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Expatriate in Paris: the top apps that will improve your everyday life in the French capital city
In the context of a national or international relocation, getting to know the new city, making new friends, and feeling at home again can be an everyday challenge. In order for you to get the best from the beautiful French capital city and integrate smoothly, we selected some apps that we either use ourselves on a regular basis or that we tested for you. We hope that they will make you see “la vie en rose”.
Commuting in Paris and Parisian area during your relocation
For your daily journeys in Paris and the surrounding area, we warmly recommend you download “Citymapper”. This service, available for different cities around the world, busses, trains, subways (“métro”), tramways and rental bikes (from vélib’) in one app to help commuters find the optimal way to their destination. Furthermore, the app (or the website) provides access to maps of the different transportation modes, as well as forecast concerning any transportation disruptions (especially useful during strike periods). Furthermore, Citymapper is currently implementing a new service of pass subscription, first available in London, which allows to pay for all transport (depending on your needs) via a unique physical or virtual card. Let’s hope that Paris will follow London.
Alternatively to Citymapper, if you prefer to stick to multiple official apps, you can of course download the classical RATP app (for subways and tramways), the SNCF app (for trains), and a bike rental app (for example the widespread Vélib’ Métropole, which offers numerous bike rental stations all over the Parisian area).
Additional trick: in order for you to find your way anytime in the streets of Paris and save your phone battery, the App Maps.Me allows you to download maps for free and to view them offline.
Travelling in France and Europe during your expatriation
For your long distances across France or beyond, the SNCF app is your ally to find and book a train seat.
To find the perfect way from A to B during your relocation via long-distance public transportation, we strongly recommend you download the Omio App. This travel metasearch engine allows you to compare price and journey time of multiple rail, bus and air travel options across France and Europe.
If you prefer to travel by car, the car sharing BlablaCar app is widely used in France and will help you, as driver or passenger, to save money while caring for the environment.
When parking in Paris can become a headache as a newcomer, several apps offer to help you with comparing prices and finding a parking slot in your area. One of our favorites is OPnGO, which groups different functions, may you need short-term or long-term off-street or on-street parking spaces, and centralizes payments through the app. Their service is free of charge, and you pay the same prices you would have paid at the meters.
Discover the Parisian cultural life: finding events, restaurants and bars
You are new in Paris and want to discover the city’s intense cultural life during your relocation? These different apps will take your preferences into account to help you find the highlight of your weekend (or any other day of the week!).
Culture Trip App: this app provides interesting articles written by locals classified in different categories like “See & Do”, ”Guides & Tips”, “Food & Drink”, “Music”, “Art”, “Books”, etc. It also includes articles about several aspects of the French culture, which can be very interesting as an expatriate relocating to Paris. Another helpful feature of the app is the ability to save places you would like to visit in different wishlists.
In another format, L’officiel des spectacles helps you find by date and area plenty of exhibitions, concerts, tours, movies and shows in Paris in order to entertain you during your relocation. This App also provides price discounts on several of them. Unfortunately, it is only available in French yet, a good reason to start learning if you don’t feel comfortable reading French yet!
Another very useful app (also only available in French) is Paris Bouge. It offers you a calendar view on the events taking place in Paris, as well as on the different restaurants and bars around you. The app is very easy to use thanks to its simple design and several filters you can apply on your research.
To search for ideal restaurants/bars in particular and find the best prices, we recommend The Fork App. This online restaurant reservation platform allows you to book a table all over Europe, and includes many discounts on several restaurants when the reservation is made with the app.
Understanding the local population and learning French
Another important aspect in the context of international mobility, especially during a relocation to France, is to start learning the local language. However, considering that English is the worldwide communication language, learning French is more important to integrate into the population than to be understood.
One of your best allies to make your first months in Paris easier would be a quick translation app. After testing several of them, one of our favorite apps stays Google Translate. Contrary to many of its competitors, this app, besides many other features, recognizes text on pictures and gives you a quite acceptable translation of it for free. Nevertheless, if you need a more accurate translation, the online translator DeepL has everything you need. This particularly good translator is not available as an app yet but is definitely worth the visit on its website.
To stay up to date on what is daily happening in France, we can recommend you the following apps.
The France 24 app is perfect for expatriates who do not master French yet, it publishes news in English about France and other world regions.
If you already feel comfortable with reading French or want to improve, you can try several other apps of famous newspapers like LeMonde, Bfmtv, LeFigaro, etc., which differ mainly by their political orientation.
Finally, if you want to meet other expatriates (or former expatriates) living in Paris, the InterNations app will help you connect for free with people who also experienced international mobility.
To be informed when you have been in the vicinity of a person who got a positive Covid-19 test result, you can download the application StopCovid. If you have been tested positive, the other people registered on the application will be informed anonymously if they have been close to you.
Another interesting health app is Andaman7. It enables you to keep a collaborative medical record on tablet and smartphone at home and at any location during your expatriation. Thanks to highly secure technology, the exchange of data enables collaborative health care. This app also includes a new coronavirus module to help you navigate through this pandemic.
(MMC, 12 of August 2020)