Best guide book for sights

Old May 19th, 2008, 05:09 PM
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Best guide book for sights

Am I even allowed to ask this question here? I've read all the guidebook posts and book descriptions at booksellers, even flipped through books, but I'm still undecided.

I will be going to several European countries this summer, but chiefly Italy and France, visiting only cities. I am not interested in hotels (booked), restaurants (budget for sights, not sustenance), or shopping at all. What I am interested in is: sight hours, city maps and metro maps. I am a budget traveler (not a backpacker, but as close as you can get.) You might ask why I don't just print stuff from the internet, but I will have plenty of time and desire some flexibility.

Should I buy a Fodor's, Lonely Planet, Let's Go, Eyewitness, Rick Steves, or something not listed?

I will only buy one book and will rip out relevant pages (eek, hate defacing books) to carry with me. I know one book won't have everything.

Thank you in advance!
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Old May 19th, 2008, 08:04 PM
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Look for the Michelin Green Guide to France and to Italy. They offer about the best coverage of sights, with less on hotels and such.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 02:39 AM
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I would also go with Michelin green guides to France and Italy.
Eyewitness guides have lots of pictures but less information in our experience
If you want decent maps R Steves' books are not for you

In general you'll probably want to supplement maps in a general guide book you take with better maps of the specific cities from the city
tourist offices.

You could also check the library for travel books and copy good walking tours. I think that taking some information off the internet might also be good as you will get more city-specific information that way. Try the destinations section of this web site and frommers
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Old May 20th, 2008, 06:26 AM
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Thank you for the helpful advice. I had not even known about the Michelin guides for sights (thought they only focused on fancy hotels/restaurants). Supplementing the book with city-specific info and walking tours is also wise. Thanks again.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 06:33 AM
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The red guides are for hotels and restaurants; the green guides are for sightseeing.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 06:37 AM
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Another Michelin Green fan.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 06:58 AM
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How often does Michellin update their guide books? I checked at Amazon for the Netherlands and the latest edition was published in 2001.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 08:12 AM
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This thread has led me to an irrepressible urge to channel Steven Wright: "But what about the best guide book for sounds?"
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Old May 20th, 2008, 08:24 AM
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This is my advice with regard to guidebooks. I understand that you are on a budget, but let's assume that the total cost for your trip including airfare is $5000. Even if you buy multiple guidebooks, totally $100, that is only 2 percent of your total cost. Another way to look at it is, you are spending $100 to get the best value out of your $5000. You can tear pages out of multiple books and have them spiral bound at a local print shop to create one book for your trip.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 08:47 AM
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I don't think guidebooks are the best source for the info you want, which is pretty basic stuff. You could get that info pretty easily from the city tourism office itself (or pick up transportation brochures, etc, when you get there) or various web sites.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 08:57 AM
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My favorite is Fodors, in part because they have a dependable format and a combination of practical tips, a nice "if you have x days" section, and good coverage of sights. Whether the plane is landing in Mexico City, Paris, or Munich, I know where to find the section on public transportation into the city. (Odd that I always seem to wait until touchdown to think of this.) Of course, part of this is familiarity; I've been using Fodors for a long. My least favorite is Eyewitness. With all the pictures, it's amazing how little practical information they have.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 09:42 AM
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Well, the best guide for sounds would be TimeOut magazine, no?

Thanks for all the thoughtful replies.
Yes, time is money- no sense going without a great guidebook or three, and I should print out all the sight info from the internet.

Michelin Green or Fodor's for the most appropriate series- thanks for the info!
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Old May 20th, 2008, 10:30 AM
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I am currently reading a guidebook page by page. It appears that every travel question ever posted here about the subject country is answered in it. You have a few months before you travel. Do us favor...read three travel guides about Italy and three about France. Make some notes. Come back to us in September and tell us what you learned.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 05:50 PM
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For really in-depth information about France, check out the Cadogan guides. They contain a wealth of information and are quite readable.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 06:18 PM
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Might be heresy to say here, but for guidebooks in general I like Frommer's best, with Fodor's and Let's Go good second choices.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 06:28 PM
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I used Rick Steves book to go to Paris but found that he left out a lot of information. His book is actually more of a travelogue of what HE has done and not really comprehensive.
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