French Sim Cards for your US Cellphone in Paris


Where is Jason Bourne when you need him? I’m catching a train at the Gare St. Lazare station – and, as usual, have postponed switching my American sim card to a French one for the last possible minute.

There are many things that I love about the Bourne trilogy – particularly the Pont Neuf scene in Paris, but his ease at switching Sim cards is sheer artistry.

Luckily, I didn’t have to try duplicating that for this quick switch. The trick is finding a Sim card provider when you want one. i.e. they’re always around when you already have your cell phone (or portable as they’e called here) up and running.

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Around the Gare St. Lazare station, you’ll find a French Telecom/Orange boutique just to the left of corner when you exit from the station’s main entrance. You can get Sim cards from SFR, Bouygue, or FranceTelecom/Orange boutiques. An Orange Sim card costs 30 Euros and you’ll need to provide your passport and an address in Paris. The Sim card gets you up and running for with ten minutes of talk time. Then you can pick up a recharge card in most ‘tabacs’ or some newsstands. The card is called a Mobicarte.

Be careful of scratching off the numbers on some of the Mobicartes. For some reason, the paper – and the code scratch off completely if you scratch too hard.
France Telecom offices can be crowded at times (so don’t miss your train!). When I first walked in, there was a line, – so I walked out, came back and the traffic had disappeared. The people who helped were very efficient – and spoke some English too. As long as you have an unlocked phone with a quad band, you should have no problems.