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Internet Options for Your Holiday Home in France
Looking for an Internet plan for your holiday home in France? Look no further. Our guide to Internet for a second home will help you find an Internet plan that is right for your needs.
You have several options for your Internet connection in your holiday home in France. Making the right choice will depend on your needs. Some questions to think about include:
- How often do you need Internet access? Every day? Once a week?
- Why do you want Internet access? For sending emails? For streaming videos?
- For how long do you stay in France every year? Just a few days? For several months?
- Our Recommendations
- If your Internet access needs are minimal/occasional: purchase data from your foreign mobile provider, check out free wifi hotspots, or buy a prepaid Internet USB stick
- If you require Internet access at least once a day: consider purchasing a mobile data device ("Mifi device")
- If you need high-speed Internet: go for a contract-free Internet plan or consider satellite Internet
- If you are staying in France for an extended time period (at least two months): consider signing up for an Internet plan if available in your area
Some foreign mobile phone providers offer unlimited data at reasonable prices (usually for a limited time period) available in France. If your Internet needs are minimal, you may be able to get by with a special data package and relying on your smartphone for the majority of your Internet use. If you need Internet access on your laptop or tablet, you may be able to create a wifi hotspot from your phone.
This option is best for those with minimal needs for Internet, as purchasing multiple data packages can become costly over the long run, and the Internet speed is likely to be quite slow.
Some of the major providers (Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom) sell USB keys that you can use to access Internet via their cellular networks (3G or 4G), and offer corresponding data plans "sans engagement" (meaning you can cancel at any time). The USB keys cost approximately €30, and corresponding SIM cards usually cost about €1, and data allowances range from about €8/month to €40/month.
All of the major providers except for Free (i.e. Bouygues Telecom, Orange, SFR) also sell wireless routers that act as mobile WiFi hotspots ("Mifi devices"). These devices can be connected to a cellular network (often at 4G) and provide internet access for up to ten devices. These devices cost about €70 up front, or can be purchased as part of a plan (forfait).
Make sure to check which operator provides the best coverage in your area before purchasing a mobile Wifi hotspot
All of the major French telecommunications providers all offer Wifi hotspots throughout the country, so if you have a French mobile phone and/or Internet plan, you may have access to a Wifi hotspot nearby. Simply use the user code and password that your provider has given to you, and connect to Internet via your smartphone, laptop, tablet or other electronic device.
Some providers offer special pay as you go Internet plans for your smartphone, which may be an option if you have a French prepaid phone. Keep in mind that these Wifi hotspots are open to all of your provider's customers (and therefore less secure than a personal connection), and Internet speed may be slow.
Free Wifi Hotspots
Another possibility is to ask your neighbours if they have access to a Wifi and/or a Wifi hotspot and whether they can give you the password for it. This can be a great option as it is free (but make sure to ask your neighbours nicely, and consider offering them a bottle of wine for their generosity)! However, it's not guaranteed that the speed of the Internet connection will be sufficient for your needs, especially if you wish to use Internet for streaming.
If your Internet needs are minimal and your holiday home is in or near a town, you may also be able to get by with public wifi. Restaurants, hotels, cafes, museums, and tourism offices are often good spots to find free Wifi access.
Find more ideas for where to find free Wifi in France
Contract-Free Internet Plans
Internet Plan, Sans Engagement
Another option that might be worthwhile if you are staying in France for a relatively long period of time is to sign up for an Internet plan with a French provider. Many providers offer Internet plans that are sans engagement - contract-free - allowing you to cancel your service at any time.
Out of all of the offers available, we recommend Orange's Plan Découverte. At 21€/month (not including the cost of the modem, which can be purchased up front or rented at 3€/month), the plan comes without cancellation fees, which means you can stop it at any time. We recommend purchasing the modem (the "Livebox" - available online, in an Orange boutique, or in larger supermarkets) rather than renting it, as this allows you to end your subscription at any time without having to worry about sending the modem back. This also means that the modem will be ready and waiting for you when you return to your holiday home in France. It can take up to two weeks (from the date of signing up) for Internet access to go "live", and make sure to provide at least 10 days' notice for cancellation.
If you use your holiday home in France regularly (e.g. you inhabit it for at least six months of the year), it might be worth considering signing up for a contract-free Internet plan (or even a package Internet + mobile phone + television offer) with a provider. Call our English-speaking customer service 09 77 55 72 27 (Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 7:30 pm) to help you find the Internet plan that best meets your needs.
Internet by Satellite
If your holiday home in France is in a remote location where broadband is limited and you require a high speed connection, it may be worthwhile to look into Internet by satellite. Some satellite providers offer satellite plans without a contract, which allows you avoid paying for Internet access when you don't use it. However, be prepared for a fairly considerable up-front investment for the appropriate equipment: a satellite kit - which includes at minimum a satellite plate, a receiver, a modem, and a means of attachement to a wall - can cost anywhere from €100 to €400. Find out more about satellite Internet in France in our guide.