Written by locals, Fodor’s travel guides have been offering expert advice for all tastes and budgets for more than 80 years. Unforgettable artwork, heavenly villages, and dream cities–there are so many reasons to visit France that deciding where to go and what to do can be a bit overwhelming. Fodor’s Essential France takes the guesswork out of choosing the perfect French experiences by compiling the top choices chosen by Fodor’s army of France-based writers. This travel guide includes: · Dozens of full-color maps plus a handy pullout map with essential Paris information · Hundreds of hotel and restaurant recommendations, with Fodor’s Choice designating our top picks · Multiple itineraries to explore the top attractions and what’s off the beaten path · In-depth breakout features on Provence’s fields of lavender, the wine cellars of Champagne, and Mont-St-Michel’s medieval glory · Side trips from Paris including Chartres, Versailles, and Monet’s Garden · Coverage of Paris Neighbourhoods, Western Ile-de-France, Eastern Ile-de-France, Loire Valley, and Grenoble Planning to focus on just part of France? Check out Fodor’s travel guides to Paris and Provence & the French Riviera.Community Review
I go back and forth between Fodor, Rick Steves, Frommer’s, Lonely Planet, and Rough Guides to find the right one for a specific purpose. Some of the guide books are better than others, some are more useful for planning and background, while others are perfect to take along with you in case you need to dig deeper to find nontouristy things to do. This book was helpful for both planning and while touring. Written and presented in clear, precise language, it told me what I needed to know about the sites. More comprehensive than most of the others, I relied upon it to find some out of the way places beyond the main tourist sites. I bought the Kindle edition and kept in on my iPad and iPhone so it would always be handy as a reference. I used it frequently. A good choice for planning and touring many parts of France.
- It was worth the sum and I’m glad I have it. Fodor’s is one of the older guide book companies around. I’ looked inside’ a lot of different guides and I thought this gave me the best summary of the regions, some history, specifics of the the larger towns and most popular sights in them. Some smaller towns if they have a notable sight. Transportation to each destination is well-covered along with traveling tips.Most towns have at least one hotel, or the closest town with a hotel, a couple of restaurants, perhaps clubs, and what to see.
If going to Paris or a less visited region buy a book specific to it. .
The only thing I was a little disappointed with was the limited listings of hotels (and restaurants), even in big cities. This is somewhat expected in an ‘essential’ book. They acknowledge the limited selection, which runs to the rare and expensive, and refer you to the Fodor’s website promising a fuller listing. Their listing is the Expedia website. If that works for you, no problem. However, many accommodations aren’t listed on Expedia. This is an example of the book ‘essentially’ saying you need to research it further on your own.
This is not a bad guide book it is just that compared to other books Rick Steve’s for one there is a lack of ay Mont St Michel this book has nothing on what to expect on arrival about shuttles to island etc. whereas Rick’s book has very detailed arriving and touring details including hand drawn maps of parking etc. Really needs to be more immersive.
- For two years, I worked at the University of Grenoble in France. I have made several trips back to France since then. During my years in France, I had lots of time to explore. France essentially shuts down in August. It seems like everyone heads to the ocean or the Mediterranean. Each summer in August, when my university closed, I took off on bicycle. At an easy pace of 60 miles per day, I was able to do 1200 miles in three weeks. I have also traveled in France by train and auto.
Every month or two, I would find my way to Paris by train. It really is the cultural center of Europe, if not the world. You cannot move without tripping over a museum or historical site. I hung out with friends, French and American, but I did a lot of exploring on my own. For Paris, I choose the Orangerie for the Monet Water Lilies. How did Woody Allen get permission to film a scene for Midnight in Paris in front of the Water Lilies? It may have helped that Carla Bruni, a cast member, was married to the President of France.
The Fodor’s Essential France provides good coverage of attractions, cultural institutions, and museums. It also describes shopping, restaurants, and hotels. My first impression was – OMG look at the size of the thing. It is over eight hundred pages! The guide is a lot to take in at once, as is France. It does include many of my favorites: Avignon, the Mediterranean Coast from Nice to Monaco, Chartres, The Bayeux Tapestry, Mont St. Michel, and Carnac. I did not find a mention of the Tour de France. Watch it on TV in July to see how beautiful the country is. The guide is sketchy on alpine ski areas. It omits Alpe d’Huez and Chamrousse, Olympic areas, where I learned to ski. The Piste du Tunnel at Alpe d’Huez used to be my favorite. You pole through a tunnel cut through the mountain at 3,000 m (10,000 ft), then exit, and oh!!! See photos.
My advice: see Paris, put up with the Parisians, and then get out of town. The further south you go in France, the nicer the people are. Bicycling through the Alps from Grenoble to Nice (two hundred miles, three days), we encountered a spring snow storm going up a mountain pass. A woman came out of her house to ask if we needed anything!
I recommend the Rhone Valley, the Alps, where I used to live, and the Mediterranean. Go to the Rhone Valley for the wine, to the Alps for the skiing in the winter, and further south to the Mediterranean, where the scenery is terrific and the weather is mild all year round.
As for this guide, I find that is is heavy on descriptions in small text, but light on photographs. I prefer the Lonely Planet guides, which have more photos. You cannot do all of France in a week. You can skim through the Fodor’s and then choose a region. Despite its eight hundred pages, it is not detailed enough. There are many regional guides available from Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, Frommer’s, Michelin, and others. Read the guide, but leave it at home. Use the regional guides for your travel.