The Best Phone Apps for Nice

Here are the 20 essential phone apps to put Nice at your fingertips… and they’re all FREE!

iPhone screen with best apps for NiceYour own personal translator:  The free Google Translate App blows my mind: you can  speak the phrase in English, and in 1 second it not only writes the equivalent phrase in French, but you push a button and your phone actually says it in a sexy French voice!  It’s also very helpful for figuring out French menus.

Google Maps is the best for real-time bus/tram/train times in English.  Just type in where you’re going, then click Directions, then the icon for public transport.  Just below the icons you can click on ‘Depart at…’ to see timing for later, like an early tram to the airport for instance.

Offline maps:  Did you know you can use Google Maps offline when you have no wifi?  On either iPhone or Android, just click the little person icon on the top right, then choose off-line maps, then choose ‘local’ or ‘select your own’.  Once the map downloads, you can search anything (the closest ATM, restaurants, supermarket, shops, cafes, pharmacies…), and you can even get directions offline with that map!

Toilet Finder app logo Toilet Finder: Since French restaurants and bars won’t let you just pop in to use the facilities without buying something, this is one of the handiest apps to have!  This app quickly directs you the closest public WC, tells you if it’s free or not, and all are user-rated!


To help you with a different pressing need, download WifiMapLite, which will store the location of the WiFi hotspots on your phone so that you can also find them when you don’t have internet access.  The first time you use it, it will try to get you to upgrade, but just skip that and stay with the lite version. Here’s more on finding free wifi in Nice.

Calling landlines:  It might seem kind of retro, but the Skype app is still the absolute best for calling landlines anywhere in the world for pennies.  This is especially helpful if you want to make local restaurant reservations, need to call a shop, or call your hotel.  Also the best for calling 800 numbers (not free from Europe, but free if you go through Skype!) if you need to rebook a flight or call your bank to unblock your credit card…

Museum audioguides:  Most museums in Nice don’t have audioguides, but the few that do have now gone to apps.  Download them ahead of time for the Matisse Museum, Villa Massena, and others, including the Villa Rothschild.  (The Chagall Museum is only by QR codes).  Don’t forget to bring your earbuds!

Best Apps for Getting Around

Tram/Bus Tickets:  Now that Nice has moved away from paper tickets and now uses a rechargeable card (Le Carte), the easiest way to recharge it with more trips is by using the Lignes d’Azur Tickets app.  Once you add in your Le Carte number and attach it to a credit card, you can top up your transit card on the fly.  The app looks like the regular Lignes d’Azur app but with a T, and it works really well.   And if you have an Android phone, your ‘La Carte‘ can be IN your phone, so you can have your virtual card before you even arrive and can avoid the airport tourist tram scam!

Tram/Bus Schedules: Nice shares all transit info by open-source to encourage app development, so you can get the same up-to-the-minute info using Google Maps, Zou, Ligne d’Azur, Moovit, Transit App, Zenbus, and others.  But I think Google Maps is the best tool overall to get a wide variety of  up-to-the-minute times, route choices, and easy directions, and it even works offline (see top of page).  Plus you can see street views to help recognize what you are looking for.

Electric Share Bikes in Nice:  Download the Lime and/or Pony Apps (in English) which quickly shows you the closest share-bike station, which bikes are available an with how much battery charge, and then you can reserve for free and have 10 minutes to get there.  The whole process is quick and super easy.  Here’s a quick guide to how to use ’em and the difference between Lime and Pony.

French Train Times:  The best train app is TrainLine EU, where you can get timing and prices for all trains in English, and even easily buy full fare tickets online.  In the shorter term, the Ma Gare SNCF App shows you the current big board at your train station, so you can see when the next train is, or if your train is running late.  Just choose your train station, then click ‘schedules’.   For buying train discount passes, the SNCF App is easier than going to the train station, but it is in half-French half-English, so see my cheap train passes page to get walked through the process.

Mountain Train Audioguide App:  If you are going to take the Train des Pignes to the mountains, download the free Chemin de Fer de Provence App for a guided tour (in English) along the train route, which will really enrich the voyage.

Italian Train Times:  The TrenItalia App (in English!) gives you flexibility for coming back from market day in Ventimiglia or Sanremo, especially since Italian trains are almost always late, you can now know this before you get to the train station.

Best GPS App:  For driving in France with clear driving instructions and current road conditions, the best GPS by far is the free France-focused Waze App… It’s better than Google, Mappy, and even your in-car GPS because everyone here uses it and signals traffic conditions, road work, detours, accidents, speed traps, etc.

Parking in Nice can be challenging, so get the free Parkopedia App not only finds the closest public parking lot, but gives you the rates and how full they are.


And as gas stations have all but disappeared from downtown Nice, the free Essence Pas Chere App not only shows you where to find the closest filling station but lets you compare prices to find the best deal.


Uber app logoIf you don’t have the Uber  already, you should definitely get it before travelling.  In a pinch Uber can be a lifesaver: It can find you no matter where you are 24/7, it’s in English, and you don’t need any cash.  And if you click here you’ll save 10€ on each of your first 5 rides.

The Most Important App of All…


Peace of mind in an app:  Petty crime is high in Nice, especially during the summer, and if, God forbid, you should get pick-pocketed or purse-snatched, or leave your phone on a taxi or bus, you will be SO happy that you got the free Find my iPhone App.  It has given me instant calm in the midst of panic on numerous occasions.  For other smartphones, Google’s Android Device Manager App will do the same thing.

…And a very Handy Non-App

Best of Nice doesn’t have an app, but you can easily save this site to your homepage for easy access: when you’re on this site, just click the ‘share’ icon at the bottom of your phone screen, then choose ‘Add to Home Screen’.

Related Phone and Staying Connected Pages:

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