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France is the most visited city in Europe and sees nearly 87 million tourists per year. If you’re planning a trip to Europe, you’re most likely visiting France at some point. You need to know about how wifi in France works to have a great trip!
It is fairly difficult to find free wifi in France. You either have to go to cafés, restaurants, or a few select tourist attractions like the Palace of Versailles. A better way to access reliable wifi in France is to rent a pocket wifi. It is affordable and gives you access to the internet 24/7 no matter where you are.
Another alternative is purchasing your own Skyroam pocket wifi. This solution is only for the most serious of travellers, and we’ll talk about it more near the end of this post.
People have different travel styles and wifi needs. This post will walk you though all the different ways you can access wifi in France to help you choose the best choice for you, your travel style, and budget.
No matter how you choose to access wifi in France, you need to protect your online safety, data, and privacy by installing a VPN on your phone. It is the only way to keep prying eyes and hackers from accessing your online activity.
Public Wifi in France
For such a large and technologically advanced country, France doesn’t have a very good public wifi infrastructure.
There are a limited number of places you can find free wifi in France.
The most likely and common place to access complimentary wifi is at a café or restaurant. Some popular tourist attractions like most museums and Disneyland Paris offer guests free wifi.
A few of the major, hub train stations in France also offer free wifi, and, of course, all the airports allows guests to access wifi for free.
But you’re not really going to spend that much time in train stations and airports!
Cafés and Restaurants
As mentioned, cafés and restaurants are the best place to go if you want to access free wifi in France.
Not every café has wifi, but you’re more likely to find free wifi at a café then at a restaurant. Especially if the café is close to a popular tourist attractions!
Restaurants, on the other hand, are hit or miss. Many mom-and-pop restaurants don’t offer free wifi. They want the guests to socialize, mingle, and drink. Very French of them!
Chain restaurants are the place to go if you need wifi while you eat.
They have a more global audience and expectation to offer free wifi in their restaurants than local businesses do.
Not to say no local restaurants offer wifi. A lot of them certainly do, but you can’t expect them to.
There may be a sticker on the restaurant door proclaiming they offer guests complimentary wifi. Look for that sticker if you want to eat at a local restaurant and have access to free wifi.
Side note: I highly recommend you dine at local restaurants in France. They are incredible!
If push comes to shove, you can always fall back on McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway to give you a hit of free wifi in France.
You just need to order a drink or something small, and the wifi passcode should be on the bottom of your receipt.
The macarons at McDonald’s in France are surprisingly good. Be sure to try them out if you stop by to McDonald’s to use their free wifi!
Another sneaky tip is to go to a café or restaurants inside a hotel. There is a pretty good chance they offer free wifi!
Hotels and Airbnbs
The most obvious and easiest place to access free wifi in France is through your hotel or Airbnb. Guests expect hotels and Airbnbs to provide complimentary wifi, and there is hardly a room that doesn’t in this day and age!
This is the most reliable place to access free wifi in France.
You’re at your hotel every day, know they offer free wifi, and can stop in throughout the day if you desperately need wifi.
The downside to it is, obviously, you can only access it when you’re inside the hotel. It doesn’t really help you much when you’re outside the hotel exploring France.
There is one major exception to this!
You can download Google Maps offline and use it help navigate the city even if you don’t have access to wifi when you’re out and about.
This can be a huge lifesaver and helps you feel more confident and adventurous when you’re exploring a city.
There is hardly anything worse then getting lost and having zero idea how to get back to your hotel. Having access to maps offline helps you feel more confident in exploring outside the main tourist hub!
Hotel and Airbnb wifi is still public wifi even though it has a password! Most people have a false sense of internet privacy when using hotel wifi!
You still need a VPN on your phone, laptop, and tablet to protect your online privacy, data, and safety!
Don’t get lured into a false sense of confidence!
And in case you’re wondering, 90% of the time I book my hotels through hotels.com.
I love their reward program and how easy it is to earn free nights!
Renting Pocket Wifi in France
Renting pocket wifi is the best alternative to relying on public wifi in France.
Pocket wifi is a personal is a portable wifi router that gives you 24/7 access to the internet no matter where you are!
It is super small and lightweight. You can stick it in your pocket or purse and not even know it is there!
You can connect multiple people to one pocket wifi device, so your whole group can access wifi in France for one low price!
I personally recommend Hippocket wifi. It has the most affordable rates in Europe. It is based in France, so it is really easy to pick up and drop off your pocket wifi too!
One really important thing to note about renting pocket wifi in France is that you need to use a credit card. You cannot rent pocket wifi with a debit card or an Interac debit card.
This protects the pocket wifi supplier. They can easily charge your credit card if you lose or damage the device. It becomes more difficult if someone pays be debit card. They have no way to get their money except asking politely and hoping for the best.
Outside of having to use a credit card to rent your pocket wifi, there is very little downside.
It is affordable (especially if you split the cost), convenient, and easy to use!
You just connect to the pocket wifi internet network, and you’re good to go.
It doesn’t get any easier than that.
The batter lasts all day, so that is another huge plus!
Picking Up Your Pocket Wifi in France
There are four ways you can get your pocket wifi device:
- Picking it up a Charles de Gaulle Airport or Orly Airport
- Having it delivered to your hotel or Airbnb
- Picking it up at a post office or partner locations
- Having it mailed to your home and getting it before you leave for France
The first three options are free, but you have to pay for the cost of mailing if you choose the fourth option.
Option four is by far the least attractive option. Not only does it cost more, but you also have to trust the postal delivery service will get it to you in time.
You don’t want the stress of your pocket wifi being delayed in the mail!
If you’re flying into CDG or ORLY, picking up the pocket wifi there is the easiest method in my opinion.
Returning Your Pocket Wifi Device
The only way to return your pocket wifi device is mailing it.
It is free if you mail it from within France, but there are fees if you mail it from another country.
The envelope costs €9 if you mail it from a different European country and €15 if you mail it from USA.
If you mail it from a different country, you are responsible for purchasing a tracked envelope to France and paying whatever it costs.
Obviously, it is most cost effective to mail it from within France.
You can use your Hippocket pocket wifi device throughout Europe, it is possible to use it for your entire Eurotrip. If you’re not flying home from a French airport, the cheapest option is to pay for the Europe return envelope and mail it before you go home.
A Wifi Alternative for Travel Enthusiasts
Skyroam is the perfect wifi alternative for anyone who travels multiple times per year!
It is your own personal pocket wifi device that you can take on any trip and always be connected to the internet!
Skyroam works in nearly every country with a few (obvious) exclusions like Cuba that don’t have the infrastructure to support personal wifi routers.
I purchased my Skyroam in 2019 and love it. I can’t imagine travelling without it at this point!
You have to pay a single up-front cost for the device and then pay to use access the wifi after that. You can either purchase single day passes or a monthly wifi pass.
The device is fairly priced in my opinion, but I think the daily wifi passes are a bit expensive.
There are two ways you can get around the semi-overpriced Skyroam wifi day passes.
The first is to buy a monthly pass rather than multiple single day passes. If you’re travelling for more than 9 days in a month, buying a monthly pass is more cost effective.
The other option is to wait until Skyroam has a sale on day passes. They normally have sales every quarter, and you can save a fair amount of money on day passes.
The normal deal is buy 10 day passes and get 5 free, but it can vary from sale to sale.
You need to be cautious when buying day passes in a sale though. The bonus day passes have an expiry day, so you need to make sure you’ll use the bonus day passes before they expire.
Full price day passes do not expire!
Skyroam is a great investment for people who travel on a regular basis and want reliable access to the internet.
It is super convenient and a travel game changer!
You Need to Protect Your Online Data
Most people overlook protecting their online data when they travel.
They don’t realize how easy it is for a hacker to access your online data, steal it, and sell it when using a public wifi network.
Please don’t be that person!
It more important now than ever before to protect your online data. We all store an incredible amount of personal information on your phones, laptops, and tablets that is simple isn’t worth the risk!
I know people who had their banking information stolen while on holiday. They spent hours on the phone with the bank trying to sort it out, and it ruined their vacation.
Not to mention how difficult it is to travel after you cancel all your bank cards.
Luckily, it is incredibly easy to protect your online data!
You simply need to install (and have turned on) a VPN (a.k.a. a Virtual Private Network).
It essentially cloaks your electronic devices and acts as if you’re on your personal wifi network where you’re the only one who knows the password.
Hackers cannot access your personal data and steal it no matter how hard they try!
Having a VPN is non-negotiable. Every traveller needs it.
If you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your online safety and personal data!
My Favourite VPN
The only VPN I like (and I’ve tried quite a few over the years) is NordVPN.
It is the quickest VPN on the market, and it is a much more enjoyable user experience because of it. VPNs have a bit of a reputation for slowing devices to a painful crawl that makes users abandon using them.
It is nice that NordVPN has solved that problem!
Another amazing feature is that you can choose what country it looks like you’re using the internet from.
You can be in France but set your VPN to show you’re in South Korea. Once you’re showing as in South Korea, you can access their Netflix library and watch shows and movies you wouldn’t be able to access in France.
I don’t know if you’ve been to South Korea, but they have a bomb Netflix catalogue!
NordVPN runs sales basically all year ’round, so you never have to pay full price to protect your online data!
You can literally protect up to 6 devices for less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee every month.
There is no excuse to protect your online data with a VPN. It is worth the small expense to have the peace of mind to know no prying eyes can see what you’re doing online!
As you can see, there is a lot you need to know about wifi in France!
The most important thing for you to know is that public wifi in France isn’t all that accessible, and you may want to make alternative plans if you need reliable access to the internet.
Going to cafés, restaurants, and train stations only gets you so far, and you’re likely not going to have access to the internet for the majority of the day.
That is alright for a lot of tourists, but plenty of people have to be connected to the internet.
No matter how you choose to access the internet in France, you need to protect your online data with a VPN. There are no ifs, ands, or buts on that one!
As long as your online data is protected, you can go explore France care free no matter how you get your wifi!
France is an extraordinary country.
The food, sights, and culture is amazing. France often gets a bad wrap because of Paris, but it doesn’t deserve it.
Paris isn’t my favourite city in France, and I highly encourage you to get outside Paris and see what the rest of the country has to offer.
You’ll be amazed at how incredible and underrated it is!