Have you recently arrived in France? Make life easier in your new home by downloading the best French apps.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a student in St. Etienne or a working parent in Perpignan, everyday life in a new country can be challenging. However, if you’re living in France, downloading the right apps onto your phone in France can make things a whole lot easier.
From knowing how to navigate the local transit system to ordering the best local takeout from your phone, here’s our list of the top must-have apps in France.
- Keeping entertained
- Learning the French language
- Getting around: France’s best transport apps
- Handling your finances
- Living a sustainable lifestyle in France
- Finding a new home
- French food delivery apps
- Socializing and events
- French mobility apps
- Travel and holiday planning
Looking for a home away from home in France? Airbnb is a global online community offering accommodation and experiences. They have a selection of over 6 million unique properties available through their secure booking service. So, whether you're moving to Paris, Marseille, or elsewhere, Airbnb has the right short-term let for you.
Looking for a quick and easy way to accelerate your French learning while integrating yourself into the local culture? Well, what better way to do so than downloading some apps to access TV in France? Not only will you hit the ground running when it comes to learning the French language, but you’ll also get a unique insight into the way your new home country thinks.
The France.tv app is a streaming and catch-up service from France Télévisions, the French public broadcaster. The app has a range of TV shows, from the latest current affairs to French dramas and international series. You can watch from the comfort of your home or save your favorite shows for your daily commute.
Do you prefer radio to TV? Then download Radio France. This free app enables you to listen to your favorite French podcasts, music, and more, all in one convenient place.
If you like animated classics, you’ll be happy to hear that Disney+ is available in France. A subscription-based streaming service, the app has the latest releases and family favorites available from Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, and more.
Learning the French language
If you’re not quite ready to sit down and tune into the latest French TV dramas, you might need to improve your use of the French language. For some expats, the prospect of learning French can be daunting, but it shouldn’t be. These days, there are plenty of language-learning options and an app can be a great way to complement your busy lifestyle.
Babbel is a language-learning app that can help you get to grips with French in a simple, manageable manner. It has a range of French courses that have been designed by professionals to ensure you get the most out of the app. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a train in Toulouse or taking a quick breather in Brittany, you can always find time to learn with Babbel.
If you’re intimidated by learning French, check out Duolingo. With its signature green owl mascot guiding you through short, easy-to-grasp lessons, you can quickly pick up new French language skills with this handy app.
Conversation is an excellent way to learn a language, and Tandem thrives in this idea. This app connects you to local French speakers to chat and improve your language skills. You can use Tandem’s messaging and video call features to efficiently communicate with your new French buddy.
Getting around: France’s best transport apps
Finding your way around a new city is always challenging. Whether you’re a seasoned expat or simply visiting for a long weekend, knowing how to navigate French public transportation can be tough. Luckily, these days there are plenty of apps that can help you find your way from A to B without any hiccups.
Citymapper is a public transit app operating in Paris, Lyon, and just across the border in Monaco. It allows you to plan your route using all possible modes of transport, from walking and cycling to the metro, trains, and carshares. The app will also keep track of all your personal transit activity, letting you see how much money you save and how far you’ve traveled.
The French national railway operator’s app, SNCF is your go-to for train information. With the app, you can buy your train tickets, as well as your bus tickets in France. If you’ve missed your train or facing a delay, you can also use the app to conveniently cancel or exchange your tickets.
If you’re living in Paris, Bonjour RATP is an essential app to have. Run by the state-owned operator for the French capital, you can use the app to calculate the best route for you, buy and renew tickets, and hire Vélib bikes.
Handling your finances
If you’ve just arrived in France, one of the first things you’ll need to do is set up a French bank account. Not only will this make your everyday life that little bit easier, but you’ll also feel more settled without having to worry about overseas transaction fees. Whether you’re treating your family to a meal out or having a relaxing glass of wine with colleagues on a sun-drenched terrace, having a mobile bank account in France can make your life run smoothly.
N26 is a mobile bank operating in France that lets you apply for an account in minutes from your own phone. The app offers a range of banking options, including a free current account, credit cards, instant payments, and more. You’ll also find the latest mobile payment options included in the app, including Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Make hassle-free payments worldwide with bunq. This mobile baking app helps you save, pay, and move money easily between accounts. You can also use it to open a bank account once you’ve arrived in France.
If you’re looking to transfer money internationally, download the Wise app. Operating in over 175 countries and 50 currencies, you can use Wise to send your money from France all across the world with ease.
Living a sustainable lifestyle in France
As an expat exploring a new country, making greener life choices might not be at the top of your to-do list. However, just because everything is new and in a different language doesn’t mean you need to compromise on your green credentials. From recycling properly to shopping organically, there are plenty of options for living sustainably in France.
When it comes to exploring your new home, the Tookki app can help. Operating in Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, and Paris, the app helps you connect to those sustainability-minded enterprises in your local neighborhood. From vegan cafés to slow fashion boutiques, you’ll be able to ensure your money goes green as well as picking up some new eco-friendly hobbies.
Too Good To Go
Want to save on food before it’s thrown away? Look no further than Too Good To Go. This app connects you with local cafés, bakeries, and eateries in France to buy their food at a discounted price before it is disposed of. A great option for discovering local businesses while saving some money in your pocket.
Good On You
If you want a greener wardrobe in France, Good On You can help you make sustainable fashion choices. With ratings of big fashion brands based on sustainability, the app will show you which brands are ‘greener’ than others. It also offers the latest eco-friendly clothing trends in the world of fashion.
Finding a new home
Whether you’re looking to new to France or simply looking to move, figuring out housing in France can be tricky. Not only do you have the language barrier to contend with, but you also don’t know how the local housing market works. However, modern technology is on hand to help out, and with the right app, you can get access to hundreds of potential new homes.
Whoomies is a flat-sharing app with a difference. Instead of the standard flat-hunting experience, it specializes in matching potential flatmates together in the home of their dreams. The app has rooms and flats across France, meaning all you have to do is sign up and search for your new home. You can filter by your specific needs, which helps to ensure that you have a more efficient search.
One of the leading renting apps, Airbnb can help you find short and long-term rentals across France. With plenty of private rooms, apartments, and houses available, you’re bound to find accommodation in no time.
Rent quality homes in France with the help of Spotahome. Offering virtual tours of their accommodation, the app has the benefit of showing you around your home of interest without making the journey there in person. You can choose between apartments, rooms, studios, and student residences.
French food delivery apps
When it comes to international food, there are very few that get people excited quite like French cuisine. From humble neighborhood bistros to world-renowned Michelin-starred restaurants, France has it all. But, how about bringing all those French recipes into your kitchen? Whether this means exploring your local French supermarket or signing up for recipe box deliveries, you have plenty of options.
HelloFresh delivers meal-kit boxes directly to your front door, combining fresh ingredients with innovative recipe ideas. You can choose from a wide menu of dinner ideas that cater to various tastes and dietary needs. Boxes can be delivered anywhere on the French mainland, meaning you could be closer than you think to creating restaurant-worthy meals in your kitchen.
If you like to wine and dine, download TheFork. A must for foodies, this app will help you discover and book tables at the best French restaurants. With information on average meal prices per restaurant, the app can also help you budget efficiently.
Craving a takeaway? With Deliveroo, you can get your favorite food delivered straight to your door in France. With thousands of restaurants on the app, Deliveroo can help you explore the French food scene from the comfort of your home.
Socializing and events
If there’s one thing you won’t be short of in France, it’s things to do. Whether it’s checking out an exhibition in Paris, attending some French festivals, or visiting the many beautiful castles in France, there’s something for everyone. However, keeping up-to-date with everything going on can be challenging, especially as an expat who wants to experience it all.
Do you like live shows? Ticketmaster has got you covered. Buy your tickets and keep up with the latest shows across France and beyond with this app. Not only will you get to meet new people this way, but you’ll learn more about the French cultural scene.
A popular social app, MeetUp will help you meet new friends and try new experiences. Free to download, simply fill out your interests and find social groups in your area. You can also count on the app to connect you with other expats in the same boat as you.
French mobility apps
Want to do your bit for the environment by leaving your car at home? Recent years have seen many French cities undergo something of a green mobility revolution, with walking and cycling booming as locals look beyond four wheels. And while these are both great options for you and the planet, you might also want to consider commuting by scooter.
With Lime, you can get around the city while riding a state-of-the-art electric scooter. Operating in Paris and Lyon, Lime is an e-scooter-sharing platform. The app lets you locate your nearest dockless scooter, meaning you can simply jump on board and head off to your next destination. It’s a great alternative for short journeys around the city center.
If you’re in Paris and prefer biking to scooting around, download Vélib’ Métropole. A bike-sharing app, you can use either e-bikes or traditional bikes to commute across the French capital. With 20,000 bikes available, you can easily find one of their bikes in your area.
Travel and holiday planning
When it comes to international tourists, France is the most visited country in the world (United Nations World Tourism Organization, 2020). And it’s easy to see why. From the elegance of Paris to the crisp Alpine ski resorts, there are plenty of places to visit in France. But that’s not all. If you’re an expat living in France, you’re also well-placed to explore the rest of Europe. Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, and Milan are all just a short train ride away.
To help you get more out of Europe, the Omio travel app allows you to buy tickets for your next trip. It lists a whole host of transport options, including planes, trains, and coaches. You’ll get alerts about price changes and be able to quickly and conveniently compare options. Wherever you’re planning to explore in Europe, Omio can help get you there.
If you want to drive to your next holiday destination, check out Rentalcars.com. With their app, you can find local cars for rent in France and choose from an extensive range of brands and car models. Operating in over 60,000 locations with customer support on hand, you’ll be driving hassle-free in no time.
For flight bookings, Skyscanner is your best bet. The app places flights side-by-side, allowing you to compare flight prices and times so that you can find the fit that is best for you. They also have hotel and car-renting features to sort out your holiday accommodation and travel needs.