Once upon a time a trip to Paris meant traveling with a stack of books, from city guides to phrasebooks, restaurant round-ups to metro and street maps. Thankfully, if there’s one thing the smartphone has heralded it is an era for emptier backpacks, relieved shoulders, and thousands of cool, new, and ever-practical ways to navigate the city like a pro. Welcome to the age of the appli (that’s app to you and me). Chances are you’ve already got a home screen laden with faithful go-to’s, but these free Paris-friendly options are guaranteed to give you that edge to truly make the most of your next stay.
Sure, long languid days spent taking in an entire museum can be great — if not tiring — but sometimes there’s nothing better than speedily dipping in and out of an art museum, especially for those in a time crunch. Based on a popular e-newsletter that shares bite-sized anecdotes on art history, Artips, which is available in French and English, offers up fun round-ups of the 10 essential pieces of art to visit at each Paris museum. Better yet, all the anecdotes are available in audio or written form. While the app is free, there are optional paid upgrades for some additional content.
There’s no better way to see Paris than on foot and since the city of Paris has dedicated millions of euros to improving access to pedestrian and green spaces, it’s also the ideal way to get in touch with nature right in the heart of the city. Pull up the app to find the closest 2 km stroll, or use it to plan a longer walk. This app serves up an array of walking itineraries in and around the city, no matter whether you’re craving a walk along a pretty planted walkway, or through a historical neighborhood. Bookmark and share favorites and read information as you go.
Public toilets and lack thereof can be one of the biggest complaints for travelers in Paris. And while using one of those infamous sidewalk restrooms with their automatic opening doors can represent a rite of passage for many, they can also often be out of order or just too intimidating for kids. This highly-rated app from toilet paper company Le Trèfle brings together thousands of toilet locations including disabled access restrooms, all so you don’t have to buy something to use a Starbucks bathroom. There are even cleanliness reviews included.
If you’ve been curating endless lists of must-see spots and Instagrammable café terraces for your next visit, stop now and download this app. Designed to serve up a constant rotation of hidden spots, you’ll find everything you need for getting that essential, local-eye-view of the city. Refreshed each and every day with a new must-try local spot, save your favorites or check out the archives. Available in French and English. Camera at the ready, your Instagram grid will thank you.
Perfect for sightseers looking to maximize their monument count, this simple monument app makes hitting up points of interest a breeze. Download ready-made walking itineraries, access background information, and enjoy fun Paris monument-themed quizzes and virtual treasure hunts. Complete with easy offline mapping, check out the Paris map app or download one of the developer’s other city versions, including Lyon and Nice.
Don’t blast through your data, download Ulmon’s offline mapping app for handy maps and public transport planners. Consistently updated to feature up-to-the-minute information and travel advice, this app will even show you street numbers so you can figure out which side of the street and how far to walk.
Mapping as many space Invader mosaics you can around Paris? Looking for some lesser known pieces of street art? The Paris Street Art app makes hunting down street art easy so you can locate and share your finds. Log in and use it to find the closest designs, or simply read about the work around you.
Need a French word? How about an entire phrase? Google translate can be a life saver, but when roaming charges are a concern, it’s certainly not the most practical solution. Enter this handy app that works offline to translate as you type. There are even voice input and picture input options so you can translate signs and spoken word. Better still, there are even options to create your own reference history and personalized phrasebook.
With café, bistro, and restaurant choices aplenty, there’s no danger of going hungry in Paris. There is, however, the risk of feeling unable to choose the right spot for lunch or dinner. Enter Le Fooding, a popular restaurant guide with its own app. Free to download, Le Fooding makes picking the nearest, best, fanciest, cheapest or trendiest spot around a cinch. Find weekly news content, thousands of reviews and make restaurant reservations in a few stress-free English-language clicks. Bon appétit!