We first saw the guidebook to San Francisco in this new Make My Day series of travel guides from Lonely Planet, and while we were at first skeptical we discovered that the books could be the perfect guides for first-time visitors.
The guides do look strange at first, even a bit of a gimmick, we thought. The majority of the book is made up of un-numbered pages, a little like kids' books where you can flip over the different sections and build, say, a creature with the head, body and legs of three different animals.
In the case of these travel guides, what you're building is the Perfect Day. The three sections of the page are the three different times of day – Morning, Afternoon, and Evening. In the morning, for example, you might feel you really have to see the Eiffel Tower. Perhaps in the afternoon you feel like a stroll in the Jardin des Tuileries, and in the evening you want a bit of nightlife so you head for the Rue de Lappe in the Bastille. So you open the book to those three different sections, slip the built-in elasticated band round the page, and there you have it – your own Perfect Day.
Ah, you might think, but suppose the activities are nowhere near each other. Well, they've thought of that – and this must have taken a lot of planning. Along the top of the bottom two selections is a strip showing different lengths of time using different modes of transport – on foot, by bus or by metro. And at the bottom of the top two selections is an arrow, pointing to the right time and recommended way of getting there. It's devilishly clever.
On the left-hand side is simply the name of the attraction, a photo, and a few catchy words: 'Make no bones about it' for the Catacombs, and 'Former train station turned art gallery' for the Musée d'Orsay.
On the right-hand side are a few sentences of description, a small map showing the location and nearest metro stations, and a recommendation for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's a very simple format, but it works. You may feel you do also need to buy a regular guidebook, to tell you more about the attractions. After all, you can't describe the Louvre in two sentences.
Another attractive feature of this series is the price. It's spiral-bound, on thick glossy car rather than regular paper, and it has both the elasticated band and a bookmark built in. There's also a pull-out map with a street index, a public transport map, a more detailed map of Montmartre – and a pocket inside the back cover to slip the map into. All this and the UK cover price is only £5.99, the US price $9.99.
If it's your first time in the city and you're there just for one or two days, this guide could be very helpful in planning out your time. It gives you just 39 choices of top attractions, 13 for each time of day. It will make life simpler in choosing what to see. If you're a regular visitor, though, or are going for several days – well, buy a regular guide instead.
Dec 26, 16 03:03 AM
Beyond London Travel visits Floors Castle near Kelso in the Scottish Borders, family home of the Duke of Roxburghe and one of VisitScotland's 5-star visitor attractions, a Scottish Downton Abbey.
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The Beyond London Travel Books page reviews guidebooks, history, mysteries and fiction to help readers enjoy their visits to England, the UK, France, and beyond.
Dec 04, 16 12:20 PM
Beyond London Travel reviews Food Trails, a new guidebook from Lonely Planet for the culinary traveller which helps you plan 52 Perfect Weekends in the world's tastiest destinations.