Whether you need help communicating in French, getting around the French Riviera, or recommendations for which French wines to drink, this article highlights some of the best apps to download when traveling to Nice.
Could you imagine going on a trip tomorrow without your smartphone or tablet? For most people, the answer is no. While we rely on our devices to keep in touch with people and manage our daily lives, they’re also super convenient when traveling.
There are so many travel-based apps in the market, it can quickly become overwhelming. What navigation app is best? How can I communicate with locals?
Here are my recommendations for the most useful apps when traveling to Nice, France.
- The Fork
- Google Maps
- Google Translate
- Nice Ticket
- Too Good to Go
- Xe Currency Converter
If you don’t already know about Duolingo, it’s a free language learning app. They offer to teach you some of the world’s commonly spoken languages through reading, listening, and speaking exercises.
With Duolingo, you can learn French words and phrases to help you read street signs, get around the city and most importantly, communicate your needs. To get the most out of Duolingo, start learning through the app a few weeks before your trip.
Alright, so maybe you didn’t have enough time or patience to start learning French with Duolingo before your trip. No worries! Download Google Translate to help you communicate and get around while exploring Nice.
Like Google Maps, I believe that the greatest feature of Google Translate is that it allows you to download languages offline. This means you can continue using the translation app even when your phone is on airplane mode.
Food & Wine Apps
Too Good to Go
Too Good to Go is an app that was created to combat food waste. Through the platform, restaurants, bakeries and shops can sell their unsold food to consumers at the end of the day for a reduced price.
As a buyer, you don’t exactly know what you’ll get since it’s based on what food hasn’t sold that day, but if you’re a responsible or budget traveler, then purchasing one or two of your meals through Too Good to Go is a solid choice!
All you have to do is open the app, type in your location, filter by search radius (e.g. 3km, 5km,…), and reserve at your location of choice. You’ll be given a time range on when you can collect your purchased food, and that’s it!
The Fork, or La Fourchette in French, is a platform which allows you to book a table at restaurants.
Open the app, enter Nice for the city, and select the date, time, and number of guests for the reservation. You’ll be presented with a list of restaurants available, many of which offer promotions of up to 50% off if you book a table through the app.
Play with the filters to pick the cuisine you’re craving. Nice has got a great selection of Mediterranean, Italian, and seafood restaurants. You can also filter based on the environment you want to sit in like an outdoor terrace, waterfront, or romantic. They even have a selection of Michelin restaurants to choose from!
Vivino is a platform dedicated solely to wine! It’s home to a massive wine database (I’m talking about a collection of millions of wine here!) and also acts as a marketplace where you can actually buy wine directly from the app.
In Nice, Vivino is the perfect app to use when wine shopping for that perfect beach picnic you’ve been dreaming about or when going through the wine list of one of the best French restaurants in town.
Open the app and click the camera icon. If you’re buying wine at the store, select the label or quick compare option then scan the wine label.
For choosing wine from a restaurant’s wine list, select the wine list option then scan the menu.
Vivino will present you with the wine’s rating that its algorithm has generated based on the millions of voluntary reviews it collects from users and its wine experts. You’ll also get to know the wine’s characteristics: dry or sweet, acidic or soft, light or bold. And lastly but just as important, Vivino shares which foods pair well with the wines.
Getting Around Apps
AllTrails is a very useful app if you want to explore your surroundings by foot. Through the app, you can find many pedestrian paths within and from Nice to beautiful locations such as Mont Boron and Villefranche-sur-Mer.
Open the app and select your location: Nice. You will be presented with a list of trails and a summary of their difficulty level, distance, estimated duration, and user reviews. When you click on a trail, you’ll have more information such as the trail’s description, the local weather conditions, user photos, and even the ability to download the map offline.
Though it’s not an app, I want to highlight RandOxygène, a government-managed website that also shares hiking trails in France. If you don’t understand French, I recommend using Chrome’s web page translate feature or be prepared to copy/paste the text into a translation tool.
There are many local and regional buses in Nice that give access to areas that are otherwise inaccessible without a car. Moovit provides up-to-date schedules for the trams, buses, and trains in Nice, and for regional lines going in and out of Nice.
For instance, you could take a bus from Nice to Saint Paul de Vence, a hilltop village overlooking the hills of the French Riviera and where James Baldwin called home for the last two decades of his life.
Open the app and type where you want to go. Choose your departure time and apply any filter you want such as the best route or fewest transfers. Once you click Find Routes, Moovit will show you a few options with the duration of the route listed along with the public transportation lines used and when the next departures are.
Google Maps is not good at showing regional buses and their schedules on the app, but they are great at highlighting points of interests around the city.
The real reason I put Google Maps in this article is because I think one of their greatest features is the ability to download maps offline. This feature is clutch for when you need to put your phone on airplane mode or if you anticipate losing service when driving through the countryside. You can download a city map or a regional map, all depending on how much space your phone has available.
Here’s my video tutorial on how to download a map offline on Google Maps.
Nice Ticket (iPhone) and NFC Nice Ticket (Android) is an app that lets you buy and validate bus and tram tickets in the Nice metropolitan area with Lignes d’Azur, the city’s public transportation system.
On the iPhone version, you can buy and validate tickets directly in the app.
On an Android, while you can buy the ticket on the app, you cannot validate it there. You have to validate the ticket by activating NFC and using the ticket reader on the tram or bus.
Getting around Nice on public transportation costs €1.50 one way. You can also buy a set of 10 tickets for €10. Once you validate your ticket, it is active for 75 minutes meaning you can make transfers using the same ticket.
SNCF is the national rail operator in France. If you want to travel in France and you’re going by rail, say for example, from Nice to Cannes, then you’re using SNCF.
SNCF’s app is called OUI.sncf and it lets you buy your ticket online and get updated information on train schedules, and delays and cancellations regarding your reservation.
Nice has been making strides into becoming a green, sustainable city. As part of this initiative, the city has taken steps to become more bike-friendly. You could actually bike from Nice’s port to neighboring town Cagnes-sur-Mer the bike lane along the seaside.
VeloBleu is a 24/7 bicycle rental service that offers more than 1500 bicycles across Nice, Saint Laurent du Var, and Cagnes-sur-Mer.
E-VeloBleu is an app which shows you all of the electric bike rental stations in Nice, how many bikes are available at each station, and at what charge they’re at. By using this app, you can rent an e-bike and unlock it when you reach the station.
Not an e-bike user? No worries. There are over 1,000 traditional bicycles available for rent. For reliable and up-to-date data on bike rental stations, visit the VeloBleu website or download the Velo Blue app.
Xe Currency Converter
Xe is my go-to app for my currency conversion needs. They use live rates which means that no matter what time of the day you check how much 1 euro comes out in your currency, the exchange rate is always current and accurate.
Simply open the app and go to the Convert section. Select the currencies you want to check (e.g. Euro and US Dollar). Enter an amount under one of the currencies and the other currency will automatically update using the live exchange rate.
This app is really useful if you want to track your spending while in France or simply want to know the cost of a good sold in France compared to your home country.
Ever been out exploring a city and the urge to use the toilet suddenly comes over?
Unfortunately in France, you can’t use the toilet in a café or restaurant without purchasing something. That’s where Flush comes in. Flush is an app designed to locate public toilets.
All you have to do is type in your location in the app and a list of public toilets around you will pop up. There will be a dollar sign icon next to the toilets that you must pay to use and the International Symbol of Access icon (also known as the wheelchair symbol) for the toilets that are accessible.
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