Top critical review
38 people found this helpful
Fun to read, but question the recommendations
on February 10, 2004
Any "best of" list is bound to raise the hackles of fans and experts. The Doris Kindersley "Top 10" series books are no exception.
I love books about France, especially about Paris and Provence. I've visited the two areas frequently over the last few years, so I feel a bit qualified to comment on the "Top 10 Paris" and "Top 10 Provence". Of the two the former is the more useful book.
First the similarities: fun to read, nice price point, nice photos, fits well in the hand.
If you're an infrequent visitor to Paris, the Top 10 book is helpful. The city maps and metro map are handy and useful. (Although I strongly recommend you also get the Michelin Paris Plan #14.) It's useful in recommending museums, parks, arrondisement highlights, etc.
However, don't use this book for hotels or restaurants. Its weakness in hotels is excusable. How can one possibly pick Top 10 hotels in Paris, or in any part of Paris?
Its failing in picking Top 10 restaurants is less excusable, and the reason I dropped the book down from 4 stars to 3. I go to Paris to eat. I have some credibility in this area (eating, if not reviews restaurants) and I found their choices disturbing and puzzling. The Top 10 restaurant list would be laughable, were it not so sad and infuriating.
Even so, I`d recommend the book. It's fun, you'll find it helpful.
I don't recommend "Top 10 Provence". It seems to be a collection of clichés gathered from other guide books. I wonder if the authors have any real experience in Provence. Almost all of the recommendations are predictable - and boring. I found little that matched my experience in Provence (except for the inclusion of Vaison-la-Romaine).
The restaurant recommendations for every place I was familiar with were bad to horrible. The lists of places to visit were equally puzzling.
Promise me one thing: if you do buy this book, immediately go to the wine section, rip out the pages, and burn them without reading them.
I give this one star for photos and price point.