During a recent trip to France I used my iPhone 4S fairly often. I brought it along for backup navigation (we had plenty of maps) and backup camera. Along the way I collected a few France-specific apps as we learned more about traveling the country.
- Loire à Vélo – region-specific maps and attractions for cyclists. I think they did a pretty good job turning the Loire bike trail into a game. Its unfortunate that it’s so focused on driving business to local B&Bs and not highlighting camping along the route.
- YouCamp FR – This app was a life-saver! It’s a campsite map for the whole country that works offline. It includes tons of great metadata that helped us to decide which of several possible campsites to ride to first.
- Navfree France – man this app could be so useful but the UI is a disaster. The *one* thing I needed constantly was to simply show us where we currently were and it was a struggle to accomplish that. Trying to plan a route from A to B required drilling down through multiple menus with many ways to mess up and lose work. Fortunately it was rare we were without cell coverage so I could use Google Maps. It allegedly could provide different routes based on mode of transport but it never successfully could calculate even a simple bike route so I can’t say if this feature is real or not. Best to avoid this one.
- GéoVeló Paris – Basic bicycle navigation app that’s specific to Paris. The few times I used it I was happy with the results.
- Google Translate – Not much to say about this one. It was damn handy to get phrase translation on the fly. We really should have purchased a phrase book but this was an ok substitute.
I also tried a handful of SNCF apps to try and book trains but none of them could provide access to information regarding bicycles so they were useless for our purposes.