Using Cell Phones in Paris: Paris Travel Tip #3

Get your cell phone unlocked. If you have a tri-band or quad-band phone, be sure to get your cell phone unlocked well in advance of your trip. This will allow you to stop in a local phone store such as Orange/France Telecom, SFR or Bouyges where you can purchase a SIM card to use while you’re in town.

You can add telephone hours by stopping in at a tabac or a newstand and purchasing a ‘Mobicarte’ from 15 to 25 Euros. It’s also possible to rent phones in the US before you leave home.

French mobile phones work on the GSM frequence.




You may find that having your own cell phone is less frustrating than using hotel phones or public pay phones. Even if you do choose to go with the payphone, you will want to have either your credit card handy or a ‘carte cabine’ which you can purchase at most newsstands.

>> More on How to Make a Phone Call in Paris


>> Get more Paris travel tips from a local before you go!

2 thoughts on “Using Cell Phones in Paris: Paris Travel Tip #3

  • Mary Gould

    I have an ATT phone and was able to select another network once I arrived in Paris without any trouble at all. I was then able to freely make calls to the US (I didn’t make a lot of them as I have heard that roaming fees are pretty expensive). Once I returned I simply hit the “reset all” button and I was back on US networks. We did try to buy a temporary SIM card at first, but found that the clerk at the store had no idea what we wanted and our French wasn’t fluent enough to explain it to him.

  • Parisgirl

    That’s kind of surprising that the clerk didn’t understand SIM card because the translation is pretty similar ‘Carte SIM (pronounced ‘cart seem’). Also if you pulled out your old SIM card and waved it under his or her nose, maybe the clerk would get the picture! I’m glad ATT worked for you. Many of the phone companies now appear to have partnerships. I noticed Bouygues is hooked up with T-Mobile which means when i’m back in the US I can normally get instant access (and even an automatic time change) but the text messaging is much cheaper than making phone calls when you’re overseas!

Comments are closed.