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Gascony, the Pyrenees & Toulouse, 5th (Country & Regional Guides - Cadogan) Paperback – July 1, 2007
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‘On the engaging side of quirky, with good advice’ – The Sunday Times (UK)
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Here is an example: On page 274, the authors write an entire *long* paragraph on the historical minutiae of Arreau. At the end of the paragraph (on page 275), it says, "The diminutive Chateau des Nestes contains the tourist office and an intriguing Musee des Cagots." That's it. There is nothing more to explain what is inside the museum or why it is intriguing. The entire book is like this. Immediately following this sentence, of course, there are 5.5 lines on a church... because this author apparently feels no need to add any detail for anything other than churches and history and a few chateaux. Immediately following that paragraph, there is another entire paragraph on yet another church. The last paragraph on the page is all about some other churches. I kid you not.
This book is 400 pages long. 400 pages of church after church after church. The book really irritated me and each chapter wasted a lot of time on minutiae that was not of interest to me. I seriously have never read a travel guide this obsessed with one particular type of attraction. It's the worst travel guide I've ever read. My husband is reading the Michelin Guide for The Pyrenees Roussillon and he is finding that book helpful.
Overall, if you are passionately interested in written descriptions of the architectural details of old churches... or minute historical details of places you may or may not see (but that add hours of reading time), you might find this book interesting (or you might not). If you can only take so many churches before you want to stab yourself in the head, buy a different book.
A pro and con of the book is the emphasis on historical detail (do you know Henri IV's favorite wine or the ingredients for a cassoulet?).
However, of six books purchased for a recent trip, this book had the most 'nuggets' and useful recommendations.
For example, in the section on Pau, a sidebar discusses Jurancon wine growers in the nearby town of Monein. Of these, one is indeed very traditional, and the other had the cited vintner (Henri Ramonteu) in the tasting room.
This knowledge may be normal to folks in South West France, but is not discussed in other guidebooks such as the Rough Guide.