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Similar to Prepaid SIM card for data in France (Paris), but I have different requirements.

I'm travelling to France for two weeks (Monaco area) and want a mobile data connection. Unfortunately it costs £9/MB for data roaming in France with my carrier (I live in Guernsey and as we aren't in the EU, there's no caps in place for the cost of roaming, even in the U.K data costs £1.50/MB to roam), which I can get down to 50p/MB but it's still not an option for me.

I therefore need a prepaid (PAYG) SIM from a carrier:

  • Good coverage
  • Low cost for data
  • Offers data, SMS, & call bundles*
  • Will work with my iPhone 5S
  • Be stable enough to stream content**
  • Be able to receive calls/SMS regardless of a bundle (mentioned above)

*Something that beats my home contract of 10,000MB, 10,000 texts, and 10,000 minutes would be great, though I don't expect anything near this.

*I'm aware of restrictions regarding certain content (e.g BBC iPlayer) and have a workaround.

I'm unsure where to purchase one from (especially since in the U.S you pay for the SIM card alone, where every carrier in the U.K and Guernsey offers free SIM cards):

Can I walk into any store and purchase a prepaid SIM, or does it have to be a supermarché (or even only the carrier's own store)?

  • 2
    You can walk into many stores (large supermarkets but also post offices) and leave with a PAYG SIM but I don't know exactly which one would be best. A quick web search suggests you can expect 20-30€ for 2-3 GB (to be used in one month) + 3-5€ for the SIM card itself. For that price, you can also get one month worth of unlimited calls and SMS (e.g. “Recharge Max” from Orange's Mobicarte). Do you want to call back home or only in France? – Relaxed Aug 14 '16 at 8:26
  • @Relaxed I'm not too bothered since I can use a VoIP solution such as Skype (which classes Guernsey as the U.K so it'll be cheaper than using my normal SIM or French SIM). I checked my email when I was out and about earlier (I'm in France now) which cost me £6.24 (for 1.52MB of data!). – AStopher Aug 23 '16 at 18:37
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To have a temporary SIM card in France, you'll have to buy:

  • a prepaid SIM card (sometimes comes with a refill)
  • a refill

You could buy the SIM card online but I guess you don't have an address in France. You can't buy SIM cards in any store, but there are many stores in which you can buy them (supermarkets, tobacco store, carrier's store). Then you can buy the refill at the same places. Some carriers even offer the option to get the refill on the internet or at ATMs.

A few examples are SFR, Bouygues, Orange, Auchan, NRJ Mobile. I'll edit my answer if you need more specific information.

A sidenote on the French bureaux de tabac: these stores sell tobacco, money games, magazines, prepaid cards, coffee, sweets, among other various products and services... You'll recognize them by their sign outside the door:

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  • Notice that French law requires that you give a proof of identity to the mobile operator. If you buy the SIM in an operator shop, they might ask for it immediately. In other stores,it is sometimes done online, or by sending a copy of your id to the operator. You usually have a few days before doing this, the operator will eventually suspend the line if you don't fulfill this request. – audionuma Aug 17 '16 at 17:35
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    @audionuma I'm in France now, and I seem to recall seeing an SFR store in the nearby city. I'll pop along in the next few days, I have ID so that shouldn't be a problem. – AStopher Aug 23 '16 at 18:34

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