A comprehensive, entertaining, and absorbing guide to Paris--the most romantic of cities. Whether travelers are looking for a cozy break for two, a shopping trip to the haute couture of the Place Vendôme, or a taste of the huge wealth of artistic heritage that graces the city, Cadogan provides all the information they need. A stylish full-color introduction opens the guide, illustrating the varied neighborhoods of Paris and offering ideas for sightseeing days, and the extensive cross-referenced maps guide them easily through these different areas. The text is peppered throughout with engaging cultural and historical knowledge, stories and anecdotes--all written in the enthusiastic, informed, personal way for which Cadogan is renowned.
Excerpt: Lighter than Air
‘All the merit of Paris is in its air,’ wrote one of the city’s great chroniclers, Louis-Sébastien Mercier, in 1781. Air does seem to have a buoyant quality in Paris, a champagne effervescence that toys with gravity and lightens the wit; ideas and fashions rise and float over the city before dissipating into the mists of time; windbags of all sorts proliferate.
Innately airy and pumped up with Gallic derring-do, Paris was a natural to pioneer communion with the sylphs. The first Parisian birdman was the eccentric Marquis de Bacqueville, who in 1742 made it halfway over the Seine in a prototype of a sailplane before crashing into a floating laundry barge; afterwards the Marquis challenged anyone who mentioned the incident to a duel. The next attempt had to wait until 1783, when the brothers Montgolfier, after remarking on how their shirts puffed up as they dried by the fire, released their first balloon at Annonay. ...click here to read the rest
If Possible I'd Give it Six, /5
By Bill Marsano. If you were to go to a really well-stocked bookstore and start counting the guidebooks devoted to Paris, there's a fair chance you wouldn't finish on the same day you started. Paris is like the Battle of Gettysburg: Everyone wants to write about it and almost everyone does. (Some more than once.) So while you might consider yourself spoiled for choice, it's more likely that you'll be overwhelmed and baffled.
I can help you out here because I'm almost uniquely qualified to judge. I've used guides, written for guides and even sold guides in a travel bookstore. And from that I conclude that this is the best guide to Paris available, bar none.
Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls have written literally dozens of guides; I first came to know their work in Italy two decades ago. They lived there at the time just as they are now writing guides to France and live there too. It's fair to say that from depth of experience and local perspective, they can't be beat. They are not quick in-and-outers dependent on what the local tourist office is pushing.
Their Paris book has all you'd expect from any decent competitor, of which there are plenty: details and overviews of nightlife, sports, parks, hotels, transport, restaurants, museums, walking tours, festivals, flea markets, shopping. All that and more. What sets it apart--far apart--is the quality and freshness of the writing, which is informed, stylish and witty (the historical notes are especially fine and a delight to read). The reader truly feels guided by this book--taken in hand by an expert (two of them in this case) and given the key to the city. This is a genuinely sophisticated approach to the City of Light. A triomphe, in fact.
If you're going to Paris for a week or more, you may very well wish to embark upon a daytrip beyond the city. For that you must buy "An Hour from Paris," by Annabel Simms (a Brit long resident in Paris). She's a perfect companion to Facaros and Pauls, and almost their equal as a writer. She lists 20 splendid daytrips, most of them little known, all available by public transport, and none more than an hour away.--Bill Marsano is an award-winning travel writer and editor.
Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls can be reached at: email@example.com