently 169 airports that are members of the Union des Aéroports Français (UAF). After excluding those located in the overseas territories, we have created a map of mainland France’s 148 airports.
The major international airports in Paris, Nice, Marseille, Lyon, and Bordeaux all have SIM card vendors located within the terminals. This makes it quick and easy to get connected right after your flight arrives. Typically, you’ll find SIM card kiosks located in the arrivals area just before exiting the secure part of the terminal. Key details on SIM card at France airport availability include:
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG): Both terminals 2E and 2F have telecom retailers like Orange, SFR, and Bouygues Telecom that sell prepaid SIM card at France Airport that can be activated instantly. Some kiosks even have English-speaking staff.
- Paris Orly Airport (ORY): Both terminals 2E and 2F have telecom retailers like Orange, SFR, and Bouygues Telecom that sell prepaid SIM cards that can be activated instantly. Some kiosks even have English-speaking staff.
- Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE): Orange and SFR have kiosks in the arrivals area of both terminals where you can purchase prepaid data-only or full service SIM card at France airport.
- Marseille Provence Airport (MRS): Orange and SFR have sales points near the baggage claim area in the main terminal building to buy tourist SIMs.
- Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport (BOD): Orange and SFR have retailers airside where you can purchase prepaid SIMs upon arrival.
Other smaller regional airports may have limited SIM card availability, so it’s best to purchase SIM card at France airport at the major hubs upon arrival in France.
Therefore, summarily, the main airports like Charles de Gaulle, Orly, Nice, Marseille, Bordeaux offer French SIM cards for sale from major providers Orange, SFR, and Bouygues Telecom directly at the airport in France. The setup of connectivity at the airport eases travelling around in France.
2. Where to buy France SIM cards at France airports
The French airports have various locations where you can purchase a French SIM card. The leading French telecom operators such as Orange, SFR, and Bouygues operate dedicated SIM card booths at the main international airports. The other independent retailers such as Le French Mobile sell SIMs of different carriers all at a single place. The most common places are:
- Mobile operator kiosks: You can also easily buy a SIM card from many mobile operators in airports. Such kiosks are normally found in the arrival sector of airports, by the customs point, and where baggage is claimed.
- Newsstands and convenience stores: Additionally, you can shop for a SIM card at many newsstands located at airports and convenience stores. Many times these stores are available within the airport at the arrival and departure points.
- Tourist information desks: Tourist information desks are normally sold in airports for tourists. The desks are available near passenger arrival areas, close to customs and the baggage claim.
For example, you can get an eSIM online and start using it on your supported gadget once you go to France. An eSIM is an electronic SIM that helps you to connect to a mobile network without carrying a physical SIM card. On francesim.com you can order an eSIM with Orange as a network provider. eSIM is priced at USD 49 and offers 20 GB of data in France for 30 days.
3. What to prepare to buy a SIM card at France airports
Purchasing a SIM card in France’s airport stores is not that difficult, particularly when one makes some preparations beforehand. Here are key things to take care of before your arrival:
- Check phone compatibility: Most unlocked phones can be used in France because they are compatible with the GSM cellular network. However, ensure that your device supports that particular GSM network before you traveling.
- Unlock your phone: Unlock it for international use, you may have to contact your phone carrier. With this, all you will do is add a local France SIM.
- Bring your passport: A passport or other official ID is required to activate the SIM card service.
- Know your data needs: Estimate how much data you’ll need during your trip to pick the right plan. More data = higher cost.
- Have local currency: SIM card at France airport can only be purchased in euros or usd, so have some cash on hand for this purpose.
- Activate ahead of time (or not): Some providers let you activate ahead online, while others require doing so locally. Decide what works best for your trip.
With those boxes checked, buying your SIM card at France Airport will be quick and painless after landing in France. Having the right documentation, SIM card size for your phone (nano, micro, etc), and cash in the local currency will make the process smooth.
4. France eSIM – an Alternative to Airport SIM Card
The convenience of eSIM makes it a good alternative especially where physical SIM Cards can easily be purchased in French airports. eSIM is a virtual SIM and can be used as long you have registered for your plan online.
The benefit of a France eSIM includes:
- Activation online ahead of time: Active it before departure and avoid the airport kiosk.
- No physical SIM card: Some new model phones include eSIMs which are digital.
- Flexibility to change plans: Change the data as much as required without changing a SIM.
- Multi-country options: In some cases, several destinations are covered by one plan by an eSIM provider.
For example, francesim.com specifically caters to France among its eSIM providers.
The same is done through a smartphone, which means that you can order online and download the eSIM profile to your phone before leaving home. However, ensure that your phone is capable of accepting the eSIMs.
eSIMs are very convenient because they can be activated before that and one does not have to deal with physical SIM cards. On the other hand, airport kiosks could still work for those with old mobile devices and for people who like doing everything in person.
Traveling to France? Do not delay to purchase a France eSIM from francesim.com. Flexible data plans from 3 days to 1 month in France with no roaming charges. It is easy to get connected by scanning a QR code on a compatible device. Roaming charges are a fraction of that for seamless connectivity.
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Here are some frequently asked questions about purchasing SIM card at France airports in France:
Are SIM cards available at airports in smaller French cities?
While the major airports will have multiple SIM card providers, smaller regional airports may have fewer options or none at all. It’s best to purchase your SIM card in Paris, Nice, Lyon, or other major hubs.
How much do SIM cards cost at French airports?
SIM card prices will vary, but expect to pay around €30 for a prepaid plan with moderate data. More data will cost more, with unlimited high-speed plans closer to €50.
Can I buy a SIM card with a foreign credit card?
Most kiosks accept major international credit cards. However, having euro cash on hand gives you maximum flexibility between vendors.
Are SIM cards available 24/7 at French airports?
SIM card kiosks typically operate during normal airport hours. If arriving on a late night flight, you may need to wait until the next morning to purchase one.
How long does activation take?
Purchasing and activating a SIM card takes about 10-15 minutes in most cases. You’ll walk out with service ready to go!
Travelers can easily keep in touch when they arrive at the France airport by buying a French SIM card. Knowing which airports have SIMs, how to prepare before landing, and where to find kiosks where you can purchase a card will help you buy a card immediately after landing and have cellular data at your disposal during your trip right away. If you are planning to go to France, France eSIMs is an alternative option through which you can activate your service even before you depart. Therefore, this guide will give you enough confidence to buy the SIM card without worries while on your France airport of arrival. Keep in touch, and have a fun time!