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If you're lucky enough to be planning a trip to France, you want your focus to be on the breathtaking sights rather than on your mobile coverage. The good news is that a travel eSIM can eliminate the hassle by giving you instant access to local French networks.

In this guide, I'll share the advantages of utilizing an international eSIM plan for your trip to France. Additionally, we'll look at the best eSIMs for France and answer your frequently asked questions. Let's get started!

Airalo

Best overall travel eSIM

Airalo is one of the most well-known names in travel eSIMs, and for good reason - it partners with major local networks in over 200 destinations to provide reliable mobile internet access for travelers.

Of course, no one international eSIM is perfect for every customer. Below, you'll find what we consider to be the pros and cons of Airalo.

Overview

  • 200+ countries
  • 1GB-100GB
  • 7 days-3 months validity period
  • Prices start around $5 for one week
  • Local, regional, or global plans

Pros

  • Flexible eSIMs - add voice and text
  • Great coverage
  • Mobile hotspot usage
  • Prices drop the more data you buy
  • Phone number included with Discover+ plans
  • eSIM automatically connects to the fastest local network
  • User-friendly Airalo app and website
  • Fast, helpful customer support

Cons

  • Can't mix-and-match data size and validity period
  • Customer service is only available by message

While it isn't the cheapest option, Airalo eSIM is a solid choice with offerings to fit various needs. Plus, they have the advantage of being highly recognizable, with an impressive customer count of over five million people.


Bouygues

Bouygues Telecom, a prominent French telecommunications company, offers My European eSIM via SimOptions. This entry into the travel phone plan market stands out due to its 30GB data limit and its fairly lengthy validity, at 30 days.

As always, there are a few factors to take into account when considering the pros and cons of Bouygue's My European eSIM.

Pros

  • 30GB of 4G data
  • Mobile hotspot usage
  • Unlimited calling & SMS in Europe
  • €25 international calling credit

Cons

  • Excludes the United Kingdom & Switzerland
  • Must activate in Europe
  • No smaller data options

If you anticipate doing a lot of calling and texting between the members of your traveling party, or you want a robust amount of data, Bouygues is a great option.


What is a travel eSIM?

A travel eSIM (embedded SIM) is a digital SIM card that allows you to access mobile data plans specific to the country or region to which you're traveling. One of the best things about this convenient option is that it eliminates the need to search for a local SIM card while traveling.

The most popular smartphones released in the past few years are compatible with eSIM technology, including the iPhone 13 and onwards, as well as various Samsung devices and other Android phones.

Important note: Your device must be carrier unlocked in order to use a travel eSIM. I recommend checking with your current carrier to confirm the lock status of your device.

How travel eSIMs work

Travel eSIMs are usually activated by scanning a QR code. The QR code will then direct you to the activation process.

Once activated, your device automatically connects to nearby networks, ensuring a reliable internet connection and phone service. This eliminates the need to search for a local prepaid SIM card, giving you more time to explore and relax.

Regarding usage, many international eSIM providers offer a convenient app that allows you to monitor your data usage and manage your top-ups.


Why should I get an eSIM for international travel?

  1. Convenience: Managing your plan digitally makes traveling to a new country more convenient. With the immediate activation of eSIMs, gone are the days of searching for a local store or vending machine to purchase a traditional SIM card upon arrival.
  2. Cost-effectiveness: eSIMs enable you to subscribe to local data plans, which are typically cheaper than international roaming offered by your domestic carrier. The wide selection of providers vying for your business leads to competitive pricing, which means you get a great deal!
  3. Versatile: Effortlessly handle multiple plans simultaneously and switch between your home plan and local or regional travel plan without the hassle of dealing with a physical SIM tray.
  4. Enhanced security: eSIM cards reduce the risk of losing personal data and internet connectivity due to misplacing or damaging your SIM card. This technology also makes tracing a stolen phone easier.

How to choose the best eSIM for France

While many eSIMs are available, I've handpicked providers that offer cost-effective prices, adaptable plan options, and helpful features specifically designed for travelers.

First, though, you'll want to ask yourself a few questions about what the best eSIM for France looks like to you.

Where is your destination?

Will you be visiting multiple regions or staying within France? Many international eSIM providers offer local (single-country), regional, and global plans. You'll typically pay more for the regional and global plans, but they give you added flexibility if your itinerary involves multiple destinations.

If you're planning to travel between France and other European countries or beyond, make sure that your travel eSIM includes seamless coverage across those borders.

How much data do you need?

In general, you'll find that available data packages start at 1GB and go up to 50GB or even 100GB. A few providers offer international unlimited data plans - Holafly and Maya Mobile, for example - so there are options if you want to go wild with your phone use on vacation.

For individuals who use data sparingly, a modest data limit should suffice. Activities such as sending emails and using Google Maps navigation consume minimal data. Additionally, if you have regular access to Wi-Fi at your hotel, for instance, you can account for this when traveling and comparing eSIM plans.

How long will you be abroad?

Multiple providers offer a variety of plans, giving you the flexibility to choose validity periods between a few days or even up to two full years, in the case of Eskimo eSIM. If you're planning to stay away for more than a couple of weeks, choose a provider with validity periods of 30 days or more.

When choosing a service, check whether your validity period starts upon activation or when it connects to a local network in France. If the validity clock starts ticking when you activate, I recommend waiting until you arrive at your destination to do so. Just make sure to confirm that Wi-Fi will be available at the airport, as you'll need it for the activation process.

Do you need international calling?

Certain eSIM options provide a local number that allows you to make calls and/or send SMS within the country or region. If you prefer to have a phone number to use for international calls, make sure your chosen provider offers this option.

If you choose a data-only travel eSIM, familiarize yourself with messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Wi-Fi calling so that you can call home if needed. If your plan includes voice minutes, read the terms and conditions to confirm that you can make calls to the specific country you need.


Best eSIM for France FAQs


Recap - What's the best travel eSIM for France?

When traveling to France, numerous connectivity options are available for you to consider. Whether you prioritize having unlimited data, an extended validity period, or finding the most budget-friendly choice, rest assured that you will discover the perfect eSIM for France that caters to your specific requirements.

Whether you're preparing to soak in Paris's beauty and romance or have other enticing destinations in mind, we've got you covered with the best eSIM for international travel.

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