I’ve told you before about how I’m a huge fan of Rick Steves’. He provides so much free information, that you can actually go to Europe on your own and have a fantastic experience.
Today I want to cover one of his most interesting cultural travel products: His iPhone apps which I find really neat, very well organized and with amazing graphics and resources.
Think of them like a mini version of the information he provides in his guidebooks, podcasts and tv shows.
And reviewing his Historic Paris Walk app will be a good indication of what his other apps are like.
Rick Steves iPhone app, the basics
Rick Steves‘ iPhone apps are basically self-conducted walking tours, aided by text, audio, video and images.
The app will lead you systematically and in order through a series of sights, designed by Steves to make sense in the narration.
Next, as is common for all of Rick’s apps, you find your dashboard, where you can see a general map of the tour and the compass at the bottom which by default shows you a camera icon representing the sites:
The compass slides down if you’d like to see more of the map
The pinching and un-pinching Apple gesture will enlarge the map, providing you with even more detail.
Sleeping, eating and peeing ;-)
Rotating the compass will show you more basic things around the walk: Recommended hotels, recommended restaurants, and available restrooms that you can use.
Rotate to the “guy in bed” icon to see the recommended hotels near the sites of the walk:
Tapping on a blue dot will pop the name of the recommended hotel and tapping on the arrow to the right, will show you a small review of the hotel and the contact details.
The same with restrooms:
And last but not least, the nearby recommended restaurants and cafés with the little plate and cutlery icon.
Every time you rotate the compass, the app will leave you in the last view in that category with the last zoom factor.
Summaries, the Info button
Back on the dashboard, clicking the Info button will provide you with some key information:
The Cost & Hours tab provides you information about each of the stops during the tour including the hours it opens, how much is the entrance fee, if there are available guides, etc.
The Length of This Walk tab will tell you the time you need to allocate to complete the walking tour in its entirety.
In the case of the Historic Paris Walk tour, there is a tab for the Paris Museum Pass which is a museum card with lots of discounts and benefits in Paris. Several of the sites in the tour are included in it.
In the Paris Through History tab find a brief timeline of Parisian history, that will completely help you get in context.
And finally the Tour Help tab will give you all the instructions to go through the app.
The stops of the tour
Back on the dashboard, you can click the button with a list icon on it, no reveal all the stops of the tour in the order Rick has laid them out for you.
Start with the number 1 and move from there. I’ve gone through these tours and I can tell you that the proposed order does make a lot of sense and helps to understand the history better.
Tap on the first item on the list to start the tour.
Or tap on the number 1 on your dashboard and then the arrow on the right.
Once inside each stop, there are several things you can do with the content:
You can tap the small megaphone icon to start the audio, which you can control by sliding down the blue marker at the top or you can choose to watch a short video that will get you acquainted with the place.
The small Info tab on the right bottom corner will help you reach more information easily.
Some of the most notable sites are…
- Notre Dame.
- Deportation Memorial.
- Medieval Paris.
- Shakespeare and CO.
- Pont Neuf.
If you’re thinking about buying any of these apps, go ahead!
Though they don’t go into as much detail as some of us nerds would like, they do provide a lot of interesting content and a fantastic and organized way of enjoying a great Parisian afternoon.
And you know, four dollars is really a steal for each of these beautifully designed apps.
Once downloaded the apps are self-contained, so you don’t need to have an internet connection for them to work!
Plus I really appreciate how the maps work, they’re quite easier to understand than most city maps and the graphics, they’re awesome!
Other apps by Rick Steves
Rick Steves’ Louvre Tour
Rick Steves’ St. Peter’s Basilica Tour
Rick Steves’ Orsay Museum Tour
Rick Steves’ Versailles
Rick Steves’ Ancient Rome Tour
Have you ever used any of these apps? Share your experience in the comments field below!
Or let us know if you think the apps are missing something important!
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