France 10ed - Anglais (Anglais) Broché – 25 avril 2013
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Présentation de l'éditeur
France is a country that seduces travellers with its unfalteringly familiar culture woven around cafe terraces, village-square markets and lace-curtained bistros with their plat du jour (dish of the day) chalked on the board
10 months of research in France and thousands of calories consumed along the way
clear, easy-to-use maps and 3D plans of iconic sights
70 evocative châteaux
comprehensive planning tools
Coverage Includes: Planning chapters, Paris, Around Paris, Lille, Flanders, the Somme, Normandy, Brittany, Champagne, Alsace, Lorraine, The Loire Valley, Burgundy, Lyon, the Rhône Valley, French Alps, the Jura Mountains, Massif Central, Limousin, the Dordogne, the Lot, Atlantic Coast, French Basque Country, The Pyrenees, Toulouse Area, Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence, The French Riviera, Monaco, Corsica, Understanding and Survival chapters
Biographie de l'auteur
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Like the new Paris city guide from Lonely Planet (that I reviewed earlier), this edition is really fresh and lively, with the 'full colour' treatment, copious and brand new general and detailed maps and the same fine pull-out map found in the new Paris edition. Any traveller who is interested in France can benefit from this guide but Lonely Planet particularly speaks to travellers in three budget categories, calculated on two factors: food and lodging. Advice falls into 100 Euros and under, basic lodging plus one midday meal; 100-200 Euros, mid-price hotel double occupancy plus prix-fixed menus at a modest brasserie or restaurant; and 200 Euros and up for 'name' hotels and gourmet meals. These categories leave no room for any incidental expenses like local travel or snacks or admissions to attractions. Local travel, train travel and car rental and supplementary food stops are on top of that so even disciplined budget travellers should plan on spending more than this guide envisions.
No guide to France can be truly comprehensive but this one is at least HUGE: 1006 pages plus pull-out map, including a large, well-organized index. The book can be started from either the front or the back(!)--publishing data, the introduction to the guide's writing team and an 84-page section on 'Understanding France' and on general travel issues like language, visas, transportation and so on are most readily found by paging in from the end of the volume. The front section begins by explaining WHY one would visit France and goes on to outline the top 15 things to see in the whole country and suggests itineraries for 5 and 10 days, focusing on Paris or on major regions like 'Burgundy and Beyond,' 'The Atlantic to the Mediterranean,' a general circuit 'Tour de France', 'Brittany to Bordeaux', 'Along the Loire Valley,' the 'South of France' and the 'French Alps.' The next section speaks to 'when' to go to each region for weather or attractions and introduces the traveller to French food specialties. (You will need to supplement this with specialist guides and web sites, including the web sites for local restaurants along your itinerary.) Unusually, what is effectively the Table of Contents is found on pages 48 and 49--just when a reader might be ready to 'get down to business' and plan things out.
Paris begins on page 50 and goes on for 115 pages, if one counts the popular side-trips to Versailles, Chartres, Vaux-le-Vicomte and the like. The remainder of the book singles out memorable cities, towns and villages and provides the typical guidebook fare of what to do, where to stay and what to eat. In this regard, the best information we found in any of our guidebooks on Besancon came from this guide. We will visit the city--a fine 'backdoor'(less-familiar) stop for Americans--and so we updated our research. My wife particularly appreciated the updated information on the tram in Reims: in service only since last year, it runs from the Champagne-Ardennes station (also the TGV stop)right into the historic city center. That was 'news we will use!' Some important local festivals or events are described and their dates are given so you can 'be there' or 'skip that' as you choose. All along the way there are street-level maps of selected city centers and overview maps of broader areas.
My usual caveat in reviewing travel guide books is to purchase more than one. Fodor's, Dorling-Kindersley and Frommer's guides each have their strengths and are bound to surface different sights, hotels and restaurants for one to consider. We take organized tours with Rick Steves and always use his guidebooks. They are strong for being sensible, compact and full of the best information on how to get around using local transportation. Persons wanting to really get into France should also purchase a Michelin Green Guide for each of the regions they plan to visit: they have the most detailed, most nearly complete presentation of places to see and local history/art history than any of the other guide books we have found.
Over many years I have consulted a great many books which claim to be visitor guides. Because I have neither the time nor the patience for false, misleading, out-of-date or simply inaccurate information, many of these so-called guides have ended up in the bin. Not so with the Lonely Planet country guides and this one is as good as they get.
In short; Thoroughly recommended. Just make certain you purchase the latest edition.
If you must buy the hardcopy but not the ebook.
It is not a small book, and therefore is probably not particularly portable - at 1000 pages you're not putting it in your pocket! However, it's great to keep in the car, for example. It has a tear-out map of Paris, which we've made use of, and numerous maps within the text - this is most welcome, and is my most common complaint in travel guides. The number of maps is still less than I'd l like, but better than most. There is a lot of useful general information as well - emergency numbers, tips on how to find doctors or pharmacies (chemists), weather patterns, etc.
The meat of the guide is, of course, the descriptions of sites, hotels, and restaurants. These are presented in what I would call a "linear" fashion - if you were driving through a region, they appear in the order you'd come to the site/city. This is very useful for planning itineraries, perhaps not so useful if you're randomly trying to find something to do that day. Similarly, it is not as easy to refer to as some guides.
To sum up, this is perhaps the first guide to pick up if you are thinking about a trip to France. It's also a good first guide to read if you are looking for ideas of things that would be interesting to see. Once you've chosen a specific region or city to visit, especially if you'll be spending more than a few days there, you'll want to supplement it with a regional guidebook.