Travelers use all kinds of tools when they get out and hit the road – travel guides, maps, phrase books, calculators for currency conversion – and increasingly often those tools are taking a technological turn. You don’t even have to be a geek to appreciate how gadgets like the iPhone or iPod Touch can lighten the load, either – just by toting your iPhone in your daypack or purse means you don’t have to carry all the things listed in the first sentence of this article.
It’s a good thing, then, that there are so many France travel apps for the iPhone.
This article won’t be a complete list of the iPhone apps for France – it can’t possibly be, what with all the new apps being added by the nanosecond – but it is a selection of some of the best France travel apps currently available. If I missed your favorite, please leave a comment below.
And in case you’re wondering about the lack of Paris-specific apps listed here, I figured it made sense not to re-invent the wheel since there’s already a long list of Paris iPhone apps over at sister site WhyGo Paris! So if your trip to France includes the country’s capital city, then be sure to check out that companion article along with this one to fully kit your iPhone up for the adventure.
Best France iPhone Apps for Travel, Language, & Fun
France Travel iPhone Apps
- ViaMichelin Traffic France – How do I love the ViaMichelin website? Let me count the ways… In other words, having the ViaMichelin Traffic France app (FREE) as a portable version of a site that already is one of the most useful travel planning sites for driving in Europe makes me very happy. Includes coverage for most major cities and towns in France, and uses GPS to provide real-time traffic information.
- La Parking – I simultaneously think that La Parking ($0.99) is pure genius and am amused at the name. But if you’re driving anywhere in France, this app will be really handy – it will help you locate places you can park your car all over the country. Using GPS, it will even tell you which ones are closest to you.
- Beaches: France – France has a pretty wonderful coastline, and for many the entire point of a trip is to lie on a French beach. So let the Beaches: France app ($0.99) help you find the ones that are nearest you or just locate various beaches on a map of France.
- Cities of France PRO – The Cities of France PRO app ($1.99) isn’t really a travel guide to each of the more than 36,000 French cities and towns it contains, but it will give you some basic information about each place and pinpoint it on a map for you (also helpful if you’re driving to any of the cities, as it’ll tell you where you are in relation to the city). There’s a non-pro version available for $0.99, which doesn’t include the ability to share saved cities with other people (handy for vacation prep) or the multiple views option for geolocation.
- Lonely Planet Lyon City Guide – The mighty Lonely Planet empire has country-wide guidebooks for anywhere you can imagine on earth, but as yet their iPhone app offerings are city-specific (so as not to take up all the memory in your device). In addition to the Paris city guide (more on that at the Paris iPhone apps article linked at the top of this page!), there’s also a Lonely Planet Lyon City Guide ($15.99) which will be handy if you’re headed to Lyon.
- Offline Street Maps – As handy as having an iPhone linked to WiFi or a cell data connection is, that can also get really expensive when you’re traveling if you’re not careful. Finding street maps that work entirely offline, therefore, is a good idea. You may lose some of the “find exactly where I am right now” capabilities, but you’ll still have a decent street map (and one that doesn’t require any pesky folding). There are offline street maps for cities all over France – and most of them have the word “offline” right in the title, so it’s easy to find them. Here are a few: Nice Offline Street Map ($4.99), Marseille Offline Street Map ($4.99), Dijon Offline Street Map ($4.99), Lyon Offline Street Map ($4.99), and Monaco Offline Street Map ($4.99).
French Language Learning iPhone Apps
- MemoryLifter English/French Basic Vocabulary – You certainly don’t need to be fluent in French before you visit the country, but having a basic handle on some of the phrases and words you’ll use and hear most often isn’t a bad idea. Adding the MemoryLifter English/French Basic Vocabulary app ($14.99) to your iPhone a few months before your trip and using its friendly flashcard approach to learning new words is a great place to start. And if you keep going with your language studies, the app grows with you – it’s got so many levels that if you master them all you might just be fluent enough to buy a one-way ticket to France.
- MemoryLifter English/French Traveling & Nature – If you like the flashcard idea but you want something a bit more tailored to just travel vocabulary, then the MemoryLifter English/French Traveling & Nature app ($6.99) is a good compromise. I’m not sure why the “travel” category gets lumped together with “nature,” but look at it this way – you’ll be able to comment on how pretty the various trees and flowers are in the French countryside… Just before you ask for directions to your hotel.
- Collins Pro French-English Translation Dictionary – For the serious French language student, no library is complete without a good French-English dictionary. And the Collins Pro French-English Translation Dictionary app ($24.99) is an excellent one. It’s packed with more than 84,000 words, including thousands of verb conjugations, and it’s available totally offline.
- French to English Phrasebook – If, on the other hand, all you really want is a phrasebook to get you through your France trip without (much) incident and you aren’t particularly interested in learning the language, then a simple phrasebook is really all you need. There are several options out there, from this French to English Phrasebook ($2.99) with 250+ phrases/words to this Talking French Phrasebook ($0.99) with 500+ phrases/words (and the ability to play them on your device).
- Escargo – This is a must-have app for anyone who wants to experience the wonder that is French food without accidentally ordering something they think is actually quite gross. Escargo ($1.99) has more than 1,800 French food-related terms in it to help you decipher menus and know what you’re ordering.
- French for Kids – I’m quite sure that the French for Kids app ($1.99) is a great tool to help get your children up to speed before a trip to France (what fun for them to be able to order their own croissants at the bakery!), but I also think it’s perfectly acceptable as a starter app for anyone of any age who’s new to the French language.
France iPhone Apps for Fun
- ihymn France – No proud French person should be without ihymn France ($0.99), which plays the French national anthem. The app includes all the lyrics and the anthem’s history, too.
- Tour de France 2009 – You don’t have to be a cyclist to get a kick out of the Tour de France 2009 app ($0.99). The game takes you through the 21 stages of France’s famous bike race as you pedal your way through the country en route to Paris.
- ArounderTouch – The ArounderTouch app (FREE) isn’t France-specific, but it does include two cities that are often included on a trip through France – Paris and Monaco. The app allows you to tap your way around 360-degree images of some of the most famous sights in each city and includes some information about each sight as well. It’s a fun tool for travel prep.
- France 24 Live – Do you love French TV? Then get the France 24 Live app (FREE) and watch France’s channel 24 from your iPhone. This app does require an internet connection to work.
- Radio France – If it’s French radio you prefer, there are a couple apps that let you access that, too. Radio France (FREE) allows you to listen to several of the official Radio France stations, and Radio France by Tunin.FM ($4.99) gives you access to all of the radio stations broadcasting throughout the country. Both apps require an internet connection.
- Nano Facts France – I’ve put the Nano Facts France app ($0.99) under the “fun” category, but you’ll probably be labeled as seriously un-fun if you use it to do nothing but irritate your friends and family with the France factoids it contains. Use this tool judiciously, folks.
- All France Jigsaw – Playing with the All France Jigsaw ($0.99) before your trip is a fun way to daydream about the places you’re going to visit while also playing a game. And if you’re traveling with kids, this could be a good way to get them excited about the things they’ll see in France.
- French Football Live Score 2009/10 – Are you a Ligue 1 fan? Then get the French Football Live Score 2009/10 app ($2.99) and you’ll be able to follow all the scores from the French soccer league.
- French Holidays Free – The French Holidays Free app (FREE) is a handy tool for vacation planning (to find out when French national holidays are so you don’t accidentally plan a museum visit when everything is closed), but also a fun way to find out when your “name day” (saint’s day) is. This is the “lite” version – the full (paid) version ($0.99) has a full listing of French holidays.
- French Wine Zones – Whether you’re planning to use this information on a trip through France or you just want to bring some of the French spirit into your home, the French Wine Zones app ($0.99) is a good one to get. It covers more than 180 wine zones in France (and their sub-zones), and the app will even tell you which are the best varietals in each zone.