Start your trip planning by reading guidebooks. These books will help you
decide where to go and how to plan your trip. Bring your favorite guidebooks
with you; good guidebooks and maps will make your trip more enjoyable. We
always carry a shoulder bag full of books, maps, printed out web pages (including
pages from this site), tourist brochures, restaurant listings. We keep this
bag in the car whenever we go out, so that if our plans change during the
day, we still have all the information that we need. When we leave the car
to go touring, we take the one book and map that we need. With the Cadogan
guides you can tear out the pages about your destination and slip them into
Most guide book series have different volumes for different regions
of France. These series are my favorite guidebooks.
France (Eyewitness Travel Guides), DK Publishing, 2003
The Eyewitness series of travel guides are in full color on thicker
paper and are heavier, but are a convenient small size. I find the color
pictures helpful to decide if we would like to see a place. They have
excellent information for larger towns. They have good hotel and restaurant
recommendations at the back of the book (listed by town). Their restaurant
recommendations are usually reliable and I have used their hotel recommendations
several times to pick hotels (in Italy). They also include good city maps.
France (Cadogan Country Guides), Philippe Barbour, Dana Facaros,
Michael Pauls, Cadogan Guides, 2004
Many of the France travel guides for Cadogan are written by Dana Facaros
and Michael Pauls who wrote the excellent Italy guidebooks. They live
in France. There are
editions of these books for the different regions. These books are in
black and white on thin paper and, as a result, are light weight but packed
full of information. There are good descriptions of the towns with recommended
hotels and restaurants. The restaurant recommendations are usually reliable.
They also give suggested itineraries and vocabulary lists. I always take
one of their travel guides with me and tear out the pages for the town
we are visiting (so I don't have to carry the whole book in my purse).
Many people highly recommend these guide books.
Tracy from NC, spring 2002, writes "I love the Rough Guide books. They
have a lot of detail and are perfectly suited to a younger crowd (under
40 - though I am not in this crowd!!). The books give a lot of history,
include off-the-beaten-path sites and budget friendly hotel and restaurant
Paris: The Collected Traveler: An Inspired Anthology and Travel
Resource, Barrie Kerper, Fodors, 2000
Colleen from CA, spring 2002: If you enjoy reading travel essays, then
look for this book. Ms. Kerper collected Paris-related magazine and newsletter
articles for years, then culled them to create this well organized book.
At the end of each essay, if appropriate, she includes up-to-date practical
information for the sight or event. The day-to-day travel related section
can be found in just about any traditional guidebook. Where this book
shines is the eye-opening variety of subject matter and authors. In my
opinion, it's best for background, pre-travel reading.
Rick Steves' Paris 2005, Rick Steves, Steve Smith, Gene Openshaw,
Avalon Travel Publishing, 2005
Tracy from NC, spring 2002, writes "I like Rick Steves Paris 2002 book
because it gives you the down and dirty of maneuvering around a city,
great tips on avoiding lines, buying tickets and passes, transportation
information. I avoid his hotel and restaurant recommendations merely because,
since he is so popular, the establishments end up being crammed with American
Rick Steves fans; a situation I try to avoid."
Around and About Paris, Thirza Vallois, Iliad Books, 1999 (a
series of 3 volumes)
Colleen writes: For a fascinating book filled with in-depth historical
details, and several walking tours for each Paris arrondissement, look
for Thirza Vallois' books. Each book contains detailed maps and pencil
sketches of interesting sights along the walking tours, as well as literary
quotes and descriptions of the historical figures of the times. Volume
One starts with this quote: "Qui regarde au fond de Paris a le vertige."
("He who looks into the depths of Paris grows giddy.") ~ Victor Hugo
Around and About Paris: From the Dawn of Time to the Eiffel Tower
(Arrondissements 1 - 7)
Around and About Paris: From the Guillotine to the Bastille Opera
: The 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th & 12th Arrondissements
Around and About Paris, Volume 3: New Horizons: Haussmann's Annexation
(Arrondissements 13 - 20)
Unexplored Paris 2003, Rodolphe Trouilleux, Parigramme
Colleen writes: "Unexplored Paris" by Rodolphe Trouilleux is a delightful
book filled with those "off the beaten path" sights that we all hope to
find. Divided by arrondissement, each discovery is lovingly described,
and is accompanied by a color photo.
From the back cover: "Forgotten cul-de-sacs, a cloister converted into
workshops, a genuine or imitation medieval house, flagstones for a guillotine,
a cannon to set your clock by, a 17th-century metro station ... Russian
style country cottages ... revolutionary inscriptions ... a lemon tree
in a telephone booth ... this is what Paris is all about!"
Provence Byways - Guidebook to the Luberon Region of Provence,
Bob and Sue Winn
Highly recommended by Chris from CA (moderator) and I used it for our
2004 Provence trip.
From their web site: "For five years, from 1997 through 2001, we hosted
small groups for a week at a time in the summer in our village of Lourmarin.
In the course of preparing for our groups we wrote a guidebook on a variety
of subjects of interest to travelers in the Luberon region of Provence.
The guidebook is focused, practical, and based on our personal point of
view--our experience, our research, our enthusiasm, and our taste. It
has been "road tested" and updated during our latest stay in Provence
Paris in a Basket: Markets - The Food and the People, Nicolle
Aimee Meyer, Amanda Pilar Smith, Paul Bocuse, Konemann, 2000
Tracy from NC, spring 2002, writes "The book is wonderful because not
only do you get detailed information on the food markets in Paris, but
it also serves as a cookbook and guidebook to Paris neighborhoods."