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Revealed: The essential smartphone apps you need for living in France

These days there are apps for everything from transport to finding the best places to eat out. And there are some that are designed specifically for life in France. Here are ten of the best.

Revealed: The essential smartphone apps you need for living in France
ifeelstock/Depositphotos
Apps are designed to make life easier, and for those living in a foreign country anything that can help you run things more smoothly is worth its weight in gold. 
 
That's why we asked our readers to tell us what their essential apps for life in France were, and many of the same ones kept cropping up.
 
These covered a variety of subjects from transport and weather, to jobs, food, entertainment… and of course, as this is France, strikes. 
 
Many of you suggested language learning apps and we'd like to point you to an article dedicated to that subject here
 
We'd also like to say thank you to those of you who mentioned The Local app. 
 
Here's our list of ten of the best apps.
 
 
 
If you're someone who likes to keep an eye on the weather around France, the Meteo France app could prove essential for your life here, according to our readers. The app provides a ten-day forecast for France and around the world so you can follow the weather in your home country too. 
 
It's also handy for finding out when there are weather warnings in place in your area. 
 
We'd also like to give an honorable mention to the Meteo Consult Marine app, recommended by readers who live in coastal areas of France.
 
“It gives tide times, wind speeds and direction, sea state etc for any coastal location in France, essential for sailing,” said Chris Burdess.
 
 
Want to take a train in France? This is the app to use. Make sure to click on 'train' – if that's what you need (as you can also book buses and air travel as well as accommodation) and you'll get all the info you need, as well as the best prices. This app is “essential for train travel, it's an excellent app,” one reader said.
 
Other recommended transport apps, included the French capital's transport operator RATP's app, which is handy for finding out how to get around Paris and the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France. 
 
You can also use it to find out the time of the next RER, Metro, bus and night buses, trama and airport lines.
 
Similarly, France's national rail company SNCF has an app which is useful if you tend to travel around the country by train. It gives you door-to-door itineraries and real-time information on your journeys even if you don't have a signal. 
 
ANALYSIS: Are train services in rural France set to finally be derailed?
Photo: AFP
 

If you're looking for a GP or any other kind of doctor or hospital near you and want to make an appointment, this is a great place to go. It's free and very easy to use: you just type in what you're looking for and where you live, and it comes up with choice of doctors closest to you. You'll receive appointment reminders by text and maps of how to get there.
 

Ameli is the website of the CPAM (Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie) which is the organization dealing with state covered healthcare in France. Many readers listed this app, where you can find anything relating to your French healthcare admin. Ameli keeps track of all your personal health information, including your refunds and is a handy app to have at hand.
 

Finding someone to do odd jobs can be tricky, especially if you're new to an area and struggle with the language. Help is at hand with Youpijob where you'll be able to find a person to do a whole range of jobs from gardening to cleaning to looking after your dog.
 
“All the work is guaranteed, I can use the app to help translate and message my workers, I can use their review system to make sure I hire great people, and they don't get paid until after the work is completed,” one enthusiastic reader explained. “I have been using it for a year, and it has been a lifeline to get things done here in France, especially for an Expat”.  
 
 
You know you're in France when you have this app on your phone! C'est la grève lists all the strikes going on across the country.
 
“You are alerted immediately to all strikes, when they are happening, where and the duration,” commented one reader. It even allows you to select a geographic location to find out what's going on near you.
 
Screengrab/Cestlagreve app
 

The CAF is the organization that deals with family state benefits and the app proves useful for families as it gathers all the admin relating to family benefits, but also housing benefits and some social benefits, and also features all the latest updates and information.
 
Another app recommended by several readers which comes in handy for personal admin is the government-run Impots.gouv app which allows you to access your personal tax information quickly and easily. You can also use it for paying your taxes when the time comes. 
 

If you want to eat out where other French people do, La Fourchette lists a huge selection of restaurants (around 40,000) in all of France's main cities, with ratings, comments, photos and lots of special offers.
 
The app is easy to use, and, as one reader pointed out, if you're not confident about booking a table over the phone, you can do it here without having to speak a word of French.
 
The best smartphone apps for learning French
 

You'll need to understand French to use this cooking app, but if you do, you'll find thousands of recipe ideas here which you search by typing in ingredients, types of dishes and there are a host of videos to help you cook. It's a favourite with French people. 

Another reader favourite. If you like going to cinema, this is the app to use. Allocine features the film listings and times of all the cinemas in France and a range of other useful information about anything related to films.
 

 

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Readers reveal the worst places in France for pickpockets… and tips to avoid them

If you're someone who has had their holiday to France ruined by a pickpocket, then you're certainly not alone. And it isn't only in the French capital that you have to watch out.

Readers reveal the worst places in France for pickpockets... and tips to avoid them
One reader said that people should watch out for pickpockets at Lyon train station (pictured above). Photo: AFP
A recent report revealed that 2019 has seen a surge of cases of pickpocketing on the Paris metro. But the French capital isn't the only place in France where you need to watch out for petty crime. 
 
We asked our readers who know France well to tell us where else in the country you need to be that extra bit cautious about your handbag, wallet or phone and for any advice on keeping possessions safe.  
 
Unsurprisingly many of the places mentioned by readers were in cities with high levels of tourism. 
 
One of the places that came up again and again was the eastern French city of Strasbourg, with readers noting that thieves tend to operate around the train station, old town and the very popular Christmas markets. 
 
READ ALSO:

Photo: AFP

“I was targeted by pickpockets in Strasbourg walking near the old town. Two women – a 40-year-old woman with a 20-year-old girl — walked very close behind me, as I was walking very fast, and tried opening a small shoulder bag,” said Greg Moore from the US. 
 
Another reader said that they “watched a group of girls working the crowd at the Christmas markets.”
 
The beautiful southern French city of Nice was also highlighted by several readers as a place where it is wise to keep a close eye on your belongings. 
 
One reader noted that there are “pickpockets in abundance” and that the city in general “is horrible for pickpocketing”. 
 
“My credit and debit cards were stolen and used when we visited there a few years ago,” they said. 
 
Lyon, the capital city in France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, is very popular with tourists who are drawn to the city for its architecture, culture – and of course the world famous cuisine. 
 
But while it's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security by beautiful surroundings, Lyon was also highlighted by readers as a place to be cautious. 
 
Linda Martz, who has lived in the city for three years, told us that a pickpocket stole her wallet while she boarded a train. 
 
And another reader Sandra Beard told us that drivers should be particularly careful due to “scam artists” targeting people with cars.      
 
There are “scam artists who “help” you at parking ticket machines while they palm (and take) your credit card (and tells you the machine took your card),” she said.
 
“They have your PIN after looking over your shoulder,” she said, adding that when this happened to her the man “withdrew €5,000 from three banks before we froze our account (within 10 mins).”
 
Photo: AFP
 
It might not be so surprising that the resort town of Cannes on the French Riviera, which has a reputation as a bit of a playground for the rich, was also on readers' lists, with one saying that his brother was pickpocketed as he stepped onto a train at Cannes train station. 
 
Meanwhile reader Leslie White, who lives in Paris, said she and her husband were “hit with the 'bird poop scam'” while strolling in the grounds of the Domaine de Chantilly in northern France. 
 
“A plop of green goop landed on my head. A helpful couple walking behind us helped to clean us off with disposable wipes. My husband somehow had some on him too. They also cleaned out his wallet and of course it was they who had thrown the 'poop' at me in the first place. We didn’t figure it out until the next day,” she said. 
 
Other readers mentioned Tours train station and tram stop, the market in Arles – where reader Sue Byford said her gold necklace was snatched from her neck – and Disneyland, where one person told us they had their new phone stolen, as specific places where pickpockets operate.  
 
Advice
 
Police around France are aware of the high levels of pickpocketing in certain cities and have offered advice on how to avoid becoming a target, including avoiding the “temptation to make valuables, such as expensive handbags and jewellery, too visible or easy to take”. 
 
They have also advised caution when sitting on the terrasse of a bar or café. 
 
It's important to be “very vigilant, do not leave a wallet or phone on a table, in front of everyone” or leave your valuables in your jacket if you leave it slung over a chair,” the Rouen police previously told the French press. 
 
Our readers also had some suggestions of their own, including using zip ties on bags and neck pouches for credit cards and your phone. 
 
One reader said they take the extra precaution of putting mini-locks on all the zippers on their backpack. 
 
Two readers pointed out that unfortunately it is “necessary to be wary of friendly people”.
 
“Any distraction is an opportunity,” said one. 
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