Flying across the Atlantic Ocean on my own at 17 was not something I had ever imagined I would do. Coming from an English-speaking country in Central America, I had no foundation in French other than the few words I would pick up from French songs and some words that sounded similar to Spanish. Knowing that my limited French would be a problem when roaming the streets for hours on end, I decided to invest in some apps to help out.
Accio Pack English – French, $4.99 USD
Now the price might seem a little off-putting for a language app, but it’s definitely worth the money. Out of all the apps mentioned in this post, this one will be the most useful to you. This app is a combination of both a dictionary and a phrasebook that, trust me, is the handiest thing to have on you!
- Both a dictionary and a phrasebook
- Plays phrases in English and French in the phrasebook section
- Doesn’t need internet connection
- The price (but it’s well worth it)
- Can’t translate your own sentences. You will need to have some idea of French grammar.
Google translate, Free
The translation medium that is probably the most used on the Internet – Google Translate. This app is just like its web counterpart, just in a more convenient form. This is the perfect app if you have internet access and need to translate something quickly.
- Can translate your own sentences
- Can dictate sentences to be translated
- Can write sentences in your own handwriting to be translated
- Needs internet connection
- Doesn’t always produce an accurate translation
Metro Paris, $0.99 USD
If you’re going to be using public transportation frequently in Paris, this is the app for you! Save yourself multiples trips to the help desk in the metro to ask for extra paper copies of the metro map. Just use this app! You’re less likely to lose your phone.
- Offers maps of the Metro, RER and the Bus
- Has a sections dedicated to all the lines and stations of the Metro and RER
- Locate option: Allows you to locate nearby stations, lines, etc. (I didn’t use this option, so I’m not sure if it requires internet access or if it can work offline)
- Route option: Tells you how to get from Point A to Point B and how long it will take. What a lifesaver when you don’t know the city!
- There aren’t any! Well, at least none that I have been able to find.
Lonely Planet, Free*
*Although the Lonely Planet app is free, the travel guides need to be purchased within the app.
Ah, the famous Lonely Planet… Lonely Planet is known around the world for its superb ability to offer insight into countries and cities. They decided to take that insight from paper form and transform it into something more easily accessible for us phone addicts. The app has an in-app store that allows you to buy plenty city guides, but I bought just two – Paris and Nice. These city guides were hit and miss, respectively.
Paris, $3.99 USD
- Just like a Lonely Planet book. It offers suggestions of places to visit, information on transportation, a few phrases in French, things to do, suggested itineraries, etc.
- It has a map that shows you nearby businesses, restaurants, sights and everything you could possibly imagine that has an address.
- All the things to do are integrated with the map, so it is easier to navigate yourself throughout the city.
- The map can go offline.
- The map. I know… how can it be both a pro and a con? Well, despite the effort to make it easier to navigate throughout the city, the map is extremely buggy. It works when it wants to in offline mode. I have gotten lost in Paris due to this map, so have a backup map just in case.
Nice, $3.99 USD
This app was definitely a miss, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone spending any money on it. I think even Lonely Planet knew it was horrible, as I can’t seem to find the link to buy the city guide anywhere. For the sake of reviewing, however, I’ll tell you about it.
- Gives you options of places to visit throughout the day.
- Map is absolutely terrible and doesn’t work.
- Limited information about places.
- Limited places to visit.
I could go on and on, but I wont. I guess when in Nice all you really need to do is lay on the beach!
Enjoy your next trip to France!
This story was curated by Aaliyah Lightburn.