Do people use guidebooks anymore? You bet! Even though I’m on my iPhone when I travel with Google maps and booking apps, I always read and carry a guidebook to Paris to get a sense of a place. There seem to be a million Paris guidebooks out there, but here are a few of my favorites. I like these because they are helpful, informative, and spur excitement about my upcoming trip to Paris.
The 500 Hidden Secrets of Paris
I couldn’t believe that there are 500 secret places in Paris until I went there and discovered them. Paris seems to have a gem around every corner, and most of them are off the well-trodden tourist areas. Use this book to find the recommended treasures and then discover your own in this layered city.
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One can go to museums all day in Paris, but really the pleasure of Paris is found in it’s delicious food. Partricia Wells is a world-renowned authority on French cuisine and she shares her favorite places in this guidebook. From the haute cuisine of Michelin star restaurants to the world’s best falafel, this book’s recommendations are sure to delight those looking for the gastronomic delights.
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One of the reasons Paris is one of the best cities to visit is that it is walkable. The French even have a word for a person whose vocation is to walk – the Flanuer. And in Paris, a walking tour means you are intimate with the cities history. This book gives you guided walks to imagine the city as it was when great figures of history called the City of Light their home.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guides
I can read and read, but when I see a gorgeous picture, that’s when I know I have to visit a place. The DK Eyewitness Travel guides are full of beautiful and informative pictures so it feels like you actually know what you are going to see before you visit Paris. I love their neighborhood by neighborhood breakdown and the detailed guides to museums, which include museum layouts and pictures of the highlights.
Good ‘Ol Rick Steves. He’s an understated travel maestro. I’ve used his Paris one since 2003. His sensible shoes and no frills backpack may seem a little outdated, but his “back door” advice and walking tours are not to be beat. Rick has a huge network of local guides who often contribute to his guidebooks, so if you want recommendations on how to tour Paris from those who do it for a living, then this is the book for you. Rick also shares how to avoid the tourist crowds with valuable tips on ticket bookings.