Great organization, eye-catching photography, well written narrative and superb cartography! DK Eyewitness Travel guides have got it all but, for me, it's the photography that really separates them from the competition. And "Paris" covers it all - restaurants, music, beer bars, walks, art galleries, museums, spas, architecture, palaces, hotels, cafés, theatres and churches. And all of the information is organized by neighbourhood in the city so I can make the most effective use of my time once I'm in a certain area.
Here's my "best practices" strategy. Read "Top 10 Paris" first. Make some basic choices, get your mind wrapped around Paris geography and begin to localize your choices to certain areas. Fine tune your choice and plan your attack day by day by reading "Paris".Familiarize yourself with some of the local customs by reading the basic country information in the back of the larger "Paris" guide - currency, communications, etiquette, food, beer and wine, local transportation and specialized hints like local tipping practices.
Why not five stars? Frankly, with the internet now providing so much current information, I can't see the value in attempting to include lengthy (and probably outdated) lists of hotels and restaurants in densely packed small print index lists at the back of a book like this.
As a pre-planner, "Paris" proved itself to be invaluable. My limited time was well spent and I felt comfortable filling my day with a thoroughly enjoyable selection of attractions that were well matched to my personal tastes and those of my traveling companion. There was not even a single instance where we felt we were misled by the guide into choosing an event, a food, a pub, a hotel, a church, an attraction, a park or a café that was not to our liking. And it was the ideal size to be easily carried around during our travels to keep handy as a pocket reference. High praise, indeed.
Even with the help of such an invaluable, compact and realistic guide, Paris is simply too big, too diverse and too fascinating to tour in a single week. That said (and well you might ask), my personal Top 10 in Paris from the perspective of a first time visitor were as follows:
Panthéon Musée d'Orsay Notre-Dame Arc de Triomphe Musée Carnavalet Chateau Versailles Parc Monceau The Left Bank Opéra National de Paris Garnier Au Trappiste (an outrageously expensive beer bar) Jardin du Luxembourg
(So sue me ... I can't count and I couldn't hold back choosing one extra favourite destination). The point REALLY is, I had most of these picked out before I ever got to Paris and the descriptions were SO good that my advance choices proved to be quite correct during the reality of the city visit. I don't think I could give higher praise to a tour book than that. Highly recommended for all travelers, real world and armchair alike.
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About the reviewer
Paul Weiss (cpw1952)
A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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