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am 22. Februar 1999
...and I've read quite a few of them. This seems to be the best for the "common-man" trip to Paris. The information is very practical, honest and concise. Rick knows what is possible and worthwhile in Paris, and clearly sets it forth here. Rick is not trying to cram every last detail into a guide, but rather includes the more significant sites as well as the "back doors" he's well-known for finding. In addition, this guide is so readable, it reads more like a (sometimes tongue-in-cheek) travel narrative than ordinary travel guides (that often read like history texts!)
Included are some great tips on how to avoid lines and crowds as best you can, great opening times and days of all sites; logical, detailed walking tours; and hints on where clean and convenient restrooms are! What more do you need? While the others (Fodors, Frommers) focus on what is the best regardless of cost, Rick uncovers some gems that others may never find on their own, and lets us know that they are good and less expensive while helping us logically "attack" Paris as a tourist! This book is WELL worth the money!
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am 15. Mai 2000
I have used both the 1999 and 2000 editions of this excellent guide, and can only say that it is the best of the lot, closely followed by the Lonely Planet and DK Eyewitness guides.
What makes Steves' guides so useful is that he addresses himself to Americans who are not used to foreign travel with the principal goal of eliminating their fear by helping to get their feet wet. To this end, his guides are more PRESCRIPTIVE than DESCRIPTIVE.
For a good DESCRIPTIVE guide, I would turn to another guide such as Lonely Planet or Rough Guide, supplemented, perhaps, by Rachel Kaplan's excellent "Little-Known Museums In and Around Paris."
A PRESCRIPTIVE guide like this will urge that you avoid the Madeleine, Opera Garnier, and Pantheon because they aren't worth it -- and don't bother with the Bastille, because it was torn down over 200 years ago. Steves concentrates on accommodations and restaurants in only three parts of Paris: Rue Cler (near the Eiffel Tower), the Marais, and the Rue Mouffetard area. That saves perhaps a hundred pages and makes the book more compact and easy to carry during a trip.
One of the strong points of the book is the merging of material from Steves' useful "Mona Winks" art guide into his Paris book. "Mona Winks" shows how you can visit the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, the Cluny Museum (highly recommended), and Versailles without killing yourself. For the Louvre, as an example, he concentrates how you can devote your attention to parts of the Sully and Denon wings and see the key works in about 2-3 hours. (Okay, if you're a purist, don't flame me: You and I would, of course, devote more time -- but that's not the issue here.)
For the most complete info on Paris, I would suggest you supplement Steves with two fantastic Internet resources: the postings on the rec.travel.europe newsgroup (especially by JACK), and the website of the RATP (which runs the Metro and buses in Paris) at [...]
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am 19. November 1999
I say just about perfect because a few additions would make this the only guidebook you will ever need for Paris. As a recently relocated American expat in London, my wife and I just took our first weekend trip to Paris (by train) with this book and the Fodor's Gold guide. If you like to walk, the walking tours are superb, Rick Steve's commentary, history, directions, anecdotes, and humor are all excellent. His guided tours of museums, churches, and other sites are all very interesting. The book also includes short trips outside the city, such as Versailles. I anticipate using this book many more times (you can only see so much in a weekend), and to make it perfect I would implore the editors to add a Paris Metro/RER map and a proper map of the city (the only maps in this edition are localized hand-drawn maps for each walk, making it difficult to guage the overall scale of the city and where things are located in relation to each other). These were the only two things that were invaluable in the Fodor's guide. Certainly it's easy enough to pick those up in the city, but I have always found it more convenient to study maps ahead of time, and have them all in one place. Overall, however, this is the one guidebook to Paris that no visitor to the city should be without.
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am 13. Juli 2000
I was surprisingly disappointed with Rick Steve's Paris after reading all its rave reviews on Amazon.com. Based on the reviews, I abandonned my usual trusty companion, the Lonely Planet, and bought this book for my recent trip to Paris. I regretted my decision from the moment I arrived in Charles de Gaulle airport until the day I departed. Upon arrival, I looked for the ATM machine which the book said would be near gate 16. However, there was no gate 16 to be found anywhere near where I emerged from Customs and the book provided no indication how far it would be. The next day, I wanted to know when the Notre Dame Cathedral was built, but was unable to find this basic information in the book. Strolling along the Seine, I came upon a beautiful large building which clearly was a landmark. The made no mention whatsoever of the building and the book's hand-sketched map of the area completely omitted the building. On another walk, I tried to find Shakespeare & Co. bookstore using the directions given in the book. (I wanted to go to the bookstore to buy another Paris travel guide!) Both I and my traveling companion (who has a Ph.D) read the directions over and over and still walked around for at least 30 minutes unable to find the bookstore. Finally, leaving Paris to go to the CDG airport, we took the RER and, based upon the book's misguided advice that most travelers to the US leave from T-1, were prepared to get off at the T-1 station. Fortunately, we spotted a poster in our train car which indicated that our US airline uses T-2. I then counted the number of US airlines using T-1 and T-2 and found that they were equally divided between the two terminals. So much for Rick Steve's advice. Those are but a few of our many disappointments with Rick Steve's book. In summary, I found that the book lacked sufficient detail, and what detail the book did provide was often inaccurate or downright wrong. Whoever does decide to buy this book in spite of this review should definitely bring along another guidebook to supplement and/or doublecheck the information provided in Rick Steve's book. As for myself, I'm returning to the Lonely Planet.
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am 2. Juli 2000
I travelled to Paris alone and depended very much on this book. Read it cover to cover before you go and then read it again when you get there. The walks are excellent though sometimes the directions are unclear (get a map). I do wish there was a better map in the book. The history and anecdotes shared about the works of art, the neighborhoods, etc., make you feel like you are having your own personal tour guide. Also, I stayed in the Rue Cler area which is now overrun with American tourists and over half of them being Rick Steves followers. THis is good and bad. Bad if you want to get away from U.S. and live among the Parisians. Good because you find yourself talking to other followers. Sitting at dinner, planning my next day by reading the book, another diner at the next table would reach into his or her bag, pull out a copy of the Rick Steves' book and we'd smile and immediately share stories. I still would recommend Rue Cler because it is quaint and the hotels are cheap (I'd pick the Hotel du Champ de Mars over the Leveque next time). And the restaurants are very good. Don't buy any of the shiny and heavy travel books...this is the only one you need (Eyewitness travel books are expensive, heavy and don't help the budget-minded traveller). Bon voyage!
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am 14. Mai 1999
We just returned from Paris. We used this book continously, even when we found ourselves a little overwhelmed by other readers following the course. Where this book is particularly useful is at the many sites that can be appreciated only by paying for an English language guidebook. My wife bought a book at Versailles only to hear me read more detail and history from Rick's book.
Beware. Rick has a cult following. If you stay at the Leveque or eat at one of his restaurant recommendations, prepare to be surrounded by Rick Steves groupies. But, buy this book and save yourself time, money and effort around Paris.
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am 10. Dezember 1999
My wife and I used Rick's book extensively while in Paris. It had many great tricks and tips about getting around Paris. Escpecially the Museums and such. But this should not be the only book that you bring. I would highly recommend Eyewitness Paris guide or Fodor's to complement Rick's book. Both have more detailed information and maps about the Metro\RER. One word of caution. Most of the Hotels and Restaraunts that are recommended in Rick's book are swamped with Rick Steve's groupies clutching his book under their arms, especially the Rue Cler area. I didn't care for all the Americans, but some people didn't mind...
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am 28. März 2000
We just returned from the City of Light with a very dog-eared copy of this book. We used it every day. We used all of the recommended walking tours - they were filled with informative commentary and easy to follow. We dreaded trying to conquer the Louvre - were intimidated by the size alone! - but Rick's guide allowed us to hit the highlights with ease. His tours of the other big museums and Versailles are excellent - interesting, funny and just irreverent enough to keep you entertained. If you are going to Paris without a personal guide, this is THE printed guide to take!
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am 21. Juli 2000
We spent 2 weeks in Paris, (June 2000) and brought Rick Steves along for the trip. His tips are wonderful and helped us avoid many lines, and crowds. We also enjoyed his commentary on the museum tours, walks and sites. He knows the city well, and give all the useful information you would need for a comfortable and exciting trip through Paris. My only critism in that the maps in the book are very limited. This book and a good city map are all you need for an enjoyable trip to the city of light.
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am 26. September 1999
I took this giude and several others with me to Paris a few weeks ago. To my surprise, this was the book I carried with me every day. His suggestions on the metro orange card and museum cards saved me many hours of waiting in lines and money for entrance fees. The walking tours are excellent. My only quibble was his suggestion to arrive late at Versailles -- one actually needs a whole and very active day to do it justice. But -- anyone going to Paris who needs a guidebook needs this one!
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