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Lonely Planet Discover France (Full Color Country Travel Guide) Paperback – April 1, 2010
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Almost useless for the trip we are planning
Paris & Day Trips
Including the Louvre, Versailles, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysees and nearby Disneyland Paris
Champagne & the Northeast
Wine tasting, cathedrals and Verdun (with the cemetary for WW1 soldiers)
Brittany & Normandy
Mont St-Michel, islands and the historic beaches of Normandy with WW2 memorials
The Loire and Central France
the Grottte de Lascaux, Burgundy Wine Road, more chateaus
Lyon & the French Alps
gourmet food, outdoor sports with skiing, hiking and mountain fun
The South of France
outdoor markets, the French Riviera, Cannes and roaman provincial towns and Monaco
Bordeaux & the Southwest
a Dune Du Pilat (a sand dune!), Cognac, French Basque tradition and Lourdes
The book gives good information, tips and insight including examples of exchange rates, telephone codes, business hours (stores often close for two hours for lunch and many places are closed on Sundays and Mondays), architecture, art & literature, films, cuisine, wine and some basic French phrases. The travelers tips for crime and special information for female travelers, gay and lesbian travelers and persons with disabilities are especially helpful sections, along with insight of the French people. The focus in this book is mainly on wine, art, food and travel options (including biking, trains, car rentals). A great deal of time is devoted to museums, cathedrals and food selections. Lodging has a strong local bed & breakfast emphasis with some nightlife options included. Surprisingly, I didn't find this book that fun to read, since I don't care for gourmet food, wine and am not an art lover. I would have liked to have seen some quirkly options for alternate selections. There wasn't much information on Disneyland Paris. The section I did like the most was Paris and the day options. I would recommend this book for its well organized overview of France.
If you are a serious, experienced traveler who can research and who likes to spend time understanding a culture, its art and its people then use this guide as a quick, reference to practical, logistical information and move elsewhere. A scant ten pages in the back mention history with pretty pictures and an entry on "Sarkosis"...("In 2008 a psychiatrist in Paris identified people's unhealthy obsession condition with Sarkosy...") as large or larger than most other entries, including WWII, being something of a theme park now. I am not being altogether cynical here; there actually is a Communist theme park in former East Germany.
The guide divides into regions. The internal organization is the easiest and most efficient I have seen. Just do not let it make you think you can rush through more than one, or better, part of one.