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France: Instructions for Use* The Practical, On-site Assistant for the Enthusiastic (Even Experienced) Traveler (Instructions for Use Travel Series) Paperback – January 1, 2008
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From the Publisher
"France: Instructions for Use [is] practical, it's fun, it's immensely useful. Another home run in this expanding series that no traveler should leave home without!"--Sally Watkins, Top 125 Travel Super Agent, 2004-2007
"Wow, I am impressed with what you have accomplished in a thin volume."--David Carpita, Seasons of Provence Cooking School and Mas de Cornud Country Inn
"Incredibly informative, with first-hand, spot-on knowledge from experienced travelers who know their readers. A must-read before coming to France and the City of Light, and a must-have-on-hand during your travels." --Nichole Buscher, Ciao Bella Custom Tours
"As a French-born woman, I am really impressed by the way you describe the attitude and spirit of French people, so precise, and so true! I read nothing that I could contradict--unless with a big mauvaise foi."--Pauline Descamps, ContextParis.com
"France, Instructions for Use is the perfect pocket-sized `how-to' guide, with everything you need to have an authentic travel experience."--Pauline Kenny, Slow Travel, Slowtrav.com
About the Author
"A short hop across the Channel; a massive cultural leap," is how Alison Culliford describes her arrival in France when, having fallen under its spell since childhood and working 12 years as a London-based journalist and travel writer, Time Out Paris gave her the chance to relocate there for good 2001. Alison penned Paris Revisited (Chrysalis Books, 2002) and, when Time Out closed its Paris office in 2004, followed with Pulse Guides' Paris Night + Day for the hip American traveler--all the while freelancing for the British press and simultaneously acquiring a degree in couture.
Nan McElroy was working as an Avid film and video editor when she first traveled to Italy in 1995. She was astounded by the country as a whole, as are most people, and managed to return for an extended period during the Atlanta Olympics study the language. She continued to notice the lack of access to and understanding of the most fundamental information concerning how Italy functioned (where do you buy a pair of scissors?)...the kind that's critical to any traveler who has so little time. The first book in the series, Italy: Instructions for Use, found its niche, and now Nan, along with other collaborators and co-writers, continues to pursue the same mission: to compile valuable, practical information that regular guidebooks are unable to include, and to make that information available as directly, clearly, and economically as possible. Nan and her co-authors look forward to helping make your French (and soon Spanish and German, too) sojourn a smooth, informed, and joyful one.
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The same as when operating a new appliance, it always helps to have instructions and this book is written by two women who have experienced Europe as new travelers and experienced natives. Alison Culliford has loved France since she was a child and had traveled there many times before settling in Paris in 2001. As a resident, she is a wealth of information not only on the basics travelers need but on the people themselves who can be tricky at best. French culture is very complex and often the French have little patience for the ignorant or uneducated. Nan McElroy is a frequent traveler in Europe and used her experience on writing Italy: Instructions for Use to help with this book.
The book starts with the general and moves on to a breakdown of all the things a traveler will need to know to survive and thrive. As a American often in France, I enjoyed the brief section on pronunciation. I've read many of them and they are usually dull enough to make them unbearable. Ms. Culliford brings into it her own experience and funny stories that cuts through the drudgery.
We quickly move into the meat of the book and the information is vital. As a traveler, we often don't realize the different situations we will encounter until we are ankle deep in trouble. This book is one of the most complete guides I have found and I have read many.
While most books center on culture, this book takes the time to discuss many often forgotten basics. For example, there is a very complete section on driving and French roads. Many tourists venture out on their own and this book covers the facts of renting a car, getting gas, and reading the French maps.
All the other issues needed are in there, but it includes a section on basic manners while among the French. Americans don't understand that they are being rude, but they are. For example, Americans don't realize the French custom of greeting people when they enter a store or shop and therefore can seem standoffish. We neglect to notice that the French speak quietly in public and own over-friendly manners offend rather than endear.
French: Instruction for Use is the perfect book to read before leaving, to study on the plane, and to keep into your backpack as you travel through France. Even though I live part time in France, I learned a lot and plan to keep this perfectly sized book handy