With this article we will try to shed some light onto the very dense world of navigation across France. It feels that every week there is a new method of transport available, which is then taken up by three different startups, and then a week later, has completely disappeared. Worry not, with the below we should have you covered!
What is the best app for
- General navigation
- Cross-country navigation
- Urban navigation
The one-stop shop. You can use it to walk, bike, drive, even most public transport is integrated into Google Maps.
While France is mainly represented by SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer) there are other options such as Deutsche Bahn who collaborate frequently with the SNCF, the Thalys that goes to Belgium and the Netherlands, or the Eurostar that is expanding rapidly. The Trainline gathers all rail options in one place, not only showing you all options in France, but even across all of Europe. It’s easy to navigate and you can compare ease and pricing.
A must-have for drivers. Owned by Google it pretty much does everything for you except for driving. Calculating the fastest routes by avoiding traffic, giving you a heads up if there is police in the area or even allowing you to collect little prizes along the way, I haven’t yet met a French driver who does not use it.
Fantastic for urban transport, not only does it cover public transport but also has all of the private companies represented such as Uber, Bird, Kaptn, etc (more below). It has the real-time departures as well as “rain safe” options or changes without steps for easier mobility – we highly recommend this one. For the pandemic they even added a feature to find the nearest Covid test station.
In France, Citymapper covers Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, and Nantes. More to come!
Private Transport Apps
Disclaimer: most of these are startups and are growing quickly, please check each individually to see if it’s available in your city and/or if the company still operates, these tend to “eat” each other up. Jump for example was bought by Uber, and has now been bought by Lime.
- Uber (iOS / Android)
- FREENOW (iOS / Android)
- Bolt (iOS / Android)
- Heetch (iOS / Android)
- Marcel (iOS / Android)
- Local Bike Scheme
- Public Bike Schemes