Becoming acclimated to a new city or country is hard enough; but then you add in a language barrier, and it can be daunting.
For some, it’s not an issue, but for many, a little extra help is vital.
Gone are the days when you had to go to a bookstore or the library to check out books and paper maps in order to prepare for a travel adventure.
Now, there’s the internet and, more importantly, apps, which are easy, no-stress ways to have resources at a flick of your thumb to help you adjust to your new surroundings and even keep in touch with friends and family from back home.
Here are a few that are essential to your sanity in Paris.
1. Facebook Group
Everyone knows about Facebook. It’s a worldwide social media platform used by millions daily to keep up with loved ones and run businesses. With the Facebook Group app, you can create, manage and track your groups, all in one place. Share photos, plan and schedule meetings, work on projects…the possibilities are endless. A lot of Parisian Expats actually use it.
Developed by the city of Paris, you can use this application to find out about happenings in your arrondissement. Fun things to do for the adults and kids, shows, gallery openings, you can narrow your choices to your interests, and it will provide information about free events, too. All this and more is available in real time. So, if you feel the need to do a last minute activity after dinner with friends, this app is where it’s at!
3. RATP: Transport in Paris
Using the subway, no matter what country you’re living in can take some getting used to. France is no different. This app helps take the confusion out of travelling on the train and in the bus in Paris. You can personalize it so you can get traffic alerts, preferred schedules and more under your myRATP tab.
Gone is the need for reservations or long lines at the taxi stand. Uber provides personalized service at the touch of a button. Payment methods include your credit card or PayPal, and the app will charge your account at the end of the trip. You’ll get a receipt via email. That’s it. Uber has revolutionized travel and made it easier to get around town, with a lot less stress. There are low-cost and premium offerings to suit your ever-changing needs.
Prefer to use a car service in Paris? Chauffeur-Privé is the app for you. You can order a car using fixed or adjustable pricing, depending on your requirements. Order a car through your phone (right away or book for up to 30 days in advance), a quote will be provided, and they’ll turn up at your door when you’re ready. Your credit card will be charged accordingly.
6. Météo Paris (in French)
This app gives weather information for Paris and surrounding areas, which is updated throughout the day. It also has a historical database going back to 1850 regarding weather events that occurred in France (and Paris in particular) at that time, if you’re a weather buff. Check it out before you go on that picnic or hike with friends!
7. Google Maps
Google Maps not only helps you navigate to your chosen destination, but it also can tell you what’s nearby for food, fun, and places to stay for the night. Real time traffic information, top-rated business statistics, even where and when to catch a bus or train are all possible through Google Maps.
8. OuiCar (in French)
Getting around France was never so easy. This app connects car owners across the country with potential drivers. Sign up, find the vehicle you want for your trip and book it. According to the site: you find the car you need, you book online, the owner hands you the keys and go! The car is covered by insurance (through AXA) and you have twenty-four-hour assistance available to you. Have a car you want to rent? OuiCar makes that easy, too.
9. Leboncoin (in French)
With this app, you can buy or sell pretty much anything. The software facilitates trade between parties anywhere in France, and you can sort by item and region. It’s a good way to find bargains for items you might need to spruce up your new home in Paris.
10. Podcast Republic
Manage your podcasts, videos, audiobooks with Podcast Republic. You can stream or download at your leisure. It is an easy to use, ads-supported app.
Some features include:
- Fully automated download.
- Offline playback of audio and video, save your data consumption
- Multiple playlist support for better organizing your podcast playing
- Synchronize between devices (with Dropbox).
- Features a car mode for easy and quick playback control.
People worldwide are opening their homes (and other spaces) to travelers in need of a lodging for the short- or long-term. Airbnb thinks outside the box and makes travel interesting. The app showcases millions of listings in thousands of cities around the world. You can contact potential hosts to find out what’s available. If you are the one leasing the space, you can let your future guests know just how wonderful that treehouse with the view of the kiddy pool and cute dog is in the backyard. Easy to book at the last minute.
12. Paris ci la Sortie du Métro
Need to know where to go to catch the train? What car you should be in to get off in front of your exit or transfer spot? This app does all that, and more. It helps you save time and worry using the Métro in Paris so you can work on that novel while you’re traveling to your destination.
13. TransferWise (in French)
Sending money abroad can be tricky and pricey. TransferWise has no hidden fees and strives to send money online for a very low price. According to the site, it is up to 8x times cheaper than going through a bank
- Transfer your money in the right country.
- Send money to your family abroad.
- Send money to a friend
- Pay a bill in another country
- Pay a loan or pay your rent abroad
14. Urbacolors (in French)
Love street art? Urbacolors is a social network “dedicated to the discovery of street art around the world.” You can share your pictures with other users, and get to know your city on another level entirely.
14. PAP (in French)
Trying to find a new place to live in Paris? PAP has property listings for sale and lease by owners in France. There are no agency fees. Whether you need a business space or an apartment, loft, or house, PAP can assist you. There’s map capability, photos of the place you’re interested in, and you can place an ad for the kind of property you need and be updated in real time.
If you’re living in France and want to study the language basics, then Duolingo is perfect for you. It helps you learn basic grammar, with speaking, listening and writing capabilities. You can learn on the go, and set reminders for daily lessons. C’est bon, n'est-ce pas?
You’re new to Paris and want to meet people. The Meetup app can be used to find groups with interests similar to your own, or to form something new. It has a large, worldwide network of local groups and is very user-friendly. Consider joining an expat group in Paris to help you acclimate faster and make friends.
18. Google Translate
In a bind and need to communicate with that cute guy or girl in a language other than your own? This app translates over a hundred languages through typing on your phone screen; has offline translation capability of 52 languages; has a “camera mode” where pictures can be translated; has a “conversation mode” for two-way speech; and will translate handwriting. A very robust program.
This is another way to keep in touch with friends and family around the globe. It’s user-friendly and anyone can start, call or chat on Skype. Videos, voice calls are free, and there are other low-cost options that come in handy for business users, too.
Exchanging messages without SMS fees is what this app is all about. The cost savings alone make this a very attractive option for the expat needing to keep in touch with friends and family and business associates in another country. You can create groups, too and send videos, audio, and images to your heart’s content.
Doctoralia is a leader in health professionals and centers’ search. Doctoralia healthcare platform connects millions of users with their local medical services. The company was founded in 2007 by a team with years of experience in both the healthcare and Internet industries and has a mission is to become the world's leading destination for finding and booking with healthcare professionals and centers, helping those professionals and centers reach more patients through the Internet. Their main local competitor in France is Doctolib, an app that helps you to find and book an appointment with your doctor in ten seconds.
Over to you!
Did you enjoy this article? Are there apps which you use on a daily basis to help you get acclimated as an expat in Paris? Please leave a comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!
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