A comprehensive and inspiring guide to the world's most popular tourist destination. Taking visitors from the glitz and glamour of St.Tropez to the elegant, imposing châteaux of the Loire, this guide covers all the known attractions and reveals a few hidden ones too.
Out-of-date but still the champ!, /5
Except for currency, any of the Cadogan (cad-O-gan?)(CAD-o-gan?) guidebooks is, for my money, the best available. I've used the series in northern Spain, Morocco, and eastern Europe in general and in Prague, Provence, and Paris in particular. All the books are informative, intelligently written, well organized, adult, fun.
Unfortunately, however, something must have happened to the publisher sometime in or after 2005. Last year, in preparing for a return trip to Paris, I sought to replace my Cadogan Paris 2004 edition with the company's 2008 version. What a surprise! The new edition is totally revamped, much abbreviated, very glossy. O well. My 2004 edition still worked, and Paris hadn't changed in 5 years anyway.
Thus, with this "France,2nd": it's also 2004 and not as current as are publications from Lonely Planet, Rick Steves, etc. etc. etc. But, oh my goodness! Having used it to plan out a forthcoming French holiday commencing in Tolouse and ending in Paris by way of the Loire Valley and the D-Day beaches, it's still far above anything else on the market.
Going to France? Buy it! You won't be sorry.
Wide Coverage, But Not Very Deep, /5
This book begins with some nice photos of various places in France and follows this with an interesting overview of French history. This is then followed by the normal generic advice for new travellers to France (e.g. getting there and getting around), and also includes a useful glossary of some food terms that might be helpful in reading a menu.
It then goes on to provide a "tour" of the various parts of France, arranged geographically. This is quite useful and covers some parts of France not covered very well by some other books. However, when actually using the guide, I get the feeling that breadth of coverage of all regions of France is sometimes at the expense of depth of coverage of the areas. It is this that lets it down.
Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls can be reached at: email@example.com