(from my amazon.com review)
When we hear the term "via ferrata" we think of those routes in the Dolomites--permanent aids in the form of rungs, ladders, suspension bridges, and the like, that allow "tourists" easier access to places that are ordinarily inaccessible to anyone but a veteran climber. There are a number of fine books on the via ferrata in the Dolomites. The via ferrata in France started in 1988: this book describes about a hundred of the routes.
What you get here is a real gem! The pages are full-color and glossy--it's a delight to wander through. There are loads of maps, good narrative descriptions, and large numbers of photographs (including some real hair-raisers). The accompanying keys include vertical and horizontal distances, time for the route, difficulty (from suitable for children to extremely difficult), maximum altitude, exposure, views, escape routes, and approach time from the parking areas. Most of the route times are 1-3 hours, and most of the approach times are from 5 to 20 minutes. In France, there seems to be an emphasis on easy access to these routes.
The book stresses safety: helmet, harness, and lanyard. Some of the routes have Himalayan bridges (3 steel strands--one for the feet and two for the hands), others have monkey bridges (2 strands--one for the feet, the other for the hands), and still others have the more comforting narrow wooden walkway below the cables for the hands. There are routes (with photographs) of ladder climbs tilted beyond the vertical--you need good protection, strong hands and feet (losing your grip would not be fun!), and good nerves. This is a truly great guide, and a wonderful book to lose yourself in!