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4 year old Paris book vs 2017 Paris book


Wondering if I need to spend the money and get an updated Rick Steves Paris book. I mean, how much has changed in 4 years

Thanks for the advice!


Posted by
606 posts

From my own experience with the 2014 RS London guidebook... I planned to travel in 2015, but ended up not being able to go until late 2016:

Hotel and attraction prices will likely be out of date, so expect increases.
Restaurants listed in the old book might have gone out of business so call ahead to confirm they are open.
New restaurants or hotels won't be listed.

How much does this matter? Only you can decide about risking the inconvenience or wasted time that might occur. My opinion is that $25 or $30 spent on an updated guidebook is good insurance for having a good trip.

At a minimum I would recommend checking the RS guidebook update page to see what changes were made in later editions.

Posted by
15980 posts

It may depend on how you use guidebooks? For instance, we never use them for hotels and restaurants, and even the latest guidebook may not have been able to include changes in hours, entry fees, etc. made very recently.

We use our guidebooks (multiple types) mostly for locations, suggested walking routes, and general background information on attractions. That sort of thing doesn't change very often so....

For attractions you KNOW you want to see in Paris, it's always advised to plug into their official websites to check most current hours/entry fees, updates on special closings for renovations, etc. You can, as we do, make any notes necessary in your older book.

Posted by
2712 posts

Rick and crew do a lot of research and footwork to be sure the books are up to date. Many other guidebooks, not so much. A four year old guidebook is a good doorstop. Even hours at major attractions change in that time. As the previous poster said restaurants and hotels for sure. That old book likely has hotels and/or restaurants RS is no longer listing in the new book, for a reason. Besides, the obvious-how much does the cost of a new book compare to what you are spending for this trip? Get a new book!

Posted by
8586 posts

It depends on how much you personally depend on the book for you daily activities. Even the 2017 edition would have been written months before publishing, so nothing can be completely up to date. The descriptions of sights and the general directions on how to get around, etc., don't change that much. If you depend on the hotel and restaurant suggestions, the price information is only a guide for comparison purposes.

Posted by
7061 posts

Maybe I'm excessively cheap but I never buy new guidebooks at full price. I always buy them used and usually 2-4 years old. Mostly that's because I only use guidebooks when deciding where to go and what to see and for general information about the country or cities I'm visiting. I always use the internet for getting current hours and prices. Even the most current guidebook will recommend that you verify open hours and prices before going because they can change at any time. I would use the one you have and check the internet for any updated hours/prices.

Posted by
2145 posts

Hi Nicole, I'd spend the $25 to buy a new guidebook. Or, go to the library and check out the latest edition.

Posted by
308 posts

I spent a week in Paris in February 2017 using my 2013 RS Paris book and had no issues. However, I don't use the book for restaurant recommendations. Also, I did look at the museum websites to verify opening times. Note that the Picasso museum was closed in 2013 so there is no section in the 2013 book on that site so you should go to the museum website for planning purposes.

Posted by
5697 posts

What Donna said about the public library ... BUT there were occasions when I wished I owned the book, because I would have ripped out the section on the current day's travel destinations and just carried 20 pages instead of the whole book. (Carried the library book in a Ziploc bag to protect it from the other stuff in my daybag like lunch ...)

Posted by
439 posts

You don't even need to spend $25 or $30. I just looked up the Paris book on amazon, Kindle edition is normally $15, paperback is on sale for $15. The pocket guide to Paris is $10, splurge!!!

Your time is as valuable as the money. If you use the old guide books, I would verify.

Posted by
6362 posts

After we signed up for a 2017 Village Italy tour, I wanted to start reading up on the places we'd be going. The 2017 Italy book wasn't out yet, so I found our 2014 guidebook and reread it.

Then in December, I ordered the 2017 Italy book. One of the first sections I wanted to check on was Ravenna, because we were thinking of spending some extra time there. I couldn't find it. Well, the book is organized differently, so I went to the Table of Contents: no Ravenna. So straight to the index: no Ravenna.

Thinking I was finally losing it, I went back to the 2014 book: an entire chapter on Ravenna.

So follow the advice some other people have given, and at least take a look at the new book, either from the library or sneak an extended peek in a bookstore. It may be the book has changed enough that you want the new one. Or like us, you may realize that maybe it's not time to give the old one away yet!

Posted by
76 posts

"What Donna said about the public library ... BUT there were occasions when I wished I owned the book, because I would have ripped out the section on the current day's travel destinations and just carried 20 pages instead of the whole book."

To follow up on the library approach: I often borrow guide books from the library and if the trip isn't for a while, you can wait for the library's latest copy. I then scan/copy the pages I want and return the book. I take the copied pages with me (only the 20 pages instead of the whole book) and throw the pages out as I leave the place (leave the pages on Paris in the garbage in Paris).

Amazon is also a great place to find slightly older guides at reduced prices.

As someone has already said, it depends on how you use the book and I don't use it for hotels or restaurants once I get there.

Posted by
3197 posts

Other than Hotel and restaurant pricing, there are rarely major changes in the books. I think that the Vatican Museum or Mt. Etna have moved. I'm returning to Italy with a 2015 guidebook. You can easily check updates on this site for major or important changes.

Posted by
11294 posts

"Other than Hotel and restaurant pricing, there are rarely major changes in the books."

Sometimes there are. For instance, the current Croatia and Slovenia book includes a large and very comprehensive chapter on Sarajevo; the older editions didn't include Sarajevo at all. And his older chapters about Glasgow (in his Great Britain and Scotland books) had dire warnings about certain sections; these warnings have been greatly reduced in the most recent edition.

Of course, other RS books, or sections of books, don't change much - but it's not accurate to say that none of them do. So I definitely agree with checking. For instance, I have his Switzerland guide from a few years ago, and I'm returning next month. But the Berner Oberland and Bern chapters haven't really changed, and the other places I'm going (Basel, Winterthur, Fribourg, Neuchatel) aren't covered in his book at all. So, I'm taking my old RS guide, and a new Rough Guide Switzerland for the other places.