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8 Essential France Travel Tips to Help Make your Trip Magical

Planning a trip to France but not sure where to start?

My 8 Essential France Travel Tips and Apps


Need French Classes to help you navigate your way around France?

Planning a trip to France but not sure where to start?

My 8 Essential France Travel Tips and Apps

Need French Classes to help you navigate your way around France?

Planning a trip to France but not sure where to start?

As a French teacher, I am always getting asked by my Australian students to share my top France travel tips.

And of course I could talk about travelling to France for days, so I decided to focus on a few essential apps and clever tricks to make your trip to France easier and more enjoyable than you can ever imagine.


As much as I love planning holidays, the part I enjoy the least is the packing!

“What should I wear? Should I take a light coat or heavy jacket? Will I really need that extra pair of heels?”

I am one of the ‘procrastination queens’ that wait until the very last minute to start.

Then – whether I’m packing for a weekend away or a longer three-week trip – it becomes a manic and crazy rush the night before the flight. I end up throwing everything together based on the random bits of paper and e-notes from my iPhone where I’ve jotted down mini lists of things ‘to do’, ‘to pack’ and ‘to buy’.

Every single time, I vow, “I’ll be more organised next time.” Because I genuinely want to (one day) start my holiday relaxed and on the right foot.

So I was delighted when I found out about Packing Pro, the app that takes the guesswork and stress away by giving me some expert list-making assistance. You put in your details such as, who’s travelling (men, woman, children), where and for how long, and ‘ta dah!’ you get a suggested list that can then be customised further. You can also filter the items based on each person or on what you still need to buy at the shops.

My other packing tips for France are:

  • Stick with a simple colour palette so you can mix and match more and allow for the same shoes and accessories to be worn several times. If you want to blend in, remember that French women tend to wear neutral coloured clothes (white, black, beige, navy, grey) and often steer away from loud patterns.
  • Bring items that can be layered. I always pack a light-weight jacket and a couple of quality scarves which can easily help me dress up or dress down an outfit.

If you used the FourSquare app, you can find some eateries by theme, by price and by rating. It’s a handy one, I use even when I’m not travelling if I feel like trying a new café or restaurant. It comes up with recommendations based on your GPS location.

Give it a try on your next trip to France so you can enjoy some of the locals’ recommendations instead of following your guide book.


Of course I’m biased, but I can assure you that learning a bit of French before your trip will go a long way to enhancing your experience when you’re there. However, you can also get by with the help of a phrase book if you can find the phrase you need fast and pronounce it correctly!

When you’re in France, if you need to translate something, I strongly recommend this little-know app and no, it’s not ‘Google Translate’ (although its camera feature can be fun to use!).

The reason I don’t recommend using ‘Google Translate’ is that I feel it’s a long way away from being reliable. For example, type the word ‘tap’ and you’ll be given one word selected at random from a list of a dozen.

But if you use Word Reference, my favourite online translator and app, you will get see that the French word for ‘tap’ has a different word for each meaning.

Did you mean a water faucet (un robinet) or a poke on the shoulder (un coup)? You’ll get the different meanings explained and it’s just a matter of choosing the correct one. So many words have more than one meaning that it’s important to work out the correct one otherwise you will get strange stares from the French people you interact with!


The free TripAdvisor app is more geared towards planning your holidays.

However, the off-line content and city guides are of great quality. It’s known for its user reviews and photos, allowing you to get an unbiased point of view.

So this one is a handy app to have during your visit but also when the holiday-blues kicks in and you need to get planning for your next escape!


If you know you’ll be spending time outside Paris (and perhaps you’ll be offline for a while), the app Maps.Me allows you to zoom in on any continent, country or city and it gives you a detailed map without even needing an internet connection.

How good is that?


Like most of us, one of the things that I struggle with after a long flight across the globe to or from France is the sometimes awful jetlag.

If you’re like me, you don’t want to waste a minute once you reach your destination. You want to enjoy each minute from the moment you are allowed off that last plane!

Apparently, jetlag is the result of a disrupted circadian clock – try saying that five times fast!

The clever clogs from The University of Michigan have created an app called EnTrain that promises to help with just that. It uses your normal (i.e. pre-holiday) exposure to light.

You just input your destination and arrival time and it’ll recommend changes to your schedule to reduce the effects of jetlag.

The reviews seem very positive so I will be sure to use it on my next trip.

What about you?


I use WhatsApp daily and I love it as it keeps me in touch with my friends and family overseas.

On holidays, it’s a great app to have. So if you don’t already use it, I highly recommend it!

It works like a text messaging service (text and also photos, videos, sound clips) and uses Wi-Fi, making it very easy to stay in touch with loved ones.

So although there’s no way (yet) to make your friends and family jealous by sharing with them the delicious smell coming from a French bakery, you can share the French music you recorded from a café and the snaps you took of a colourful market or art gallery you visited.


Every holiday, I intend on journaling my experience so that I can savour my holiday for longer.

I always start off quite well but after a few days, I get distracted, miss an entry and lose momentum only to later regret it!

I’ve found a simple and oh-so-pretty way to record my next travel adventure.

It’s really aesthetically pleasing and very elegant.

It even has a French name so what’s not to love?

So download the BonJournal app. Just register with your email address and start creating a simple yet beautiful travel journal even with no internet connection.

If you choose to share your memories with your loved ones, you can naturally connect with them (using Facebook or Twitter).

But if you’re like me and rather keep the moments private, you can just export them as PDFs for you to cherish later.


So, there you have it! I hope this little round-up of my recommended apps and tips helps you have an even more magical trip to France. If you have any France travel tips to share, please come share them on our Facebook page

Simply click here if you’d like a one page infographic of my 8 Essential France Travel Tips to save to your computer.


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