Tech-savvy entrepreneurs in France are offering apps to help visitors get the most out of Paris and many other cities.
Started by Benjamin and Nina Forlani, Insidr is a digital concierge that provides visitors with an LG 4G smartphone (29 euros for a weekend, 45 euros for a week or 6 euros a day for longer stays). It has international and local calling and texting capabilities, and acts as a Wi-Fi hot spot for a traveler's devices. It features curated Google Maps for areas around the Louvre and the Champs 'c9lys`es.
But perhaps the most valuable feature is the 50 or more Angel Insidrs listed as contacts in the WhatsApp application. These Parisians will offer tips whenever they are messaged ” be it what bars are open in the Marais on a Sunday or where to get dim sum in Belleville.
The phone is also preloaded with apps like the Oanda currency converter, Google Translate, Citymapper and the Paris tour startups MeeTrip and Tod (Trip on Demand). Founded by Ralph Guyot-Jeannin, MeeTrip allows visitors to connect with one of 10,000 guides in any of 1,500 cities worldwide; the guide arrives within 30 minutes when booked via the app on Google Play and iTunes. Tod provides a similar service, but offers a wider range of activities, like bike rides. It is available only in France.
Pretty Streets, an app created by Fabrice Gibelin and Benoit Germond, directs users to the most visually appealing blocks based on geotagged, user-generated photos taken in more than 40 cities.