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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 22 April 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have a deep ambivalence towards guide books, and particularly towards Lonely Planet efforts. I've always felt that following a guide book too closely removes the best of exploring by reducing the sense of discovery you get from a new place. In addition, I've seen the 'Lonely Planet effect' in action, whereby a hotel/resturant/attraction's success or failure depends almost entirely on whether it makes it into the guide book, and whether it gets a good review. And whether it does so depends, unfortunately, on far more than how good the place is.

Having got my misgivings out of the way, what's this tenth edition of the France guide book actually like?

It's just stunning. I've never seen a guide book so good. Despite my misgivings above, the upside of the Lonely Planet series is that they are (on the whole) carefully researched, logically laid out and hugely informative. This edition has all of that in spades, and the presentation seems to have been stepped up hugely from previous editions that I've seen or used. In the past the maps and illustrations were a bit of a let down - this book has a huge number of high quality full-colour maps, and 3D illustrations of main attractions that act like a maps as well as a source of information about the attraction.

I am in the middle of planning three trips to France over the next few months: one to Bourg D'Oisans for a cycle trip, one to Paris and one to the Med. In each case I've found high quality information relevant to my trip in a logical layout and format, and its helped considerably with my planning.

My misgivings about guide books and about Lonely Planet remain. But, used in the way that makes sense to me, this guide book is just about as good as it possibly could be.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having French family and generally visiting a couple of times a year, I'm no stranger to la belle France. I am more familiar with Normandy and the Parisian region than the south though and very much looked forward to this book piquing my interest to visit some new areas.

It is a very substantial book, weighing in at over 1,000 pages and includes a nicely-scaled fold-out map of central Paris. It's fair to say that Paris, along with the other major cities of Marseille, Lyon, Nice, Strasbourg etc. are very well covered here, with all the usual features you've come to expect from a Lonely Planet guide: sights, festivals, accommodation, eating out, entertainment and a little background to history and culture too. There are some artfully selected photographs along the way, including the expected beautiful landscapes, historical architecture and some simple evocative pics of wine barrels, baskets of lavendar and the like.

Now, if you can sense there's a "but" coming, you'd be right: many treasures I am familiar with in more rural France aren't covered. The département of Mayenne, for example, gets not one listing, nor does the stunning medieval town of Domfront. Whilst the Normandy beaches get very good coverage, the town of Ouistreham - often the first port of call for any traveller on Brittany Ferries, gets barely a mention. France is a big country though - two and a half times bigger than the UK, and to cover everything would obviously result in an impracticably huge book. One final slight criticism: there are many sections in the guide on eating out, but I could find no advice for the travelling vegetarian anywhere. France is the least veggie-friendly country that I know of, and it would have been helpful to at least indicate some of the non-carnivorous providers in the major cities.

No big deal though and I don't wish to sound over critical. This is a very attractive book that succeeds on most counts of providing an extremely useful guide to that fascinating big country just 21 miles away over the Channel. It will certainly accompany me on all my future trips - think I really must visit Strasbourg next!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
My work involves visiting the world’s major shipwrecks. Whilst I may not be looking for those major tourist attractions which are always found in the places I visit, I do have need of local information which tells me where I can stay and eat and so forth. Consequently, I am often found seeking the same information in some out-of-the-way port as any other visitor.

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, most of those so-called guides have ended up in the bin. This is 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.

NM
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 17 September 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is such a substantial book and at first glance it seems like there's just too much information packed in to be useful to the average traveller to France. It's a lot to take in. Unless you're going to be visiting all the areas covered it seems to be too comprehensive for the casual tourist.

However, it's split into sections and within each section is a wealth of information regarding where to eat, sleep, have fun, find culture... Whatever you're looking for in France it's likely to be in here. Lonely planet guides are renowned for being high end travel guides and this edition follows the tried and tested formula but personally I feel it's probably more of 'an aide to making an itinerary before you leave' kind of book, rather than a 'have in your pocket travel guide' kind of book.

Very interesting and packed with everything you'd want to know about your visit to France but I think the smaller, focused books on a specific regions/places are more useful.
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on 3 October 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Of all the European countries France is probably the one most people drive through and independently investigate as they go on their way and, as such, of all the European guides this is perhaps the most comprehensively useful.

So what we have here is a very accessible and useable guide to France in a handy sized book that is also pretty durable and which will fit easily in the glove compartment. Very broad-brush in many ways but understandably so considering the rich variety of the nation in question- just starting an overall guide to a country as varied as France is quite a challenge. It is definitely good for pointers though with excellent, easy to follow maps, solid, basic travel information and useful cultural insights. There's a really good fold-out map of Paris included in the back of the print version as well. Essentially another dependable, reasonably priced guide from Lonely Planet.
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on 31 July 2013
However!! There's always a however. I love the content. It is well written and very helpful and in the large part that's why it has four stars. I'm just not sure about the execution as an eBook. eBooks work well when read in a linear fashion. The nature of a guide book means that you are jumping around a lot. The navigation is complex and less than intuitive. Lots of links have been included to ease how you get around the book but it does take a bit of getting used too and whilst you are travelling and trying to find places that makes it difficult. That said they have clearly thought about how to address the differences between a physical book and an eBook and there is no clear answer for a book of this nature. Use lots of book marks and notes and you'll find this a valuable virtual companion.
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VINE VOICEon 16 September 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Trying to encompass a country as varied as France in a single volume is a challenge - there is just too much diversity.

And so it has proved with this massive tome. What you get is a very limited insight into the various regions, towns and cities - all in the usual Lonely Planet style and well-researched. But you don't get the detail that the single region volumes provide.

I can't quite see why you could get this particular volume - because it can't give you everything you would want for a tour round France. The only reason would be if you can't afford the individual editions.

It is good - but I don't quite see the need for it!
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VINE VOICEon 2 June 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
We recently visited Paris and had a fantastic time and are now keen to explore the rest of France, so this guide to France was perfect. Jim and I both found the Lonely Planet Guide of a similar standard to other Lonely Plant guides we have read before going to other countries. The detail about each place seems to be all there (it's difficult to tell without visiting) providing the visitor with enough information to get around and discover France for themselves.

We look forward to many holidays to test the book fully.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a hefty tome of over a thousand pages as befits a country as large and diverse as France. The first fifty or so pages cover the usual general topics such as a month by month guide, suggested itineraries and the obligatory fifteen top sites which are largely subjective, but included the obvious ones such as Mont St Michel and the Eiffel Tower.

The meat of the book is in the next 850 pages and is divided into the 19 regions of France. Generally what is covered are the main attractions within the area together with where to eat, where to stay and other relevant information. Looking at the Loire, which is an area I am familiar with, the general attractions of the area were very adequately covered and there was information on such essentials as opening times and pricing. The information on eateries was generally OK, but on occasion did seem a little out of date to me - I imagine it is asking a bit much to expect a book of this size to be totally updated for each edition. Personally I am not normally too interested in the accommodation data as I find sites such as Tripadvisor give much more accurate and timely information than a guide such as this.

Towards the end there is quite a lot of general information including the history of France, architecture and a very useful survival guide, which has been a recent and welcome addition to Lonely Planet guides. Overall I found this to be a very comprehensive guides, and whilst if you are visiting Paris you may find a specific guide covering the city more helpful, this will contain everything you need for a trip to France.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2014
as always, well put together guidebook. good maps, pictures and up to date relevant imformation. i would highly reccomend this book.
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