Best smartphone applications for exploring Paris

Whether you’re a visitor or a longtime resident of Paris, there are always new places to discover and explore. These days, few people carry guidebooks or maps with them, but chances are you do have a smartphone in your pocket. If that’s you, when it comes to navigating Paris and all that it has to offer, there are a few apps that make discovering this city just a little easier.

Best smartphone applications for exploring Paris

Make exploring the city by bike super simple

For anyone using the Vélib’ bike share system, the Vélib’ app and All Bikes Now are essential. Because JCDecaux makes its bike data open, there are also a lot of third party apps out there as well. As an everyday Parisian Vélib’ user, I like Openbike Now. It’s user-friendly and very responsive, and you don’t need an account to use it. What is cool about both All Bikes Now and Openbike Now is that not only do they have information on the Parisian bike share system – with which stations are near you and the availability of bikes – but for other bike share systems in France and around the world. So if you’re a bike share junkie, these are for you.

For train travel lovers

Anyone that travels on the French train system will find the SNCF apps useful. The general SNCF app allows you to figure out how to best travel between two stations, get real time updates on arrival and departure times, and store information about your trips. For booking trips, check out the Voyages SNCF app, where you can store your profile, as well as those of frequent travel companions, so that you can easily book a new ticket with a few clicks.

Become a pro at riding le métro

If you take the metro even once in awhile, it’s smart to have the RATP app downloaded. You have access to network maps and can plan your journey. For visitors to Paris, RATP also has a tourist-specific app called Next Stop Paris, which provides you with network maps and lets you calculate your itinerary, but also has information on some of the city’s main tourist destinations. A lot of the functionalities are even available in offline mode, which is helpful if you don’t want to rack up those international data charges.

Best smartphone applications for exploring Paris

Master Paris’ most famous museum

The Louvre can be intimidating, even to those who have visited several times. The Louvre Museum developed its own app to help with that. Not only is there information about 100 Louvre masterpieces, but you can stay up to date on museum events and exhibits.

Be a master vintage shopper

Ready to explore Paris’ flea markets? Download Keys to the Fleas, a design-focused app by author Claudia Strassler. She gives you all the best insider info, with photos of Paris’ flea markets and brocantes.

Insider tips for la parisienne

The popular Paris insider website My Little Paris has an app that’s full of little Parisian treats, with addresses for everything from fashionable boutiques to the latest hip brunch spots. 

Best smartphone applications for exploring Paris

Discover street art

Paris is a city full of unique and creative street art; you never know what you are going to find… unless you download Urbacolors. The app was developed for those who love discovering and documenting street art, as you can search maps to find street art near where you are and you can upload your own.

Explore your creative side

Come to Paris to explore your artistic side? Then Creative Paris Info is for you. Made for the “creative tourist,” it’s full of information on workshops, courses, exhibitions, and happenings around town, all intended to fuel your creative spirit. Whether you’re interested in writing, photography, fashion, or even flower arranging, there’s something for you.

Know what’s happening in town

A respected source on addresses and events in Paris, now you can take TimeOut Paris with you wherever you go. There’s information on concerts, events, bars, restaurants, clubs, and even film releases. An essential for keeping up with everything that’s happening in the city.

Best smartphone applications for exploring Paris

Related links:

  • Everything you need to know about the Paris Vélib’, as well as the best bike paths in the city!
  • If you’re checking out the Paris flea markets, don’t miss our guide to designer vintage finds.
  • We also love Girl’s Guide to Paris’ list of helpful Paris smartphone applications.

Written by Anna Brones for the HiP Paris Blog. All images by Anna Brones. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.


Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a writer and the author of The Culinary Cyclist: A Cookbook and Companion for the Good Life. She is the founder of Foodie Underground, where she believes in a holistic approach to eating and drinking that’s all about good food, from good places, with good people. She likes strong coffee, bike rides and market adventures.

One Comment

  1. Paris Time Out App not available via iTunes in US. It sent me to Uk iTunes and not available there either. Any suggestions?

    Thanks for these other tips.

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