I love Paris.
Perhaps I should qualify that statement.
I loved Paris.
In 2002 I had an opportunity to spend a day in Paris. It was something that I'd always wanted to do and, as fate, luck, the alignment of the stars, or whatever fatalistic belief you subscribe to would have it, there I was, standing in front of a quaint hotel, in the rain, in Paris, on the evening before Bastille Day.
My misadventures included getting lost, twice, a hotel room the size of my closet at home, a friendly Frenchman and his jaw droppingly gorgeous (adult) daughter who went to the extremes to help me get un-lost, getting soaked to the bone while trying to walk to The Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, and standing in a sea of french folk while the Eiffel Tower was set ablaze with lights and fireworks during the Bastille Day celebration.
It was wonderful! An experience of a lifetime the vivid memory of which I can still enjoy now many years later. I don't know if having all the modern conveniences an iPhone or the like can provide would have added or detracted from my experience, but I do know that if I ever make it back I will try to see more of the city than what my brief time there allowed.
To make the most of any trip, even back then, it helps to prepare. I did my homework before going. I'd booked a hotel room that was strategically situated between The Arc and The Tower so that walking was possible, I'd picked up a French Phrasebook to help me speak to locals, and I had bought a camera to record my experiences.
What I hadn't taken into consideration was the timing of my arrival or being completely confused about which direction I was heading, even during the day because of the clouds and rain. That's where an iPhone or iPad would have come in handy.
If you're heading to Paris anytime soon (you lucky dog!) then you might consider one of the three apps I'm featuring in this week's Free on iTunes. I'm talking guided tours, maps, photos and more, all for free. So let's get to it.
Ulmon Paris Travel Guide [104 MB, runs on all iOS devices capable of running iOS 6.0 or later, Maker: Ulmon GmbH]
Ulmon Paris Travel Guide
If I had Ulmon Paris Travel Guide when I visited I would have likely gotten to see more of the sights. Not necessarily the major sights, but Paris is full of little places are as historically rich as Notre Dame, and Ulmon Paris Travel Guide shows them all.
What's nice is that you don't have to have an Internet connection to use the map and see where you are.
Get descriptions of typical tourist attractions as well and places of interest off the beaten path. Get recommendations from the natives as to best places to eat, stay, or visit. You can add your own commentary and photos as well. Pinpoint your favorite places or plan your day to make the most of your time.
Lots to see!
Ulmon Paris Travel Guide even shows the Metro routes so you can see Paris on a shoestring.
And speaking of shoestrings, you get all of the basic functions of the guide for free! Even the offline map! If you're heading to Paris you'll want this guide.
Paris Travel Guide by Triposo [87 MB, runs on all iOS devices capable of running iOS 6.0 or later, Maker: Triposo Inc]
You may also want this guide too. Paris Travel Guide by Triposo is excellent just for the way its organized.
Open it and you are presented with categories of activities ranging from the typical tourist trots to nightlife and more.
Want a romantic horse drawn tour of the Eiffel Tower and surrounding area? Want a French cooking class? Want to go where the locals go for wine and food? Paris Travel Guide not only lists all that and lots more, but give you price, hours of operation, location and direction to get there so all you have to do is plan and go.
Categories galore in Triposo
It's a socially connected app too so you can get pointers from locals and other visitors.
This is a well thought out app, nicely organized so it will be very useful. You have to create an account if you want to get info from others, but if you just want to make plans then this is the app to get.
Paris Maps and Walks [64.5 MB, runs on all iOS devices capable of running iOS 6.0 or later, Maker: GPSMyCity.Com Inc]
I walk a lot. On some days I put in as much as 25 miles. So it would stand to reason that if I were to wind up in Paris again I'd likely choose to walk to the places I'd want to visit. The last time I visited my walking plans didn't work out so well. It would have been a lot better if I had Paris Map and Walks.
This is a cool app. It provides a great offline map, but the real focus is on walking tours. The app lists tours centered on subjects of interest like the Da Vinci Code where you visit places mentioned in the book. That's pretty cool.
Each tour lists distances involved and duration, and there a description of each stop on the tour complete with photos.
Get up close and intimate with walking tours
If you want turn by turn navigation to each point on the tour and other details about points of interest you'll have to get the full version, but the lite version seems adequate for the more adventurous among us.
Grab your walking shoes, an umbrella and Paris Maps and Walks and get to checking out sites the best way possible, on foot.
And that's a wrap for this week.
If you're not heading to Paris any time soon then you might enjoy these other iOS freebies. The first person shooter, Epoch 2 is free this week. Fun on an iPad! Also James Bay's Let It Go is this week's Free Single of the Week. Good tune! Check it out.