This is exactly the guidebook for Paris I've been searching for. Fodor's, Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and Rick Steves, are all excellent guidebooks for the average or first time visitor to Paris. The AAD Paris is for the person that wants a much richer, deeper experience visiting this amazing city. Sadly the title AAD doesn't roll off the tongue very well, and has a sort of ADD feeling about it. Once the book is open, the title is irrelevant.
The book is fairly small and lightweight, it is a little larger than a CD case. Unlike the standard travel guides, this guide fits easily in my hand; carry on luggage, my iPad sleeve, or a purse. This beautiful book is easy to carry around.
This guide focuses on the subjects I find interesting in my hometown of Chicago, and the time I lived in Paris, Architecture, Art, and Design. The authors could have taken the simple road with Architecture and Art - focusing on the classic buildings and museums in Paris. Instead they present the significant and the hidden treasure. The first place in Architecture is the Cinematique Francaise, amazing for the films it archives and honors, but also because it is a fabulous Frank O. Gehry design. Galerie Celal, an incredible place that includes graffiti on purpose. Some of the old standards are shown, Le Louvre, Le Grand Palais, and Musee Rodin, but with a slightly different approach than the other guidebooks. AAD doesn't try to describe how to see all the art in a building, but describes what is significant about that building and leaves the visitor to discover the rest of the building. Design is a fabulous surprise, boutique hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs, and shops. Again, nothing standard was chosen here. I would be surprised to find too many of the places listed in any of the standard guidebooks.
Each subject is covered in two to four pages of beautiful photographs, one succinct paragraph (repeated in four different languages), and thumbnail visiting facts (especially important are the websites for detailed information).
Gratefully the book leaves out the long discussions about accommodations, how to get around the city, the cultural differences, and some form of crash course in French. No, this book assumes the traveler has figured out where he will stay, how to get there, and navigate the city. In my view, those are subjects that are best left at home after the planning is completed. I don't need to carry around fifty pages of hotel recommendations once I've made my travel arrangements (although there are a number of incredible hotel recommendations, given the look of these hotels, I'd probably visit them just to see what they look like). But I do need a book that can guide me to some amazing places I might not already know. Give me just enough information to tweak my curiosity and then allow me to discover that place. The web addresses are helpful to find the most current practical information.
The book is beautifully printed and published. The details are remarkable. Inside the front and back cover there is a purple piece of paper to cover the fold over front and back covers - just like a fine book. The photographs are amazing, as I would expect from this publisher. The binding is rugged and the paper stock heavy. A small nit to pick is the map it is two wasted pages. There is no way anybody could navigate the city with this small-stylized map. On the other hand there are three pages with beautiful frank descriptions of each area of Paris. In few words, the core sense of the area is described.
I honestly wish I had this book during my last trip to Paris. This book is a wonderful piece to carry while walking around the city. Armed with the incredibly detailed map - Plan de Paris par Arrondissment ( Plan de Paris par Arrondissement: Paris Street Guide by District (English and French Edition)) or The Paris Mapguide; it is easy to see some amazing sights in Paris.
TeNeuese has published an iPad / iPhone companion app to the Cool City / AAD series. This is an incredibly beautiful app. If you have a data plan for France, the app can use your location to show how far away something is (right now Hotel Amour is 6,778.71km away), show the place on a highly detailed map (the built in google map), present a slide show of the location, with an optional spoken word description. In the iTunes App store, search for Cool Cities. Although it was designed for iPhone size, the 2X version on an iPad is still sufficiently high resolution.
The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book for review.