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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Quality Guide From Lonely Planet!
This must be the best of times for travellers looking for fine guidebooks to European countries! We travel to Europe for a month or more each year and pick from a range of nations, France among them. This edition of 'France' was published in March, 2013 and came out just as we finished extensive work with a range of guidebooks for this year's travels in Champagne,...
Published 20 months ago by James Ellsworth

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition is very poor
I bought the Kindle edition of this guide. I would advise not to buy. Perhaps this is the problem with any ebook Travel Guide but it is virtually impossible to find anything. There is really nothing I would call a conventional index and there is very little in the way of interactivity one would expect in a electronic travel guide. While this may be the nature of the beast...
Published 6 months ago by steve h


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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Quality Guide From Lonely Planet!, April 25, 2013
This review is from: Lonely Planet France (Travel Guide) (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This must be the best of times for travellers looking for fine guidebooks to European countries! We travel to Europe for a month or more each year and pick from a range of nations, France among them. This edition of 'France' was published in March, 2013 and came out just as we finished extensive work with a range of guidebooks for this year's travels in Champagne, Alsace, Lorraine, Burgundy and Paris. Having so much background, I selected this new guide for a Vine Voice review.

Like the new Paris city guide from Lonely Planet (that I reviewed earlier), this edition is really fresh and lively, with the 'full colour' treatment, copious and brand new general and detailed maps and the same fine pull-out map found in the new Paris edition. Any traveller who is interested in France can benefit from this guide but Lonely Planet particularly speaks to travellers in three budget categories, calculated on two factors: food and lodging. Advice falls into 100 Euros and under, basic lodging plus one midday meal; 100-200 Euros, mid-price hotel double occupancy plus prix-fixed menus at a modest brasserie or restaurant; and 200 Euros and up for 'name' hotels and gourmet meals. These categories leave no room for any incidental expenses like local travel or snacks or admissions to attractions. Local travel, train travel and car rental and supplementary food stops are on top of that so even disciplined budget travellers should plan on spending more than this guide envisions.

No guide to France can be truly comprehensive but this one is at least HUGE: 1006 pages plus pull-out map, including a large, well-organized index. The book can be started from either the front or the back(!)--publishing data, the introduction to the guide's writing team and an 84-page section on 'Understanding France' and on general travel issues like language, visas, transportation and so on are most readily found by paging in from the end of the volume. The front section begins by explaining WHY one would visit France and goes on to outline the top 15 things to see in the whole country and suggests itineraries for 5 and 10 days, focusing on Paris or on major regions like 'Burgundy and Beyond,' 'The Atlantic to the Mediterranean,' a general circuit 'Tour de France', 'Brittany to Bordeaux', 'Along the Loire Valley,' the 'South of France' and the 'French Alps.' The next section speaks to 'when' to go to each region for weather or attractions and introduces the traveller to French food specialties. (You will need to supplement this with specialist guides and web sites, including the web sites for local restaurants along your itinerary.) Unusually, what is effectively the Table of Contents is found on pages 48 and 49--just when a reader might be ready to 'get down to business' and plan things out.

Paris begins on page 50 and goes on for 115 pages, if one counts the popular side-trips to Versailles, Chartres, Vaux-le-Vicomte and the like. The remainder of the book singles out memorable cities, towns and villages and provides the typical guidebook fare of what to do, where to stay and what to eat. In this regard, the best information we found in any of our guidebooks on Besancon came from this guide. We will visit the city--a fine 'backdoor'(less-familiar) stop for Americans--and so we updated our research. My wife particularly appreciated the updated information on the tram in Reims: in service only since last year, it runs from the Champagne-Ardennes station (also the TGV stop)right into the historic city center. That was 'news we will use!' Some important local festivals or events are described and their dates are given so you can 'be there' or 'skip that' as you choose. All along the way there are street-level maps of selected city centers and overview maps of broader areas.

My usual caveat in reviewing travel guide books is to purchase more than one. Fodor's, Dorling-Kindersley and Frommer's guides each have their strengths and are bound to surface different sights, hotels and restaurants for one to consider. We take organized tours with Rick Steves and always use his guidebooks. They are strong for being sensible, compact and full of the best information on how to get around using local transportation. Persons wanting to really get into France should also purchase a Michelin Green Guide for each of the regions they plan to visit: they have the most detailed, most nearly complete presentation of places to see and local history/art history than any of the other guide books we have found.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I may not be headed for the Louvre but I do need other information., March 14, 2013
By 
Ned Middleton (British professional underwater photo-journalist & author) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Lonely Planet France (Travel Guide) (Paperback)
My work involves photographing and researching the world's major shipwrecks and other leading scuba diving sites. Whilst I may not be looking for those major historic attractions which are found in the countries I am visiting, all the other local information relevant to my trip remains vitally important. Consequently, I am just as likely to be seeking the same information as any other visitor.

Over many years I have consulted a great many books which claim to be visitor guides. Because I have neither the time nor the patience for false, misleading, out-of-date or simply inaccurate information, many of these so-called guides have ended up in the bin. Not so with the Lonely Planet country guides and this one is as good as they get.

In short; Thoroughly recommended. Just make certain you purchase the latest edition.

NM
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition is very poor, June 21, 2014
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I bought the Kindle edition of this guide. I would advise not to buy. Perhaps this is the problem with any ebook Travel Guide but it is virtually impossible to find anything. There is really nothing I would call a conventional index and there is very little in the way of interactivity one would expect in a electronic travel guide. While this may be the nature of the beast I really think if Lonely Planet is going to sell ebook guides they should put some effort into the electronic side. There are a number of (free) apps which do a better job.
If you must buy the hardcopy but not the ebook.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Comprehensive Guide, September 10, 2013
This review is from: Lonely Planet France (Travel Guide) (Paperback)
This is a hefty tome of over a thousand pages as befits a country as large and diverse as France. The first fifty or so pages cover the usual general topics such as a month by month guide, suggested itineraries and the obligatory fifteen top sites which are largely subjective, but included the obvious ones such as Mont St Michel and the Eiffel Tower.

The meat of the book is in the next 850 pages and is divided into the 19 regions of France. Generally what is covered are the main attractions within the area together with where to eat, where to stay and other relevant information. Looking at the Loire, which is an area I am familiar with, the general attractions of the area were very adequately covered and there was information on such essentials as opening times and pricing. The information on eateries was generally OK, but on occasion did seem a little out of date to me - I imagine it is asking a bit much to expect a book of this size to be totally updated for each edition. Personally I am not normally too interested in the accommodation data as I find sites such as Tripadvisor give much more accurate and timely information than a guide such as this.

Towards the end there is quite a lot of general information including the history of France, architecture and a very useful survival guide, which has been a recent and welcome addition to Lonely Planet guides. Overall I found this to be a very comprehensive guides, and whilst if you are visiting Paris you may find a specific guide covering the city more helpful, this will contain everything you need for a trip to France.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not suitable for an eReader, June 22, 2014
Buy the hard book! As a travel guide the Kindle version is impossible to navigate and so frustrating to use. I gave up trying to use it on our trip and kept referring to various articles on the internet instead when I could get an internet connection. Not easy in hotels in France. I thought that having a copy on my iPad would be useful instead of the heavy book, also the Kindle version is about half the price. Well, it was a waste of money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy the Kindle version, May 15, 2014
By 
Chalky (South West France) - See all my reviews
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Other people said it and I ignored them; they were right: this may be a good guide but trying to find anything in the Kindle version is a nightmare. It needs an alphabetical hyperlinked index.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Travelling around France, October 2, 2013
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This review is from: Lonely Planet France (Travel Guide) (Paperback)
This is a comprehensive guide on what to see and do throughout France with a breakdown into each region. this has suggestions for all budget allowances. Great guide to own for reference value. Provides many suggestions on places to see and travel routes to take.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction to France, August 9, 2013
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This review is from: Lonely Planet France (Travel Guide) (Paperback)
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Lonely Planet has a reputation of writing high quality travel guides, and this book is no exception. The book is a pleasure to read, with excellent photographs and good descriptions. The book also includes 3-D plans of iconic sights, such as Notre Dame and Mont St-Michel. It includes also includes several useful itineraries. A lengthy book, it should provide much valuable information for travelers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good overview of sites in France, November 24, 2014
By 
Craig MACKINNON (Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lonely Planet France (Travel Guide) (Paperback)
Prior to a trip to France for an extended stay (9 months), my family purchased or were given a number of guidebooks. Of those guidebooks, I think my favourite is this one. Although France is not a large country - the state of Texas or the province of Ontario are the same size - it is a very dense one. There are prehistoric sites in Brittany and the Dorgogne; Roman sites through Provence and Languedoc; Medieval castles, villages, and ruins everywhere; WWI and WWII battlefields in the east and Normandy, respectively; mountains and gorges; and thousands of wineries. No guide book can present all of this in a comprehensive manner (hence the plethora of regional guides!). However, if you are traveling through France, or looking for an overview in order to decide where to best spend time, this is a great starting point.

It is not a small book, and therefore is probably not particularly portable - at 1000 pages you're not putting it in your pocket! However, it's great to keep in the car, for example. It has a tear-out map of Paris, which we've made use of, and numerous maps within the text - this is most welcome, and is my most common complaint in travel guides. The number of maps is still less than I'd l like, but better than most. There is a lot of useful general information as well - emergency numbers, tips on how to find doctors or pharmacies (chemists), weather patterns, etc.

The meat of the guide is, of course, the descriptions of sites, hotels, and restaurants. These are presented in what I would call a "linear" fashion - if you were driving through a region, they appear in the order you'd come to the site/city. This is very useful for planning itineraries, perhaps not so useful if you're randomly trying to find something to do that day. Similarly, it is not as easy to refer to as some guides.

To sum up, this is perhaps the first guide to pick up if you are thinking about a trip to France. It's also a good first guide to read if you are looking for ideas of things that would be interesting to see. Once you've chosen a specific region or city to visit, especially if you'll be spending more than a few days there, you'll want to supplement it with a regional guidebook.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great travel book, August 14, 2013
This review is from: Lonely Planet France (Travel Guide) (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a huge book. It is 1008 pages long! While it is too big and heavy to take with you everywhere you go, it is certainly something you will want to take with you on our trip... just leave it in your hotel room while you are out and about. There is a pull-out map (of Paris)that you can detach and keep with you.

This book covers all the regions of France. It is very comprehensive and includes tons of information about restaurants, hotels, the sites, entertainment, etc. There are lots of maps throughout this book, but unlike most travel books, this book does not contain many pictures.

Overall, this is a great guide and will make your trip easier.
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Lonely Planet France (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet France (Travel Guide) by Stuart Butler (Paperback - March 1, 2013)
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