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Mobile Phone use in France Buy SIM in USA or France

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Friends traveling to France next month. They will use my two unlocked GSM quad band mobile phones. Should they purchase a SIM card for use in France prior to leaving the USA or wait until they get to Paris? Is there any cost savings in waiting to purchase a SIM card there and what sort of ID do they need to purchase and where do they purchase in Paris? If they purchase SIM card in USA where should they purchase it? I've used while in Italy -- is that the best deal or is there anything else out there in the USA? They can purchase ORANGE card on ebay but don't know much about ORANGE -- does that card then include a France phone number and minutes? They would be calling mostly to keep track of each other while traveling and an occasional call back to the States.

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