Once a quaint little town, Nice has grown into a modern city that embraces modernity and is brimming over with both urban energy and port town exotica. Its many little quirks make it one of the most interesting spots in France to visit. With it multicultural population, Mediterranean tides and beautiful surrounding landscape, it is everything travellers could want from a French vacation. Here are our favourite apps to help you navigate the city’s quirky streets...
Nice Offline Street Map
This is a great app to have for those that find themselves lost frequently. Users can pinch to zoom in and out on the map just like with the many built in map apps that come with phones these days. By accessing the GPS of a smart phone, the Nice Offline Street Map can always pinpoint where users are and shows what is around them. It shows restaurants, bus stops and shopping establishments along any given street, so more landmark-oriented navigators can have an easier time getting around. There is even a little travel guide that highlights some of the more interesting places on the map, although it is not as detailed as that official travel guide apps will be. It is available free of charge for Android and iPhone devices.
Nice City Guide
While the Nice Offline Street Map app has a travel guide, it will never be as helpful as a fully fledged travel guide app. With six million downloads so far, the Nice City Guide is packed with insider tips and advice from individuals in the know. This app isn't the kind that steers users towards all the obvious tourist traps in the city – it instead allows app-users to experience Nice like a local. The Nice City Guide app is a collaboration between the city locals and travel journalists who plucked out the very best that Nice has to offer. Users are treated to insider information on all the top attractions, sights, shops, restaurants, nightlife and museums. The nicest function of the Nice City Guide app is that is has an augmented reality feature that lets users get street views of the areas surrounding them or in the destination they wish to visit. This is a handy feature for those that navigate better by seeing certain places. It is 100 per cent offline so users will not have to worry about roaming charges, and it is free on for iPhone and Android devices.
Metro Nice is a free app for Android and iPhone devices brought to app-users by the city of Nice. It is an all in one app that helps visitors and locals to the city know what is going on at all times, including news and traffic updates, weather and daily shopping details. However, the most prized function of the Metro Nice app is that it keeps timetables and general information on the train and bus routes that run throughout town. Not only does Metro Nice show highlighted maps of each bus and train stop, but it shows where each route goes within the city, as well as estimated times of arrival and departure. However, to cut down on updating frequency, the timetable is just a general estimate. This doesn't mean that the app works completely offline, though. It still needs fairly frequent updates for the news and weather functions, but thankfully the city of Nice keeps the updates to a minimal. Whether or not app users have any interest in the news or weather portion of this app, the train and bus route guides are well worth the use of precious space on your smart phone.
Cuisine Guide – Nice
When it comes to finding great food in Nice, it’s not such a challenge. The city has a strong food and wine culture. While most travel guide apps will name plenty of great eateries, this app specializes in it. It names around 250 great restaurants, wine bars and cafes located, ranging from the luxurious and pricey to the cheap hole in the wall joints. As everyone, including the app developers, realizes that France has such a big wine culture, they implemented the ability to sort the restaurants based on the quality and price range of their wines. The Cuisine Guide allows users to rate restaurants and leave comments about them. This way, users do not have to just rely on the descriptions programmed into the guide, but can cross reference it with what other visitors have said. This app is available for free for Android and iPhone devices.
Nice Map and Walks Guide
The Nice Map and Walks Guide not only functions as a map of Nice, but it also serves as a personal tour guide, right in the palm of the user's hand. This guide provides a series of audio tours that are separated into different walks around the city. The app includes walks such as Art Galleries in Nice, Old Town, Significant Landmarks, Shopping Areas in Nice and one fun tour called A Feel of the Local Life. By tapping into the GPS of a smart phone, the app takes users step by step to their next destination. When they arrive at the various points of interest, the app gives a detailed audio tour of the location that gives information on its history. There are two versions of this app, the Lite version, which is available for free and includes eight walking tours, and the Full version that is available for $4.99 and includes an additional 10 walking tours around town. Both versions are available for Android and iPhone devices.
Babbel Learn French
Many of the locals know English as well, but the French always prefer to speak French. It is polite to at least make the effort with a little knowledge of French. When it comes to learning the basics of French fast, Babbel is the app to get. Through games, quizzes and interactive exercises, app users learn to speak, understand and write French. Babbel Learn French also utilizes speech exercises so users can be assured that their pronunciation is always spot on. It comes with both a dictionary and spoken/written translator to help visitors in Nice muddle through. The best part of this app is that it is free for Android and iPhone devices.