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Fodor's Paris 2020 (Full-color Travel Guide) Paperback – Illustrated, October 29, 2019
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“The Fodor’s guides are notable for their ratings of sights, restaurants, shops, accommodations and attractions.” – Chicago Tribune
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About the Author
- Publisher : Fodor's Travel; 34th edition (October 29, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1640971750
- ISBN-13 : 978-1640971752
- Item Weight : 13.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.75 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #82,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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When I picked up this guide, I have to admit to having expectations that it would not do a lot for us, to the extent that we have seen the larger more touristed sights, and are not interested in staying in a mainstream hotel chain. That said I was pleasantly surprised. This is not your mother's Fodors ;) Since I last used it, the guide has been thoroughly refreshed, slimmed down (so it is easier to carry) and is a bit edgier. I would not say it is the best guide for college students, but for those who want to wander, to see something more than the classic tourist sights, it has a good deal more to offer. It is arranged around neighborhood, with a general description of each to orient you, directions on how to get there and, of course, the notable sights, but more off the beaten track experiences are included as well, and a guide to interesting shops, to include small artisan boutiques. There are reviews of a small number of hotels in every price range in each section, as you would expect from Fodors, but I was very happy to find a pointer to renting apartments as well. Fodors has been around for a while and thoroughly covers all the essentials, getting around, safety, currency exchange, a brief phrase book, important contact numbers and a small section on etiquette (tipping, etc.) While not a picture book, there are some tantalizing photos, and where it really shines, in my opinions, very useful maps, both for specific areas of the city and a large, detailed pull out map which includes metro routes. They also offer several itineraries organized both my time (number of days) and theme (art, churches, epicurian, etc.). There is a little bit of history for each of the sights they review. For many this will be enough that they can do self-guided tours and forgo the tour busses and other paid tours. Others may want to do some more reading. The guide is certainly enough to get you oriented, at least sketch out a plan, and help you find you way to wherever you want to go within the city. I think it is a great little guide, and compact enough to carry, which the old Fodors guides really were not. I think this provides what most people would need to get around, find the experiences they are interested in as well as needed services, and even souveniers to suit all tastes. (I devoted almost an entire day on our last trip trecking across the city to what had been described as the world's best chocolate shop). There are poiters for people with many different tastes. Paris offers something for everyone and I think this guide is a good starting point for personal exploration.
The Fodor's guide is laid out differently than previous Fodors travel guides I've used from previous years. I think they're trying to take a page out of Lonely Planet's guides -- give a nice intro to Paris with a few top sites and move on. But there's only 1 suggested itinerary (disappointing) and then jumps immediately into travel tips with airports, French language tips, safety, etc. (this used to be located at the back of the book). You'll eventually find about ten chapters of the main regions, or "arrondissements" of the City of Light. Each chapter has its own section about sites, hotels, restaurants, and such rather than a big chapter on each of these items. I think I prefer them separate, for example, so you can figure out what section of the city you want to stay in without reading every chapter, but to each his own. And lastly, there's a pullout guide with a subway map.
The first question I asked to see if the book was up to date -- is there info on the Notre Dame fire? Yes, but minimal. Perhaps not surprising because at this point there's no visitor services inside. There are a couple chapters with "sidebars" or features -- the Louvre and Versailles. Unlike some guidebooks, this one is full color with photos included throughout. I was hoping for a dedicated section on wine, alas, wineries are not generally in Paris proper. It's really just a survey of the many sites there are to visit in Paris, but just a small amount of culture thrown in.
Overall, this book is missing more of the cultural or backpacker aspect of Paris. Even the hotel and restaurant reviews seem lacking and disorganized. There's no great historical information on Paris or the French. I'd suggest looking at Lonely Planet for an alternate perspective or perhaps even at Fodor's France for a better balanced perspective, but an American tourist is still unlikely to get lost in Paris using this guide and will still have plenty of fun.
This book is terrific. It's such a well thought out and planned guide to Paris that you could probably read over it, pack your bags, and head to Paris and be all set. Even if you aren't able to go to Paris but want to feel like you are there, feel like you are going, want to dream of going, or whatever it is you might want to do, this book may be all that you will need.
Highly recommended for all of those types mentioned above. Great travel guide!