Hello all, going to Paris in May for our third trip. we have a wonderful Eyewitness Paris travel guide that we absolutely love it's got a nice stiff plastic/cardboard cover but was published in 1993. Would like to get an updated one and would like the advice of seasoned ParisTravelers on the best one. We are not cell phone people and love using the book to look up interesting tidbits about the city that most people might not know and what we specifically like about the eyewitness book are the Cutaway drawings of maps and all the photographs of things to see and do. Also we love finding unusual things in Paris such as last trip we located a remnant of the original wall that surrounded Paris and it was fascinating to see. Does anybody know of a really good book on unusual things to see and do in Paris. We are generally not interested in the regular touristy stuff.
I like the Michelin Green guides because I feel like everything you need to know will be in them. I like Rick Steves' treatment of what he covers, a lot of very helpful tips - but he skips a lot in favor of more comprehensive information on what he does cover. I like the Eyewitness guides for my bookshelf at home. I find them too heavy to pack.
I found a really fun book called Secret Paris. Take a look at Amazon for it. It has a lot of obscure interesting things to see. Some you can walk by and some are Museums etc.
Quiet Corners of Paris by Jean-Christophe Napias.
Coltile's Edible Adventures in Paris by Coltilde Dusoulier.
To add to the others mentioned above, I like for central Paris, "Walks Through Lost Paris" by Leonard Pitt. However, it's hard for me to read without a magnifying glass and for me, it's too heavy to carry. As an above poster described another guide, it's a bookshelf book but does have much to offer. If you read French, "Ils sont fait Paris" does a nice job with the outer arrondissements.
OT-not a travel guide, Luc Sante's The Other Paris is a very interesting look at the Paris of the past, which of course gives clues to what it is today.
From the Times review:
Staunchly resisting the editing bulldozer, “The Other Paris” is sprawling and jampacked with information, and Sante’s instinctual orderliness — a graceful epigrammatic style — can’t quite tame (nor does it want to) the chaos of the subject to which he owes his allegiance. More even than the text, the glorious images of the demimonde that line the margins, exuding whiffs of opium and absinthe, give Sante’s book the intimate feeling of a personal scrapbook.
Any of the books about Paris by David Downie, in the same vein as the Luc Sante--both great writers!
We enjoyed listening in the car to this book: How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City Hardcover by Joan DeJean.
Interesting to hear about the history, trends and habits of Parisians and how Paris developed into the city it is today.
What Brad said. The Michelin Green Guide is comprehensive, easy to read and look things up, and conveniently sized to fit in a hip pocket or similar. Much lighter and smaller, but more selective, is the Rick Steves "Pocket Paris" guide, with several good walks and the info you'll need about locations and hours of attractions. I like the Eyewitness guides but I agree they're too heavy.
The Rick Steves pocket guide won't tell you much about "unusual things to see and do," it hits the highlights very well. Michelin might be a better bet for this. Or get some of the books suggested above, maybe from your library, and note offbeat places you'd like to see with the info you need to visit them, then just bring your notes with you. Suggestions: (1) Promenade Plantee from Bastille out to Vincennes, or any part of it. (2) Musee Marmottan, great Monets and other impressionists. (3) Parc Monceau. (4) St-Denis, a Metro ride north to the first Gothic basilica, where many of the kings (or parts of them) are buried.