Last updated on September 7th, 2023 at 06:33 pm
Whether you’re working in Marseille, studying in Paris, or getting settled in any other part of the country, adjusting to life in France will inevitably bring challenges. The good news is that there are more online resources to help you than ever before – including these invaluable apps.
App name: Citymapper
Why?: Takes the stress out of navigating a new city
The major cities of France are famed for their picturesque architecture, iconic landmarks, and scores of restaurants and cafes. But they can be challenging to navigate, especially if you’re a newcomer. This is where Citymapper can become your best friend. If you’re living in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Lille, Bourdeaux, Strasbourg, or Nantes, the app provides an easy alternative to staring at maps or learning bus timetables.
All you have to do is fire up Citymapper, enter where you want to go, and it’ll use geolocation technology to give you the best possible routes. It incorporates public transport networks like buses, trams, and metro trains, using real-time data to let you know when the next relevant services are due and how long your entire journey will take.
App name: Remitly
Why?: A quick, cost-effective way to send money home
Need to send money back to loved ones in your home country? By downloading the Remitly app, you can make it happen, day or night. It’s simple to use: all you have to do is add your payment details along with some information about your recipient. You may be asked for additional documentation depending on the amount sent or if your identity isn’t able to be verified. How the money is received depends on which country you’re sending to, but you’re often able to transfer funds directly to your recipient’s bank account or mobile money account. You may also be able to have the cash delivered right to your loved one’s home, or picked up at a designated location.
Remitly uses multiple layers of security and round-the-clock fraud monitoring to give its more than five million global customers complete peace of mind. And, with a transparent fee structure and highly competitive exchange rates offered with each transfer, it’s as cost-effective as it is convenient.
App name: france.tv
Why?: Easy way to immerse yourself in French culture
One of the best ways to really get to know the everyday culture of a new country – its tastes, its social etiquette, its sense of humour – is by watching its TV shows. Coming courtesy of state broadcaster France Télévisions, the France.tv app puts heaps of viewing options at your fingertips. French crime dramas, comedies, cookery shows, documentaries, sport – they’re all ready to stream to your device whenever you want to immerse yourself in all things France.
The app is free and easy to use, with offerings from major channels like France 2 and France 3 on the menu. By activating subtitles and reading what’s being said, you can use the app as a tool for improving your French language skills too. The fact that it brings you bespoke recommendations based on what you’ve been watching is an added perk.
App name: French banking apps
Why?: The best way to keep tabs on your budget and spending
Since you’re settling into France for an extended period, it’s worth opening a local bank account. And when you do, be sure to download the banking app. Top French banks like Société Générale, La Banque Postale, and Banque Populaire all have user-friendly apps which will make managing your money much easier. By logging into your mobile account, you’ll be able to survey your current balance, plus the in-coming and out-going payments.
You may be able to set up regular payments to cover bills, scroll back to check historical transactions, and keep tabs on other services like savings accounts and loans. Depending on the exact app, you may also be able to set up spending alerts and set financial goals, which can help you thrive during your new life in France.
App name: Whoomies
Why?: Lets you browse for houseshares and roommates in France
Created by tech entrepreneurs in France, Whoomies is a great tool for finding housemates in cities such as Paris, Nice, and Lyon. If you’re looking for a place to move into, or someone new to live with, it’s well worth browsing the listings on Whoomies.
Nice, big photos of the properties give you a real idea of what you can expect, and the navigation tools are highly intuitive, letting you filter not just by price and amenities, but also house rules. Say you want to live in a quiet home with a fairly low-key housemate – you can simply filter for ‘no overnight guests’ and ‘no party’.
What’s more, it’s possible to create your own profile where you can describe your own personality and interests, and hopefully connect to likeminded people who’d like you as a housemate.
App name: SNCF
Why?: Lets you manage and plan journeys across France
France is a big country, and chances are you’ll want to get around and take in the sights while you’re living here. The state-owned railway company is called SNCF, and its app makes travelling in France a far more streamlined process. It will present the best travel itinerary for your trip, encompassing not just trains but trams, buses, and ride share options. Real time traffic updates mean it can also suggest alternative routes to save you time.
You can purchase tickets through the app, get alerts on which trains are more crowded than others, and save your recurring journeys on the app so you can access them quickly next time. All in all, if you’re going to travel in France, you’ll want the SNCF app.
App name: Doctolib
Why?: Makes it easier to book medical appointments in France
Making appointments with doctors and other healthcare professionals can be a chore and a hassle, wherever in the world you live. If you’re in France, you can make use of the hugely popular Doctolib app. Tens of thousands of medics in France use it to organise their appointments, and the app’s ability to host video consultations has caused it to soar in use since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The well-designed app lets you make online appointments for in-person and video calls, manage your medical documents, and keep track of your appointment history. It also provides automatic reminders by email and text message, so you can rest easy knowing you won’t forget upcoming consultations.
App name: La Fourchette
Why?: Puts the French restaurant scene in the palm of your hand
France is famously one of the foodie capitals of the world, but it’s not all about fine dining in plush palaces of gastronomy. You can feast on pretty much anything when living here, from pizzas to sushi to tongue-tingling curry, and using La Fourchette can help you pick out places that look good.
It will show you restaurants that are close to wherever you’re located, letting you flick through photos of dishes and interiors, and read through customer reviews. The app provides access to exclusive offers and discounts, and it awards loyalty points which can get you money off bills. And, if your French is still a work in progress, it’s good to know you can book tables with just a few taps, with no need to ring up the restaurant.
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