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The ten most useful Paris apps

Get around the city with the help of Time Out’s ten handiest Paris apps

© Paris Avant

Apps have transformed the way people explore their cities, and Paris is no exception. Whether you’re stuck for directions, in desperate need of a drink, a wee or simply feel like going roller-skating with strangers, there really is an app for your every want and need. Check out Time Out’s pick of the ten best Paris apps below.

Think we’ve missed a great app? Let us know in the comments box below.

Où Faire Pipi à Paris?
© Où Faire Pipi à Paris?
1/10

Où Faire Pipi à Paris?

The free, self-cleaning Sanisette toilets are ubiquitous in Paris (the 420 cubicles are apparently used over three million times a year), but all too often you’ll find these generic metallic boxes are ‘in use’ or simply out of service. That’s where the app Où Faire Pipi À Paris (‘Where to Pee in Paris’) comes in handy, guiding you towards other free-to-use public toilets located in all types of public spaces EXCEPT along the major boulevards. From parks and libraries to hospitals and cemeteries, this app gives you a good excuse to pop in somewhere you’d never normally think of visiting.

How does it work? It’s only available in French, but is still easy to use for non-native speakers. On the home page, choose between the list of ‘All Toilets’ and the ‘Map of Paris’. Once on the map, click on a specific arrondissement to investigate the various loos in your vicinity. For each one, the app-makers include information on the building and opening times.

Availability: €0.99 on iOS

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MisterGoodBeer
© Mistergoodbeer
2/10

MisterGoodBeer

A good match for the Where to Pee in Paris app, Mister Good Beer offers an exceptional selection of bars serving pints at €6 or less. Such places are few and far between nowadays, but this app has successfully rooted out the best of those that do. Prices are helpfully specified for each location, including varying costs for drinking inside/outside and at happy hours.

How does it work? The app interface is built around a map of the city, with little circles hovering above pubs/bars that serve cheap beer (the numbers in the circles represent the cheapest pints available). You can refine your search according to location, price (between €0-€6) and timings. Tap on one of the bars, and you’ll be taken to a page specifying the name, address and drinks prices. By creating an account, you can also add your own address recommendations. 

Availability: Free on iOS and Android

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RandoRoller
© Alexandre Duret-Lutz
3/10

RandoRoller

Roller-skating is a surprisingly popular means of getting to work or school in Paris. It’s also a great excuse for a bit of a workout or a fun get-together, or even both at once. That’s the idea behind the app RandoRoller, which will inform you in real time of various such events taking place around Paris and elsewhere in the Île-de-France region. Should you ever you feel the need to put your childhood skates or wheelies back in action, this is the app for you.

How does it work? The free ‘lite’ version will inform of you of the most imminently scheduled circuit, offering start and finish times, a route map, length, weather info and mid-way stop details. Your phone’s in-built geolocation service will also allow you to situate yourself with respect to the circuit outline. Extras with the full version include a complete and constantly updated agenda for the forthcoming year and the possibility of transferring event data over into your calendar, as well as connecting the app to Facebook and locating nearby water points, toilets and roller-skating shops.

Availability: Full version €1.99 (or ‘lite’ for free) on iOS

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Citymapper
© Citymapper
4/10

Citymapper

The Citymapper app is a godsend in any city, and particularly in Paris, where the sheer density of labyrinthine passages and lookalike streets can be overwhelming for the visitor. Comparing available routes across a wide variety of transports (bus, metro, RER, Vélib, taxi, tram, train), the app offers plenty of practical functions you don’t get on most itinerary planners, like practical alerts on approaching climbs and dips on bus routes, a map that works offline and a calorie loss calculator (converted, if you wish, into quantities of sugary food). It even enables you to find out how many bikes are free at the nearest Vélib dock. 

How does it work? From the welcome page, tap on ‘Where are you going?’ and type in where you’re headed. The app will then work out a suitable route according to your current position, but you can also choose an alternative starting point. After your destination has been registered, a map will then pop up with a proposed itinerary – choose your mode of transport and the route details will appear.

Availability: Free on iOS and Android

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Peerby
© Peerby
5/10

Peerby

Peerby is the ultimate app for those who appreciate any excuse to help out a neighbour, or for anyone in desperate need of a particular tool or object. Riding the wave of new apps that promote and enact the sharing economy, Peerby allows app users to list things they need to borrow, while others nearby receive notifications of such requests and (depending on their availability and kindness of heart) respond with offers. Flicking down the recent activity in the Belleville area, you can observe hoovers, bikes, printer installation CDs, waffle makers and tents being exchanged between residents.

How does it work? Download the app and sign up with details of where you live or are currently staying in the city. A ‘quartier’ page will then pop up with a list of the recent activity in your area (fascinating for nosey types), also allowing you to respond to any unanswered requests with a no, maybe or yes. If you’re looking for something yourself, click on ‘request’ at the bottom and choose among a number of commonly requested items or type in your own.

Availability: Free on iOS and Android

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Time Out
© Time Out Paris
6/10

Time Out

Our very own Time Out Paris app offers the reviews and previews from the website, but hand-picked and reformatted for mobile. Concerts, exhibitions, bars, restaurants and club nights are all listed, and you can browse a ‘most read’ section to see what’s getting the most attention right now. You can sign in to comment or 'heart' articles to revisit later, meaning this is a great tool for organising days out in the city.

How does it work? Our editors’ selection of the best things to do in Paris this week is highlighted on the home page, plus popular bar and restaurant recommendations. Hit the search button in the top right corner to explore ‘what’ (art, film, restaurants, bars), ‘when’ (today, tomorrow, this week, this month) and ‘where’ (arrondissement). The drop-down menu on the left allows access to the ‘most read’ section and 'things I love’ (add to this section by tapping on the heart on each article). Plus, the same app can switch to London, New York and other Time Out cities.

Availability: Free on iOS and Android

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Duolingo
© Duolingo
7/10

Duolingo

Superb language-learning platform/app Duolingo provides a great way of whiling away any idle minutes or hours you may have while travelling on the metro or sitting at a café. French is one of 23 languages available, and the app is exceptionally thorough (it covers vocabulary, phrases and basic grammar). Almost teacher-like in its insistence, it automatically figures out your weak spots and keeps on testing you in these areas until you improve.

How does it work? Sign up for an account on the app or online (or log in via Facebook), then follow the instructions on screen.

Availability: Free on iOS and Android

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Paris Pastry
© Céline Astorg
8/10

Paris Pastry

Someone in Paris was always going to come up with a patisserie-finding app, and dessert chef/expert David Lebovitz has done a pretty decent job with Paris Pastry. Patisseries  are everywhere in the French capital, so locating the most outstanding in any given arrondissement or the most skilled at baking any particular item (say, almond croissants) can be a daunting task. This app enables you to filter through the best of the 1200 Parisian patisseries, sorting them by speciality, district and quality.


How does it work? On the full version, shops are listed by speciality, arrondissement, ‘David’s Top 25’ or your ‘favourites’. Click on each listing for addresses, nearest metro stations, an in-depth description of the available pastries, photos, opening times, maps and links. On the ‘lite’ version, you only have access to ‘David’s Top 25’.

Availability: Full version €3.99 (or ‘lite’ for free) on iOS

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Marchés de Paris
© Marchés de Paris
9/10

Marchés de Paris

Every Paris arrondissement has its own market (on top of the brilliant big name ones), which are always charming spots of local colour and sources of interesting goods. Reliably finding their opening times and locations can be a drag, though, and this app helpfully brings all available information into one place, as well as categorising the markets by types of produce.

How does it work? Built around a city map with little circles hovering above 85 different market locations, you can also add metro stations, bus stops and Vélib docks to the map in order to help work out your way there. Along the bottom, there’s a search function allowing you to sift through the market listings by days open, type of market and location, your ‘favourites’, plus a handy list of in-season fruit and veg.

Availability: €0.99 on iOS

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Paris Avant
© Paris Avant
10/10

Paris Avant

This clever little app offers a ‘history of the city in photos’, with a catalogue spanning over 2000 locations in the capital taken over a period of 100 years (with a new location added every day). The most amusing feature involves superimposing historical images on footage from your own camera, allowing users to investigate and analyse the evolution of Parisian architecture themselves (or simply play spot the difference).

How does it work? On the home page, turn on ‘notifications’ if you wish the app to guide you to the nearest location it has in its log. Alternatively, click on ‘repérer’ in order to search for specific places, use the map function, see nearby locations/images or use the augmented reality feature to compare and contrast old and new Paris.

Availability: €1.99 on iOS and Android

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Comments

1 comments
Uriel G
Uriel G

Nice pick. Check our app too : Visitobus, a free audio guide to be listened to from regular public buses, that works totally offline.