Great apps to help you travel around France
PUBLISHED: 09:49 07 September 2016 | UPDATED: 13:45 08 November 2016
Need instant directions, travel inspiration or local information during your trip to France? There are apps for that! We've listed some essential smartphone apps to download before your next holiday in France
Voyages-SNCF - available on the App Store and Google Play, free
This easy-to-use mobile app enables you to book and pay for your train tickets on the French railway network in next to no time. You can also cancel or modify your journey and have your ticket sent straight to your phone so you don’t have to worry about punching your ticket if you’re running late.
maRATP - available on the App Store, Google Play and for Windows phones, free
Don’t feel like opening a large paper map of the Paris Metro every time you want to make a journey? The RATP, the company operating the Parisian underground has an app for that. You can look up the timetables for each lines or for individual stations so you can be sure to never miss the last metro. The route planner allows you to look up the best route to your destination including the estimated time it will take. You can also receive up-to-date notifications alerting you of delays.
ViaMichelin - available on the App Store and Google Play, free
More than a GPS app, viamichelin gives you everything you need to know while driving in France, including information on speed limits, road works and traffic jams. Their latest feature gathers up-to-date information sent by users to alert other drivers of any incidents that have just occured. The app also gives you access to the Michelin guides with hotel, restaurant and tourism site suggestions as well as any services you need while on the road (car parks or gas stations).
Read more: 31 French phrases to use on public transport
Duolingo - available on the App Store and Google Play, free
Brush up on your French before or while you travel with this highly comprehensive language-learning app. After the app has assessed your level, you will follow daily lessons to improve your skills, increase your vocabulary and learn how to follow conversations with various exercices from listening comprehension to writing exercices. You can set the intensity of your daily lessons from 5 minute sessions to 20 minute ones.
Learn French Phrasebook - available on the App Store and Google play, free
If you need an instant translation or phrasebook while in France, this app is specifically aimed at English-speaker with very little knowledge of French. A real life-saver if you want to grasp the basic greetings, numbers, small talk or ask for information on public transport and restaurants, the app is easy to use with tips on how to pronounce words and expressions, and a in-built dictionnary.
The Menulator - available on the App Store and Google Play, free
This app is specifically made for travellers in need of a quick translation of what they are reading on the menu. With over 27,000 entries containing food, ingredients and dishes, the app also has a little phrasebook with expressions to use when entering a French restaurant. Everything is available offline and translations are listed alphabetically.
Read More: Great apps to help you learn French
THINGS TO DO
Time Out Paris - available on the App Store, Android and Windows phone, free
If you’re in need of inspiration for things to do and visit while visiting Paris, this app can help you find the latest concerts, club nights and events going on in the French capital. The app also lists Time Out’s pick of the best bars and restaurants in Paris so you can be sure to head to the trendiest haunts that even the locals don’t know about yet.
World Around Me - available on the App Store and Android, free
This app is a favourite amoung travellers as it uses your location to find any points of interest in your immediate vicinity. From bars, restaurants and cafes to current exhibitons and events going on, everything is listed either by theme or on a map to ensure you’ll never miss anything again as you wander around. The app gives real time distances and even lets you view places on camera in the directions they are located.
iSKI France - available on the App Store and Android, free
Plan your perfect skiing day out with this useful little app that gives you all the information you need for skiing, including where to rent your equipment, weather updates, snow depth and quality, maps and avalanche warnings. It also caters to apres-ski essentials such as finding the perfect places to stay and eat and lists any ongoing events.
Read more: keep track of what’s on in France
PLACES TO EAT
Tripadvisor - available on the App Store, Google Play and Windows store for tablet, free
The popular review site has its own app that combines many of the same features as the website, including millions of reviews left by other travellers with ratings per city, photos and recommendations. The app uses your location in its ‘near me’ function to pinpoint where to eat and stay near where you are. Bonus point: the app now has offline access to reviews, maps and photos for almost 300 cities.
La Fourchette - available on the App Store, Google Play and Windows store for tablet, free
Launched by TripAdvisor, La Fourchette (aka The Fork) specialises in finding the best places to eat out. It has over 40,000 listed restaurants which you can choose by location, theme, cuisine etc. The app also offers deals - sometimes up to 50% off the total bill - that are automatically counted in your bill if you book through the app. Every time you book, you accumulate ‘yum points’ and will receive vouchers once you’ve accumulated enough yums (1000yums = 10€).
Foodspotting - available on the App Store, Google Play and Windows, free
This clever app spotted the gap in gastronomic reviews. Instead of reviewing restaurants, users can rate and review the dishes they enjoyed the most (there are no negative reviews in the app). The app is very visual and people are encouraged to post a picture of their dish and share why they love it. You can bookmark dishes you want to try and search meals by name or theme. Next time you’re craving a crêpe suzette, you know where to look!
Read more: French food delicacies you should try
Brocabrac - available on the App Store and Google Play, free
One of the things we all love to do when in France is to amble by the stalls of a village vide-grenier or brocante. Believe it or not, there is even an app for that. Brocabrac lists all the upcoming vide-greniers and flee markets for you to explore. You can sync the app with your calendar and add whichever one you want to attend, the app will give you all the info you need including a map of the town, the distance from your current location and what kind of brocante it is.
Mister Good Beer - available on the App Store and Google Play, free
If you’re searching for a cheap pint of beer in Paris, then download this brilliant app which finds the nearest bar serving beer for under €6 a pint. You can either browse a general map of Paris and pick your bar or use your location if you’re very thirsty and need that refreshing sip now. The app encourages users to update the database regularly, since prices change all the time, by verifying the bar and updating prices on the app. Santé!
Paris Pastry - available on the App Store, free
This one is for the lovers of fine French pâtisserie. The app lists all the best places in Paris to indulge in your favourite French pastry. It lists more than 370 of the best pastry cakes in the capital with reviews and photos by pastry chef and author David Lebovitz. You can browse the guide which includes an index of shops by location and categories, as well as a glossary of common French food and baking terms.
Où faire pipi à Paris? - available on the App Store and Google Play, €0,99
Last but not least is this fun little app which you didn’t think you needed until you really needed it! The app lists 200 free and off-the-beaten track (not literally) places to use the loo in Paris. Cécile Briand, the creator of the app, wandered around the French capital to find the best toilets in town, from prestigious town halls to cemetaries. Each toilet comes with a little description of the building it’s in and instructions on how to access them.
And, of course, don’t forget to download FRANCE magazine’s app to access 50 back issues and plenty of holiday tips and inspiration.