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.

iOS Apps we used on our cycle tour of France