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Does anyone have an opinion on a good guidebook for a visit to London, Paris and Rome?

Does anyone have an opinion on a good guidebook for a visit to London, Paris and Rome?

Mar 15th, 2000, 07:45 PM
  #1  
needaguidebook
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Does anyone have an opinion on a good guidebook for a visit to London, Paris and Rome?

I need to buy a good guidebook for a 2 week trip to London, Paris and Rome. The General Europe books include lots of places, so their treatment of these three major cities can be skimpy. But I don't want to buy three different books if I can help it. We are a group of three middle-age adults and two seniors. We want the book to have good maps, restaurants, and advice on what to see. We'll be staying at middle to upper priced hotels. We've already eliminated Let's Go and Lonely Planet on the ground that they are too budget oriented for us. Which book will work best for us?
 
Mar 15th, 2000, 07:58 PM
  #2  
jane
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Have you looked at the Rick Steve books. They eyewitness books are also great.
 
Mar 15th, 2000, 08:54 PM
  #3  
Bob Brown
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Hmm. Guide books. I can comment on Paris. Well, you ruled out the best one! Let's Go Paris would be my first suggestion. What does budget have to do with descriptions of places to go like the Musee d'Orsay??
For information about the actual places, including some history and architectural details, I like the Green Michelin guide to Paris. The Fodors Paris book is good too. Steves book is good, but I find his style to be a little superficial.
So I arrived armed with 4 of them:
Michelin, Fodors, Let's Go Paris, and Rick Steve's Paris. I also had a fistfull of web site printouts as well.
 
Mar 16th, 2000, 05:11 AM
  #4  
elaine
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Hi
I think since you're going with a group it wouldn't be too inconvenient to have one good book for each city--the weight can be distributed among the luggage.
I don't rely on guidebooks for good maps. I loved the Streetwise maps for Paris and London, among other places and highly recommend them. They are not expensive in the US ($5.95$) and I strongly suggest that you buy more than one for each city to distribute among your group--so you all needn't be attached at the hip all the time.
If you would like my travel notes on Paris and/or London, please email me.
For city guidebooks, I like Fodor's and Eyewitness particularly for first-time visits, although my personal favorite for Paris is the hard-to-find Travel and Leisure guidebook which is compact and lightweight.
 
Mar 16th, 2000, 06:02 AM
  #5  
Bob
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You are correct in that the Genenal Books to Europe or say just France are no for you. But Fodor's, Frommers, Rick Steves all have books just on London, Paris or Rome. Go to a good book store and review them, pick which fits your needs and buy a book for each of your cities. We are going to Paris in a few weeks and one of the MANY book I'm taking is the Rick Steves Paris, because I like his walking tours. But you will have to find which book style fits you.
 
Mar 16th, 2000, 07:06 AM
  #6  
Bev
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Michelin - green book. Make sure you don't buy heavy ones!!! We didn't take the hotel/restaurant books - Lists printed from the internet were fine and can be tossed when you leave the cities.
 
Mar 16th, 2000, 07:26 AM
  #7  
Carol
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The individual Streetwise maps for London, Paris, Rome are the best--cheap, very thorough, compact and readable. Definitely download restaurant lists from the web--use Fodors destination guide lists and this forum, also Zagat's Guide to Paris Restaurants (www.zagats.com)which is exhaustive. Although I prefer the Blue Guides for sightseeing background, many people find the Eyewitness guides good.
 
Mar 16th, 2000, 07:36 AM
  #8  
Carol
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I'd also recommend doing some tours with local guides in each city. There are terrific companies out there. For example, I did a 4-hour tour of Ancient Rome with Scala Reale (www.scalareale.org)run by an American architect living in Rome and staffed by American grad students in art, architecture, classics, etc. There's a good company in Paris called Paris Walks (www.pariswalks.com)and I'm sure there are good companies in London as well. They're wonderful ways to get a feel for the cities and the tour companies are excellent contacts as well.
 
Mar 16th, 2000, 07:39 AM
  #9  
Brian in Atlanta
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I don't see how you get around 3 separate books. If the weight bothers you, when you leave each city, donate that guide to your hotel's lobby or some poor backpacking American who had his Let's Go swiped at the hostel.

Do what Bob recommends. Go to a good bookstore and spend some time picking out the best one for you, paying particular attention to the ones recommended here. Personnaly, I like Time Out Guides for info/details and Access Guides for neighborhood maps.
 
Mar 16th, 2000, 09:38 AM
  #10  
Bob Brown
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I agree on the maps comment. For Paris, the tear-out map that came in my 1999 Fodors Paris Guide is quite good. It is small enough to carry and detailed enough to be helpful. But, the best one to have for detail is the large Michelin map. I had both, but the large one stayed in my room.
 
Mar 16th, 2000, 09:38 AM
  #11  
needaguidebook
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Thanks, everyone. Before I head to the bookstore, are there any guidebooks that are notoriously unreliable or out of date? Are there any to avoid, or are they basically the same in their level of accuracy?
 
Mar 16th, 2000, 11:37 AM
  #12  
Paulo
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Considering that you really don't need the most perishable info in guides anyways (hotels/restaurants/bars/etc, updated details on which you may easily get in the net), you should consider separate guides for each city. My personal preference goes to the Blue Guide series. They're IMO best regarding historical background and monument description, enabling you to make your homework before travelling and later, as reference material on what you've seen. More often than not, a Blue Guide is richer in content than an organized tour guide. Just about the only perishable information in Blue Guides concerns monument opening hours. This is not a big deal because, once you've single out which monuments you want to visit, you find the info you're looking for in the net or ask about at the hotel on arrival. I concede, though, the Blue Guides are not for every one ...

In your case, the best option appears to be the Michelin Green guides, because:
a) they're reasonably light and fit in (deep) pockets;
b) they're organized in sightseeing strolls and are accompanied by the relevant neighborhood maps;
c) their star system may be convenient for unitiated travelers;
d) 98% of their content is not perishable (only monument opening times may be); and
e) they're pretty reasonable regarding historical background and monument description (no match against Blue Guides, I'm afraid, but miles ahead of Frommer's, Eyewitness and (sorry) Fodor's.

Paulo

 
Mar 16th, 2000, 04:43 PM
  #13  
Walter
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My saying is: I would rather lose my luggage than my Blue
Guide and Streetwide map. The Blue Guide will give you *detailed* info on what you are *seeing* at historical sites and museums and the Streetwise will get you there!
HTH Regards, Walter
 

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