Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
Less is more...
on 16 May 2013
Things I like about this book.
It's divided by region/arrondisement and comprehensively covers attractions, eating and nightlife for each area individually. This is my favourite type of layout for a travel guide as it means you have access to all the necessary information for your locale, rather than having to sift through an entire chapter on, say, dining in Paris to find one decent bistro that's close by.
It goes into some depth on a number of key attractions ('Top Sights'), for example the Eiffel tower is discussed level by level, ticket purchase and viewing strategies, timing of the sparkly light shows, plus the history of the various paint jobs. Ditto Notre Dame, with info on the rose windows, treasury, towers and crypt, plus construction and historical timeline, and Haynes manualesque exploded diagram of the interior.
The general sections on fashion, architecture, visual arts, literary Paris are nicely done, as is the survival guide at the back - all the essential info on medical services, public holidays, electricity etc very well set out with bold headers and red dividers. Unusually comprehensive map section, with individual maps for particular regions rather than one continuous map that disappears annoyingly over the page!
Things I'm less keen on.
There's a lot of space devoted to accommodation. It's pointless, because almost everyone researches this on the net before they go.
There are just too many entries overall, and it's difficult to decide what might be worth reading (and thus visiting). There seems to be some sort of contest among the more serious guides to be as wordy and weighty as possible, when actually I find I get a lot more out of a more pared down format (see the Lonely Planet 'Discover Barcelona' 2013 edition for an example of a really successful layout).
Ok, but not a must-have in my opinion.