WiFi in France

So many WiFi hotspots in Paris they have to group them (Photo )
So many WiFi hotspots in Paris they have to group them

WiFi—in French, that's pronounced wee-fee—floats all around Paris and other major cities these days

Travel telecom—e-mail, web surfing, Skyping—can be free if you know how to find these free-range WiFi hotspots.

Carry your own WiFi

The easiest alternative is simply to carry your own portable WiFi hotspot for up to five devices.

Prices to rent one start around $20 per day for a week's rental ($12 per day or less if you rent one for more than a week).

You can rent one from Cellularabroad.com.

Municipal WiFi hotspots in Paris

  • Municipal WiFi. Some 260 municipal locations in Paris now offer free WiFi during the open hours of their offices. The impressive list includes the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), each arrondissement's town hall, civic museums, libraries, and nearly 90 public parks, gardens, and squares (or at least certain statues in them). Yay! 

    You want to look for any "Paris WIFi" sign with a purple-blobs logo for these municipal hospots. Then just select the "PARIS_WiFI" network, open a browser window, and try to go to any page. 

    It will first stop you with a splash screen; just click on "Selectionnez votre pass." Don't worry; it's all free. You just have to fill in your nom (last name) prénom (first name) and email—and tick the second box to agree to the usual terms and conditions (if you tick the first box, the system will remember you the next time you go to log in). Then click ME CONNECTER.

    You then get two hours of high-speed uplink. (After two hours, you just log in again to keep going.) More: Paris.fr/wifi

Finding other WiFi hotspots

  • Many cafés offer free WiFi. So do (and I hate to say this) McDonald's and Starbucks. Time Out keeps a good guide.
  • Many hotels offer WiFi. At some (usually the cheaper hotels) the WiFi is free. At others (usually pricer hotels) there is a modest fee.

Here are some resources to help you find both paid and free WiFi hotspots around Paris:

Paid WiFi hotspot services

These are those services that, for a one-time or monthly fee, allow you to use their hotspots, which are typically scattered around airports, rail stations, and stores (both chain and non).