Fotopedia Paris sucks you in and won't let go

Faith Merino · April 6, 2011 · Short URL:

4000 pictures of Parisian perfection will make you forget you have a life to live

I love Fotopedia apps but I hate how much time I burn staring at their pretty pictures. Someday, someone will come up with a way to watch picture slideshows while doing something productive, like driving or doing taxes.

Following up on its last three successful apps, Fotopedia on Wednesday released its newest addition: Fotopedia Paris. If you've never sat and stared at your phone for hours watching pictures slide by, you will now (it's a great escape from the bone grinding machine called daily life). The app features a collection of more than 4,000 exquisite photos of Paris, covering everything from art, castles, architecture, and historic buildings, to cafés, shopping, and street life.

Users have a number of options for exploring Paris, from sitting back and enjoying a slideshow of random photos to building your own tour from your favorite photos. The photos come with text descriptions and users can change photos simply by shaking their device.

There are also several “excursions” that you can take—just as you would if you were really a tourist in Paris, such as strolling around Montmarte or getting an eyeful of Versailles. The app also includes a few tourist hotspots, such as the graves of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde, the catacombs, and a first century Gallo-Roman amphitheater. The pictures are collected from thousands of photographers around the world, so the photos represent an array of different perspectives and viewpoints.

“We created this app for the people who dream of Paris. It is a fun way to discover and explore the city without leaving your home,” said Jean-Marie Hullot, CEO, Fotopedia, in a prepared statement. “It is not a travel guide, it is an app to explore, learn and get inspired. Others may help you find where to stay, eat or spend money; the question we answer is: what would you like to see? If Paris evokes wonder, curiosity or nostalgia in you, this app will most likely satisfy and surprise you at the same time.”

The last time I spoke with Fotopedia’s VP of global business, Christophe Daligault, the company was gearing up to release its first paid app: National Parks, featuring 3,000 photos from professional photographer Quang-Tuan Luong, who snapped the photos over the course of ten years as he visited each of the 50 U.S. national parks (while carrying 50 pounds of camera equipment on his back).

Coincidentally, we both happened to be in Paris for LeWeb’10, and the company’s first app—the one that put it on the map—Heritage, had just been inducted into the App Hall of Fame (only 50 apps have achieved this status). One might notice that all of Fotopedia’s apps are made exclusively for iOS devices, and Daligault explained to me that Fotopedia’s apps are infused with a lot of “Apple DNA.” This makes sense, considering the fact that CEO Jean-Marie Hullot is, himself, the former CTO of Apple.

Since I last checked in with Fotopedia, the company has reached some major milestones. The suite of apps has seen some two million downloads to date and 600,000 unique visitors each month. And the apps aren’t meant to get users in and out and on their way. These are deeply engaging apps, and the average user spends 16-25 minutes per month in the apps. But I actually have a hard time believing that. I think I spent a good 20 minutes staring at Fotopedia Paris this afternoon. And I’ll probably do the same thing tomorrow while I’m waiting in the dentist’s office for my appointment, and then again when my mother calls me to tell me that I’m not getting any younger and need to get married, and then again when my calendar alerts remind me that it’s time to pay the bills.  


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