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Rick Steves' Paris 2014 Paperback – October 1, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 897 customer reviews

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About the Author

Rick Steves has spent 100 days every year since 1973 exploring Europe. Rick produces a public television series (Rick Steves' Europe), a public radio show (Travel with Rick Steves), and an app and podcast (Rick Steves Audio Europe); writes a bestselling series of guidebooks and a nationally syndicated newspaper column; organizes guided tours that take thousands of travelers to Europe annually; and offers an information-packed website (RickSteves.com). With the help of his hardworking staff of 80 at Europe Through the Back Door—in Edmonds, Washington, just north of Seattle—Rick's mission is to make European travel fun, affordable, and culturally broadening for Americans.

Steve Smith manages tour planning for Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door and has been researching guidebooks with Rick for two decades. Fluent in French, he's lived in France on several occasions, starting when he was seven, and has traveled there annually since 1986. Steve's wife, who is an expert on French cuisine and wine, provides invaluable contributions to his books, as do his two children.

Gene Openshaw is a writer, composer, tour guide, and lecturer on art and history. Specializing in writing walking tours of Europe's cultural sights, Gene has coauthored 10 of Rick's books and contributes to Rick's public television series. As a composer, Gene has written a full-length opera (Matter), a violin sonata, and dozens of songs. He lives near Seattle with his daughter, and roots for the Mariners in good times and bad.
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Product Details

  • Series: Rick Steves
  • Paperback: 764 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing; 2014 Edition edition (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612386636
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612386638
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 4.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (897 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I have used both the 1999 and 2000 editions of this excellent guide, and can only say that it is the best of the lot, closely followed by the Lonely Planet and DK Eyewitness guides.
What makes Steves' guides so useful is that he addresses himself to Americans who are not used to foreign travel with the principal goal of eliminating their fear by helping to get their feet wet. To this end, his guides are more PRESCRIPTIVE than DESCRIPTIVE.
For a good DESCRIPTIVE guide, I would turn to another guide such as Lonely Planet or Rough Guide, supplemented, perhaps, by Rachel Kaplan's excellent "Little-Known Museums In and Around Paris."
A PRESCRIPTIVE guide like this will urge that you avoid the Madeleine, Opera Garnier, and Pantheon because they aren't worth it -- and don't bother with the Bastille, because it was torn down over 200 years ago. Steves concentrates on accommodations and restaurants in only three parts of Paris: Rue Cler (near the Eiffel Tower), the Marais, and the Rue Mouffetard area. That saves perhaps a hundred pages and makes the book more compact and easy to carry during a trip.
One of the strong points of the book is the merging of material from Steves' useful "Mona Winks" art guide into his Paris book. "Mona Winks" shows how you can visit the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, the Cluny Museum (highly recommended), and Versailles without killing yourself. For the Louvre, as an example, he concentrates how you can devote your attention to parts of the Sully and Denon wings and see the key works in about 2-3 hours. (Okay, if you're a purist, don't flame me: You and I would, of course, devote more time -- but that's not the issue here.
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Format: Paperback
I say just about perfect because a few additions would make this the only guidebook you will ever need for Paris. As a recently relocated American expat in London, my wife and I just took our first weekend trip to Paris (by train) with this book and the Fodor's Gold guide. If you like to walk, the walking tours are superb, Rick Steve's commentary, history, directions, anecdotes, and humor are all excellent. His guided tours of museums, churches, and other sites are all very interesting. The book also includes short trips outside the city, such as Versailles. I anticipate using this book many more times (you can only see so much in a weekend), and to make it perfect I would implore the editors to add a Paris Metro/RER map and a proper map of the city (the only maps in this edition are localized hand-drawn maps for each walk, making it difficult to guage the overall scale of the city and where things are located in relation to each other). These were the only two things that were invaluable in the Fodor's guide. Certainly it's easy enough to pick those up in the city, but I have always found it more convenient to study maps ahead of time, and have them all in one place. Overall, however, this is the one guidebook to Paris that no visitor to the city should be without.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Recently went to Paris for the first time and we only had 3 days. Read the Pocket Paris guide prior to the trip and with a bit of planning was able to see: Notre Dame, St. Chapelle, Arc de Triomphe, Versailles (all of it!), Louvre, d'Orsey, Tuileries Gardens, Eiffel Tower... plus many cafe's and shops. I downloaded the Audio for Paris - the Paris Cafe podcast was great. The pocket guide was the perfect size, I referenced it (and the maps) often. I highly recommend this guide for any first timer, his tips are helpful - metro info, museum passes, how to avoid lines and even how to be respectful to the french people - saying Bonjour really worked! The walking tours are great and his commentary is informative and even had us laughing a few times. For any future European trips I take, there WILL be a Rick Steve's guide in my bag!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rick Steves is one of the most popular series of guides to travel. We were in Paris for 4 days this summer, and used the book as a quick reference guide. The organization of the book is much like the other guides. It is about 4.5 by 6 inches, 235 pages or so. The first pages of introduction gives a synopsis of Paris's neighborhoods: Monmartre, Champs Elysees, Eiffel Tower, Major, Historic Core, Left Bank, and Marais. The Daily Reminder gives a succinct overview of special hours for attractions on different days of the week. On first Sundays, for instance, major museums are free (good to know, as we assiduously avoided the crowds) and the fountains run at Versailles in the summer (April to October). The guide gives a list of sites that are closed on certain days of the week. Puppet shows at the Luxembourg Gardens take place on Fridays and Saturdays. Some sights are open late on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (Notre Dame towers, Bateaux Mouche). The guide gives information on hours for the Metro.

The back of the book includes a detailed map of Paris, and a map of the Metro. These were invaluable to us, and much more informative the the tourist maps you get at the hotels, which are festooned with ads. They were sturdy too. Despite our flipping back and forth, taking the book in and out of backpacks, the map only ripped in one corner (the one attached to the book).

The remainder of the book contains several walking tours of major sites: Historic Paris (Notre Dame area), Louvre, Orsay Museum, Eiffel Tower, Rue CLer, Versailles. It gives detailed information on how to take the train to these areas and which stops to get off. Telephone numbers are given.
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