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I am accro (hooked) on my smartphone and when friends told me right before I got it, about how it would change my life, I was skeptical. But the moment I started figuring out all the features and downloading apps, it became an integral part of my life. And like many things, the rest of the world has adapted to the phones and enterprising folks have created a myriad of applications for them.

Here are some of the apps that I have on my smartphone. Because they rely on a relatively new technology, in some you might encounter bugs and glitches. Some are free and others cost. But I’ve come to realize that with “free”, you sometimes get what you pay for – some of the free ones are ad-supported – (I have no commercial affiliation with any of these apps) and am happy to pay a few bucks for an application that I’ll use – like a good French dictionary. Which I am sure the rest of the people in France appreciate me having as well.

One caveat is that the ‘location’ feature on some of the apps may not be accessible if you’ve turned off data-roaming or Location Services, which can rack up charges with your provider at home. So be sure to check the websites of the various apps for specific information. Exercise caution when using a smartphone in public or on transit in Paris. It was announced recently that over half of the crimes on public transit nowadays are theft of smartphones and mobile devices. No need to be paranoid, but use common sense, just like you would in any other major city.

And if you’re looking for the best bakeries, pastry shops, tea salons, and ice cream shops, you can find a list of over 300 of my favorites at my Paris Pastry app, so you’ll have them all in one handy place.

Paris Pastry App



This is the official app of the French train system and happily, it works better than the sometimes-quirky site. You can select “Paris” or any specific rain station in the city, choose a destination, then find a train with arrival and departure times…and even the track the train will be on.


Because trains run frequently between cities and towns in France, you can plug-in your favorites and scroll through to find out when you can go wherever you want to go. If you want to buy a ticket, there’s a button that takes you to another site that handles sales. One of the few downsides of this app (*sigh*) is that there’s music, “SNCF La Radio” that can fortunately be turned off. But for information about the French rail system, this is the app.


Larousse French-English Dictionary

This was the most expensive app I ever bought and it was worth every centime. No one wants a crummy dictionary and Larousse is probably the best. I use this all the time and you can quickly toggle between English and French if you’re looking for a translation between the two languages. There’s also comprehensive verb conjugation tables and a voice that will speak the words clearly, so you can pronounce them correctly.



If you’re abroad and need medical care, or are standing in the pharmacy trying to figure out how to say Cialis in French, this app covers a broad spectrum of medical terms, drugs, lists hospitals in Paris, as well as doctors and dentists. (You can make doctor appointments with the app, although I don’t know how the listings are vetted.) Nonetheless, even if you don’t need an appointment, there’s quite a few things on this app that make it worthwhile.


You may not need to know how to say “He cannot move his penis” or “I need to go outside and have a cigarette”, but it’s nice to know if your man-parts hurt, you know how to say it. Do turn off the voice command, since I was demonstrating the app to some friends on a quiet train car once and a booming voice, in French, said “Mon scrotum me fait mal“, or “My scrotum hurts” – which caused each and every passenger on our train car to turn around and look at me. And some things are better discussed between you and a certified medical provider, no matter where you live. (Update: This app no longer appears to be in the iTunes app store.)


Louvre Museum

Who doesn’t love the Louvre? This is a beautiful app, as well as being very informative. It is a comprehensive look at one of the world’s great museums. You can take a tour, browse the collections, or get visitor information from the app.

Mona Lisa

A convenient search bar allows you to find things quickly in this English-language program. And if you’re looking for a specific work of art, there are sections that show more detail, learn more about the work, and even find where it is in the museum by wing, floor, and room.



France is a country of brocantes and flea markets and this app lists where to find them, categorized by département (region) or city. The various events are listed by date, arrondissement (in Paris), and how far away they are.


You’ll find everything from used bike sale to a friperie (vintage or used clothing). It does help to know what the various kinds of markets there are, so you don’t find yourself at a stamp sale when you’re looking for vintage Gaultier. So you might want to jot down what those are if you’re not a Francophone. (For example, the difference between a brocante, marché aux puces, or vide-greniers.) I like the fact that you can e-mail a listing to yourself or someone else, which just came in handy since as I wrote this I found a sale I was interested in and sent the listing to myself so I wouldn’t forget. (No, I’m not telling what it is, because I want to get their first.)

above paris app

Above France

Although technically not just a Paris app, this app features an overview of France in stunning images from the photographer of National Geographic magazine. They’re better appreciated on an iPad where the clarity and colors really shine. But there’s a location feature which will tell you what you’re near, if you’re traveling. And there are images of Paris as well, since you can’t have an app about the beauty of France without at least a few shots of Paris, can you?

above paris

There’s a brief mention of the importance of each site and place photographed and you can create slideshows that fade from one gorgeous image to another. This is one of those apps you can get lost in. (Update: This no longer appears to be in the iTunes store.)



I had to laugh when I heard about this app because some restrooms in Paris are harder to get into than Fort Knox. So it’s amusing to tap on the location feature and find one near where I am, when I gotta go. Admittedly, a majority of them are “wishful thinking” (my local natural foods store doesn’t have a public restroom, as listed) nor have I seen a single supermarket offer facilities to customers in Paris.


But it does list restaurants and cafés, although you have to buy something in order to go. (A friend was recently buying a drink and her friend headed to the restroom. She was stopped before she reached the restroom door and told she couldn’t go until the drink was actually ordered.)


I would love them to include the sanisette public toilets installed at various places around Paris – especially if there was an additional icon for the ones that worked.


Find Chocolate

This worldwide guide to chocolate shops, of course, has a number of listings for Paris. Created by the folks of Ecole Chocolat, you can find a shop near you, and quick tap or two will take you to the address, website, map, ratings, and photos. Many of the spaces for photos are empty, so users can presumably add their own. As far as I can tell, you can’t search for places that aren’t located in your vicinity – in my case, the closest was 89 meters (290 feet) away (yay!) and the farthest was 7619 meters (4.7 miles) away.

La Poste

La Poste

The French post office has come a long way in the past few years, modernizing and even installing machines in their branches that sell stamps and so forth to expedite operations. Their app is quite good and you can use it to find the closest post office, as well as a map and their hours. There’s even a nifty video that shows you how to use the app.



The Vélib’ bike system in Paris has been talked about around the world and when they finally came out with an app, it was met with great anticipation. And it’s been worth it; the app tells you where to find a bike, how many bikes are available at any particular station, and how many slots are available when it’s time to return it.


There’s a few frustrating things you have to click-through to get the information – like, I don’t need to keep closing the pop-up legend that blocks the screen each time I open it, nor do I need to see the entire planet Earth when I am looking to see if there’s a bike available around the corner – so hopefully they’ll edit those quirks eventually. Of interest to visitors is that now anyone can rent a bike via the website, which is in English, using almost any credit card. Do be aware that traffic in Paris and if you’re not savvy on a bike, your trip might not end as happily as planned. (You don’t want to have to use that medical translation app, unless you really need to.) There’s plenty of bike routes, though, which make navigating Paris a little less-intimidating.



This is the app for the transit system in Paris, including the bus, métro, and RER (suburban train) lines. There’s a lite version that’s free, but spring for the paid (premium) one, which is far more comprehensive. With this app, not only can you find maps, but also create a journey, find out when the next bus is coming, learn what stations are near you, which stations are under renovation, get traffic information (including strikes and demonstrations), and read timetables.

paris métro

Métro Paris Subway

This app isn’t an official RATP app, so if you have the one above, you likely don’t need this. But I like it because the métro map is right up there on the first page and it’s really easy to use. (It also has bus and RER lines, too.) You can use it plan a journey, find out all the stops on each métro line, and see when the next métro is scheduled to arrive in any station.

subway status

There’s a POI (point of interest) feature that allows you to see where the nearest bank or other selected businesses are. But the selection isn’t all that wide – except for fast-food restaurants – so you might not be using that feature all that much.

le fooding

Le Fooding

Although the name still has me scratching my head, this organization dedicated to promoting contemporary French cuisine – food not mired in tradition – makes a point of listing the hotspots of Paris. You need to spin your phone around because the app only works horizontally. But there are sections devoted to News, À Proximité (nearby), Favorites, and a Search feature so you can see what’s nearby, from sushi to open-air terraces and places le brunch.

Essentials lists hundreds of the hottest restaurants in Paris with descriptions (in French) and contact information. Le Fooding tends to list unconventional restaurants and young chefs that are doing something audacious or interesting. But there’s lots of wine bars, ethnic places and tea salons. There’s a handful of eateries outside of Paris, too.

paris airports

My Airport

Navigating the Paris airports just got somewhat easier – although I still don’t understand why they can’t install signs pointing to where the specific airline counters are located. This app covers Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports and tells you where to find tourist information, has the number for handicapped access assistance, and lists ways to get to and from each airport.

De Gaulle airport now gives you 15 minutes free Wi-Fi access, and for people who want to de-stress or have unlimited, you can check into one of the iCare lounges for €30. (You can do that online, but not with the app.) It doesn’t list where the ATMs are or good places to eat, but perhaps those are on the horizon.



There’s a lot of sites that list places to eat in various cities, but the one thing I like about Yelp is that they list the actual website of the establishment, rather than just trying to get you to run around in circles on their site. There’s also a map feature, too.


Specialties are noted, like where to get duck confit, sushi, crêpes, and ice cream by proximity, price, and user reviews.


xe app

XE Currency

When traveling, this app is useful for calculating costs for a variety of currencies, which you can choose yourself. It stores information so when you don’t have an internet connection, according to the app notes, it’ll work without being online.

Other Paris Apps

My Little Paris (Paris guide to interesting addresses)

bio Guide (List of organic shops in Paris)

Go Go Paris

Besoin Urgent (Interactive map to machines selling condoms)

G7 (Taxi service)

David Lebovitz (My app)
Related Links

Where to find free Wi-Fi in Paris

How to travel abroad with iPhone and avoid roaming charges (iPhone Trip)

How to avoid monster fees when using your iPhone abroad (USA Today)

Paris Travel Tips: Top iPhone apps (Paris Sharing)

Paris Apps (

Cell Phones in France: Staying in Touch on Your Trip to Paris

Paris Transit Options



    • Gaelle

    You should try Paris Avant (in French).

    • Kathy Weld

    I stumbled upon the Above France app on Bastille Day when it was on sale in honor of the holiday! That said, I would happily have paid full price for the gorgeous photos of just about everywhere you’d ever want to go in France! And they’re organized by region or “beaches” or “castles”. And with photos by National Geographic, how could you ever go wrong!

    • Lynn

    Free Viber app for iPhone allows free international calls and texts to members

    • ParisGrrl

    Great post, thanks for the info. I’m a big fan of the Zuti Paris app for planning Metro/RER routes as well.

    • Gretchen @

    Your description of showing your friends the “mPassport” app was hilarious–I can only imagine the looks you got! Oh how I wish there was the “wizzer” app (oh yeah, and a smartphone to use it) when I went backpacking in Europe after college. I think we spent more money buying something in a cafe just so we could pee than on souvenirs.

    • Maryn

    I’m glad you mentioned the Metro app, I use it all the time. NB for US-based users, some aspects of it can be used even if you have turned off your data-roaming; for instance you won’t be able to plan a point-to-point trip or find what you are closest to, but you can refer to all the route maps.

    • EdH

    Merci, merci, merci! This is a fantastic list.

    @Maryn, that’s great to know – thanks for the additional info!

    • Pamela

    That Metro app would have sure been of a lot of help in my visits to Paris. Sure smartphones make our lifes so much easier so we can focus on the real interesting instead of spending a whole morning trying to find our way to some spot. Great tips, thank you very much!

    • johanna

    For those interested in an interactive tour of Paris (including fun “treasure hunts” to keep kids interested), try the Time Travelers app :

    • Gnarlex

    is there one for food markets with days, locations, hours?

    • Mary Kay

    I would be really lost (and I mean REALLY lost) without my iPhone in Paris. Thanks for the great list of apps.

    Some of my favorites are:

    Paris M&M app (free) – gives all of the latest information about the Paris museums and the current exhibitions, times, entrance fees, etc.

    Patrimap (free) locates where you are and tells you what famous buildings or sights are in the vicinity. It’s really helpful when a visitor asks, “So, what’s that building” and you don’t know the answer.

    Light app – an app that turns your iPhone into a flashlight for when the lights turn off because they’re all on times. This always happens to me in the most awkward places!

    AlloCine – for movie info

    • Jane Ridolfi

    what a great post and great comments! thanks everyone!

    • Kate Mai

    Perfect timing! My iphone and I are moving to Paris tomorrow and we thank you beauoup!

    • Ardi

    “Paris Food Markets” is the app I use for finding nearby markets while traveling in Paris. Nice photos, descriptions and maps; I double-check the hours listed.

    • Chez Loulou

    Brilliant list! Already have a few of them, and am now off to see if some of the others are available for my iPad.

    • Alice K.

    I too was skeptical of the iPhone until I got one!

    I couldn’t live in Paris without the Paris metro app (.99). It shows you the nearest stations and you can type in your itinerary and it will tell you which metros and transfers you need to make automatically:

    Le Monde’s free app (only French) is indispensable for me when I ride the metro around town:

    (But just as you mention, David, be vigilant because I know two people who have had their phones snatched from them just before the doors closed)

    Like the above commenter mentioned: Paris M&M app for culture junkies. museums and exhibitions, plus a location feature to tell you which ones are nearby (free):

    • parisbreakfast

    Makes me want to get an iPhone just for the apps.
    Sooo tempting
    You can always use the facilities at Laduree Royal (upstairs) or Fauchon (also upstairs) without buying a thing.

    • parisbreakfast

    Buyer Beware –
    there’s a SWEET PARIS App to Paris’ pastry, chocolate etc. that helped themselves to quite a few blogger’s photos without asking first, mine included according to. Heather../

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Matoo: Yes, but as Alice K mentioned, a lot of people are getting their phones swiped on the métro and on the quais, so I wouldn’t take mine out there to check where the exits are. But it’s a good idea!

    • Notyet100

    Omg so many they all
    Look interestingn:)

    • Kelly Monaghan

    There’s yet another Paris app, this one for movie buffs. “Paris Movie Walks” by My Tours offers four guided walking tours through the heart Paris that take you past sites where famous movie scenes were shot. “Bourne Identity,” “Charade”, “Amalie,” “The DaVinci Code” are just a few of them.

    It’s a fun way to see the City of Light as the City of Lights! Camera! Action!

    • Melissa

    I just ordered an iphone the other day (arriving today!). Its funny that you wrote this because last week I went around twitter asking people about iphones and blogging. They all said that it would change my life & blog. That convinced me to finally get one. Now your saying it! I am sure I made the right decision now :)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      If you can, take the free class at an Apple store. The phone does all sorts of things that I wasn’t aware of until I had that hands-on lesson. I also just learned (duh!) that you had to update the apps yourself – I just assumed when you synced to the iTunes store, it did it automatically. So when a small number appears just above the App store icon on your phone, open that up and hit “Updates” in the lower right hand corner.

    • Marie (a.k.a. Gardenfreshtomatoes)

    Gotta see which of these are availible for my Blackberry, especially the RATP and SNCF… Thanks for the heads’-up, David!

    (Do I still get comment privilages, even if I’m an iheretic?)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Marie: Yes, there’s different platforms and it’s a challenge for developers to keep up and write programs for the full spectrum of them. Since I have an iPhone, I wrote about the apps that I have. But thanks for sharing a few that you like and if anyone knows of a good link to a list of Android, Blackberry, and other apps that are available for Paris, please feel free to add those to the comments.

    • Phil

    Try “shopping time” if you’re on android. It works with to give opening hours at shops. Apparently works in the UK as well although I haven’t had a chance to check yet.

    • Kathryn Hill

    Hey David,

    I just moved to Chambéry in June and I still don’t have mobile phone or home internet service set up due to frustrations with French bureaucracy, but on my Android phone, these are the apps I use (when I have wifi access.)

    SNCF Horaires/Resa (for booking trains)
    Le Guide des Restaurants (restaurant locator for France – like Yelp but more thorough especially in small towns)
    Se Loger (apartment hunting)
    BNP Paribas app
    Urgences – I haven’t used it but supposedly lets you call police, ambulance, fire with one touch)
    Google translate – super useful, even has a voice option and can translate spoken languages
    gUnit – I still can’t think in Celsius, km, cm, grams, kg, etc
    Places – actually quite useful to me as I’m currently without service. I can star locations, and then download the map area and view it offline. Can see how this would be helpful to foreign travelers who want to save on data roaming.

    • TARA

    What an excellent post! Alas, I love my Droid, so now I must go searching what’s available for me. I wish your post title had said for iphones….so I’d have known not to get so excited about having all the info in one place.

    • annie

    (laughing, catching my breath) “my scrotum hurts”… I just laughed so hard I actually fell out of my chair! :D Thank you, that was priceless!

    • rosemary

    I just got one as well and it is great for travel no doubt. You have some very different apps on your phone…good for some laughs!! :)

    • Amanda

    Thanks for this very useful list which will come in very handy for my planned trip next May, although I think you should develop an app for chocolate shops – please!

    • Michelle Cervone

    “He cannot move his penis”. Really. When is priapism a common ailment of tourists? Too funny.

    • Jenny

    My friends tell me to “turn International Roaming” off when I’m there because of the exorbitant charges. Their daughter wanted to “just check her email” and she downloaded a few videos etc. and they had a $1000. phone bill waiting for them when they arrived home.

    • Benedict

    Thank you for this list! SO informative, and timely too since I’ll be heading to France next week!

    • Abra from French Letters

    That’s a fabulous bunch of apps, and it’s almost enough to convince me to buy an iPhone. I wish they had all that stuff for our corner of France down south.

    • Sarah Towle

    Hi David,

    Great list – I’m getting them all!

    Check out my new Paris app, launched 3 weeks ago – history through story, treasure hunts and other games. This one focuses on the the French Revolution with tour guide Charlotte Corday. It’s getting super reviews!

    You can find it here – on sale today (80% off!) as part of a back 2 school promotional:

    Hope you like it!

    • Sandra

    I’m sure that you’ve made a lot of fans very happy. And for your iphone ( whatever version you are currently using), the apps are really great—-in any city. I use similar type apps in the greater Boston area. One gets really spoiled with these new modern techie conveniences that we have to wonder what we did before.

    • meringuette

    I like the Pudlo restaurant guide app. It is not as complete as the book (doesn’t include cafes and food shops) but it’s extremely convenient to be able to look up nearby places on a map. There is a free version that lets you get the listings in the arrondissement of your choice. He writes beautifully, and his descriptions are accurate. I like his picks, which cover the three stars as well as the casual neighborhood places. (In French)

    • Leonard

    Love the blog, David. I have a few Paris apps on my phone: Impressionist Paris Walking Tours (with local favorites like bakeries and cafés along the walk) and Movie Lover’s Paris which lists scenes and context from the movie Midnight in Paris. I love reading them – they are so well researched and well written that even when I am not in Paris I will read them and it takes me back.

    Impressionist Walking Tours:

    Paris Movie App:

    • Joni

    I LOVE apps…. :}

    • Zeph

    Those are interesting and cool apps you got there. I’ve got to get my own smartphone. :P

    • Carol L

    I was sitting here with a headache dreading my encounter today with nasty neighbors who reached under the fence yesterday and cut down my three year old sweet autumn clematis. Then I read “my scrotum hurts” and I laughed so hard I forgot about the two old bags living next door to me for a few minutes.
    Thank you David.

    • Vanina

    Such useful info, thank you! But a question: did you buy your iphone in the US or in France? And why? And how are you using it when you travel? I’m sorely tempted, but confused about how to deal with the iphone when traveling between the US and France…

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      My iPhone is French because I am a French resident and live here full-time, and I only use the data-roaming features in France. When I go to the states, I use my iPhone to tap into Wi-Fi, which is free in a lot of places (yay!) – but have a pay-as-you-go mobile phone in the US that I use for telephone calls because it’s relatively inexpensive.

    • Machelle

    Awesome posting….I really appreciate your sharing this info….I’m definitely going to download these!

    • Margaret

    When you come to the US do you have to pay a higher price for MB? I was wondering if iphone data use in Paris by Americans who live in the US is terribly expensive.


      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I haven’t quite figured out how to best get the data roaming on my iPhone to work in the US. I know my mobile phone provider in France offers plans for overseas usage on a per day basis, but most of them have a lot (and I mean, a lot) of small print & I’m a bit terrified of getting socked by an enormous bill when I get home. So I just use Wi-Fi when I can in the states. Thankfully, a lot of businesses and coffee shops in America offer Wi-Fi freely, which I hope is a trend that picks up here in France and elsewhere.

      (The city of Paris has free Wi-Fi in the parks but you have to go through a complicated process of logging in, creating a password, then re-logging in with that password – each time you use it. So while it’s nice of them to offer it, it’s somewhat impractical if you’re using a smartphone. Am not sure why there isn’t a simple log-in process, but c’est comme ça…)

    • Shilo

    Amazing resource list, thank you so much for putting the effort in to write this!
    It’s particularly well timed for my sake since I’m actually headed to Paris as of tomorrow for a 3 month sabbatical.

    Like some of the other commenters mentioned, I’d love to hear any advice you have on purchasing local data to avoid exorbitant US phone bills. I’ve unlocked my iPhone and expect to just buy a new SIM when I arrive, any advice on companies worth looking into for service would be deeply appreciated.

    Thanks again!

    • Ted DRAKE

    Visitors to Paris, especially those with Verizon iphones, should install the Paris off line maps application. Your phone can still get a GPS signal while in Paris, but it needs those offline map tiles to show where you are at all times. You’ll be amazed at how well it works.

    • Katia

    I’m a bit late to add my two cents but I find the meteofrance app extremely useful. It’s run by the official government weather bureau and (whilst not always accurate because what weather bureau is?), it’s very reliable and shows a seven day forecast. From what I understand, because it’s a government weather bureau it has access to more points of weather/temperature measurement in France than all the other weather services you can find on the internet, and is thus a little more accurate.

    • David

    Considering data roaming. At your post you provided link to my article “How to travel abroad with iPhone and avoid roaming charges”. Just to summarize it for people interested to visit France from US with iPhone and use 3G internet.

    1) If you have AT&T locked iPhone – you need a data sim card that will work in AT&T iPhone and my company can provide you with such a sim card and unlimited data plan for your stay in France. The other option is to use AT&T data roaming rates.

    2) If you have unlocked iPhone – you still can buy our sim card, but if you do not need unlimited data plan you can try to buy french prepaid sim card. It will work in your iPhone. More info about French prepaids:
    But be prepared, this is not straightforward and buying local sim card can take a lot of time.

    Thanks, David.

    • Kathryn

    Don’t forget Keys to the Fleas. Great Paris Flea Market App

    • Steve Radlauer

    Ardea Media has a great new iPhone app called Paris Cafés, which is exactly what the name implies. Link to iTunes via the website. Thanks.

    • Lydia

    This list is amazing! I already have Above France, but wow! These apps sound so good I just want to go back to France just to try them out.

    • mes yeux ouverts

    Parfait! I’m headed to Paris for the fall, and with the Hurricane Irene free time over here in NYC, I just downloaded most of your suggestions. I already have the Larousse Dictionary and can second your positive view on the value of the euros/dollars well spent for that one. It even conjugates verbs, in every tense! If only it would memorize for me, too…

    • Kay Dawson

    Great new additions to my app folder for Paris. Would also highlight:
    – Terrace and Sun: tells you where in Paris to sit and enjoy a cool drink in the sunshine, by time of day
    – Time Out Paris – free at the moment
    – Fotopedia Paris
    – Shopping by Paris
    – Patrimap

    Enjoy! A+

    • Georgina

    This is a very interesting Blog! Much useful information here.

    There is a really excellent iPhone app that hand selects all of the best restaurants in Paris, and shows videos and pictures of each place.
    The iPhone app is called “Paris Bargain Eats”.

    Really well done. This can save a ton of money for visitors like myself who usually pays too much money. This has to be one of the most useful Paris iPhone apps ever made. Nicely done as well.

    Thanks for the information about this app. However it appears that you are the creator of the app, and if so, that’s fine. But it would be nice if you identified that in your comment and recommendation. If you are not the creator of this app, please note that in the comments so that people can have a more transparent view of who is leaving the comment. If you are the creator of the app, I would really prefer that you did note that you were the creator. As mentioned, that’s fine, because I don’t want your comment to be mistaken for comment spam. -dl


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