As soon as we opened the book and saw who the main author was for this Michelin Paris Guide we knew it would be good. The Principal Writer is Heather Stimmler-Hall, though the book doesn’t seem to say anything about her at all. This is a great shame as we knew her name immediately. She has written regularly about Paris since 1999, and in 2002 created a brilliant website called Secrets of Paris. There could be few better authors to guide visitors through the French capital.
As well as the city itself, the Michelin Green Guide to Paris covers several of the most popular excursions: Versailles, Disneyland Resort Paris, the Château of Chantilly, Chartres, and Fontainebleau. These are no minor add-ons, either. The entry on Fontainebleau, for example, runs to ten very detailed pages telling you everything you could possibly want to know about the Palais. It could perhaps do with a little more practical information, like how long it will take you to get there from Paris, and how far the Palais is from the train station, but other than that it’s impressive in its detail.
Michelin is best known, of course, for its Red Guides, guides which set the standards for restaurants all over the world and also rate the best hotels. You might therefore expect their Green Guide to give comprehensive coverage of where to stay and where to eat – and it does. There are several pages of hotel reviews at the back of the book, arranged byarrondissement and covering everything from youth hostels and economy chain hotels through to more expensive options. A quick check, though, shows that the Green Guide isn’t treading on the Red Guide’s toes as Paris’s ultimate luxury hotels like the Ritz, George V, and Le Meurice are all missing. Nor will you find the top Michelin 3-Star restaurants rated in this Green Guide. The publishers obviously want you to buy both books.
If you’re not planning to stay in 5-Star luxury or dine out at Michelin-starred restaurants, though, it will be hard to find a more comprehensive guide to Paris. We were particularly impressed by the quality and number of maps in the book. They include not only numerous helpful street maps, and maps of major museums like the Louvre (right), but also plans of smaller museums and churches, which pick out the highlights for you. All the attractions have specific admission prices and opening hours included, and the write-ups are very detailed.
The book also contains 16 walking tours of Paris, including obvious places like the Marais, Montmartre, the Bastille, and the Champs-Élysées, and some less-obvious ones like Passy and Les Gobelins. There are also two suggested tours of the Louvre, one guiding you round the highlights inside and a second tour showing the best of the often-neglected exterior.
This Michelin Green Guide to Paris is definitely worth buying. It’s attractively laid-out, informative, and has the insider knowledge that the long-resident expert author brings. There are several really good guides to the city, including the Time Out guide, and this Michelin guide is certainly up there with the best of them.
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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.
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