Seven essential apps hikers must have in France

From identifying the local flora and fauna, to ensuring you know your route, we highlight six top apps for hikers taking to French trails this spring

INPN Espèces app, upload images of plants and wildlife and use the Geocaching app to turn walks into treasure hunts
The INPN Espèces app and the Geocaching app
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As spring gets underway and the warmer weather sets in, hikers are heading back onto the trails in droves – and don’t be surprised to see a smartphone among their kit.

There exist plenty of apps claiming to improve a walker’s experience of the great outdoors. From animal and plant identification to route planning, here are just a few…

INPN Espèces (free) 

INPN Espèces app, upload images of plants and wildlife
INPN Espèces app

Identify species and become a citizen scientist by taking pictures of the animals, plants and mushrooms you see in the wild and uploading them to this app. If your picture is used in a study, you will be notified. It is in French but should not be too difficult to use. 

Visorando (free)

This app lets you find nearby hikes shared by other users – or upload your own. It has been downloaded over five million times and, while free to use, a premium version is also available. 

Read more: Volunteers begin clearing rural footpaths around France: can you help?

BirdNET (free) 

Identify birds by recording their sounds. It is in French but intuitive to use and the names can be displayed in English by changing the settings.

Read more: You will soon have to keep dog on lead if walking in forest in France

PlantNet (free) 

Take a photo of a plant and let the app identify it for you and give more details. This app is available in English.

Read more: Spring into plant swap season and visit a local French ‘TrocPlantes’

PeakFinder (to buy)

Take a photo and the app will show you the name of each mountain peak around you, even offline. It also lets you see the view from another mountain and the trajectory of the sun or moon. It is available for a one-time €4.99 purchase and can be in English. 

Use the Geocaching app to turn walks into treasure hunts
Geocaching app

Geocaching (free)

If you want to turn your hikes into treasure hunts, try geocaching. Millions of ‘geocaches’ are hidden worldwide. On the app, find the location of one near you and hike to it. Once you have found it, you can open it, sign the logbook and exchange some trinkets. You can even hide your own geocache. 

SityTrail (free)

A reader wrote in to recommend SityTrail, an app to record or plan your hikes that includes IGN and aerial photos of trails. There is a premium version with more features if you want to pay extra.