Cheap internet options in France?
December 13, 2010 6:23 AM   Subscribe

What is the cheapest option for using internet in France without one's own PC - i.e., internet cafés, etc.?

My sister spends a lot of her time in France. She used to keep in touch with all the family via email, but now tells me the prices in internet cafés have become prohibitive, and she writes less and less. She doesn't own a PC, so wi-fi is (at present) not an option. Paris and Rouen, in case that's relevant, although other locations happen. Does any France-based MeFite have a helpful suggestion for cheaper access?

Bonus question: if I were to persuade her to invest in a second-hand laptop, are there any good wi-fi deals to look for which would allow her to use in short bursts over a longer period without the risk of the contract running out before she's used all the access she paid for?
posted by aqsakal to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Internet cafés in Paris are not cheap indeed (most often around 4EUR/hour!). Arobase café is 3EUR/hour and I doubt you'll find much cheaper. Good news: there's free Wi-Fi in some areas in Paris and Rouen (registration often required but access is free). So a second-hand laptop may be the cheapest solution in the long term.
posted by rom1 at 7:12 AM on December 13, 2010

Some mobile phones with email access can be used with a prepaid card such as Mobicarte or similar. There's a 60€ Samsung with an email client for instant.
posted by elgilito at 7:15 AM on December 13, 2010

Free Wifi in Europe:

Send her a second-hand iPod Touch (or an old netbook). They're both pretty good for email.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:21 AM on December 13, 2010

Seconding blue-beetle's suggestion. I know that the UK is not continental Europe, but I survived just fine with an ipod touch and never had to pay for wifi in the more than 2 weeks I was there. Many hotels have free wifi in their lobbies.
posted by rtha at 9:15 AM on December 13, 2010

I found it very easy to get free wifi in France. There were a ton of cafes, restaurants, libraries, bars, parks that offered it. I just opened my netbook (which you can buy used for <$100 on eBay!) and walked around until I found it, usually taking less than five minutes. I didn't always want to buy something from the cafe with wifi, so I'd sit on the stoop next door or around the corner and leech.
posted by HotPatatta at 9:26 AM on December 13, 2010

Personally I had no problem finding unsecured Wifi wandering around Paris. They were everywhere.
posted by dougrayrankin at 9:39 AM on December 13, 2010

Internet cafes are more reasonable elsewhere, I think -- I never encountered one that cost more than 1EUR an hour when I was in Bordeaux and Dordogne, which seems reasonable.
posted by invitapriore at 11:09 AM on December 13, 2010

I would go with the iTouch or a used iPhone. It's easy to find open wifi around Paris. There's also lots of paid wifi networks that cover a ton of the city.
posted by dripdripdrop at 12:36 PM on December 13, 2010

Response by poster: Many thanks to all for helpful suggestions. I've passed a link to this thread on to my sister so she can consider at leisure.

Best regards
posted by aqsakal at 12:00 AM on December 15, 2010

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