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zephyr826's avatar

Fodor's or Fromer's or Rick Steve's?

Asked by zephyr826 (5595 points ) May 21st, 2010

My husband and I are going to France for a week, and he’s never been. My guidebooks are all from 10 years ago when I was in college, and the one I really loved for Paris is no longer in print (sigh). I really don’t want to cart around several books, particularly if they’re all really similar, so I’m appealing to the fluther community. Many of you travel frequently – who do you choose? In general, or specifically for Paris and the rest of France (Normandie and Bretagne)? Why is it your favorite?

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10 Answers

shego's avatar

Well, I would have to say Rick Steve’s. Only because I’m not totally familar with the others.
Well, Fance in general has a lot of history. I would have to say that I would stick to Normandie, hang out at the cliffs. Maybe make your way to Giverny, and go to Monet’s Garden, where many of his paintings were based off of. There is so much to go see, and do, It all depends on what you want to do.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Everything I have is from 25 years ago when I was stationed in Germany. I like the way Lonely Planet writes, but I don’t know what they have on France. Make sure you give enough time to the Louvre (takes a day just to superficially stroll through the place). I’ve spent 3 fascinated days in Notre Dame.

zephyr826's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I totally forgot about lonely planet.

jclerman's avatar

When I lived there in the 70s I used Michelin guides.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@zephyr826 I just noticed on the Amazon site that customers rating of Steve’s was 5 stars and Lonely Planet only 4. I just like LP’s style and format. I’ve never read the French guide, only several on Asian, Caribbean and African countries.

jeanne's avatar

I think there are actually 2 questions here-number one is which book might be best, and the other is whether to take a book at all. To take the second question last, I am frequently in France since my husband is French and I actually don’t take any books at all anymore since I don’t like to carry the weight in my susitcase. I do hotel research before I go and either book hotels and special restaurants, etc., or I print out things of interest for sighseeing on paper and carry it with me. Also, if you will have a laptop with you that means that I would take even less with me for guidebooks.

If you really want a book whether you take with you or not, then I would suggest you follow your heart again since these 3 books all have a bit different slant in terms of their audience. You might also spend some time on their websites and forums (as well as just looking at the books at the bookstore) and see which suggestions you like best. I will say that my own personal favorite source for Paris and all of France is the travel forum on Fodors. I jokingly say they now know all my favorite secret restuarants and places. I actually think the travel talk forum info is MUCH better for Paris than the guidebook itself-although now Fodors is gelaning info from their forums to improve their publications. Also, for easy practical “wisdom of the crowd” opinions, I also like trip advisor and they have some really nice pdf city guides that are very goods. For sightseeing, I love the Insight guides.

lilikoi's avatar

Lonely Planet is the standard now, generally speaking.

YARNLADY's avatar

When my husband went to Europe, he a lot of research online. Visit the library and take a look at each of the books you are interested to see which one works best for you. Read the online reviews for the books you want.

janbb's avatar

I find Rick Steve’s books to be rather cursory although many like them. I generally look at the Fodor’s and the Frommer’s for the area I’m going to and compare. I usually seem to end up getting Frommer’s; I like heir recommended itineraries and the organization seems to match my brain well.

cfrydj's avatar

I like the Rick Steves books the best. And you can download his mp3 audiotours of museums and such, and save money!

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