A friend recommended his tourbook, and we bought it as one of 3 Paris tourbooks besides DK’s and Knopf’s. It’s unmistakenably written by American for Americans, but I like his attitude. Here’s a quote from his Back Door Travel Philosophy (printed in the book):

Globetrotting destroys ethnocentricity. It helps you understand and appreciate different cultures. Travel changes people. It broadens perspectives and teaches new ways to measure quality of life. Many travelers toss aside their hometown blinders. Their prized souvenirs are the strands of different cultures they decide to knit into their own character.

BTW his book, like Frommers and Lonely Planet (later borrowed from library), is focused on praticality. We’ve been using DK’s as our main guide for all our European trips, because the books are beautifully printed, durable, comprehensive, and well organized. It focuses on history more than praticality, sometimes bogged down too much in uninteresting anecdotals. We saw the Knopf’s book in the bookstore, and it’s even more beautifully printed (with many colorful glossy pages) and less practical, but it’s a nice side read.

No enough books can describe the City of Light. We just hope the strike will be over in a month…


More on RS’ book. It’s organized in such a way that it’s hard to look up info on a particular place (like DK book), because it’s scattered in several sections, starting with sights (brief description), then walks (in depth for some places like Notre Dame), then tours (details for some places like Louvre). So it’s really good for “lazy” travellers who want to follow the book exactly. They’ll read the sights in general, then follow the walks, and look up the tour when they’re at a specific site. Not for us, though I pick up a ton of good info.

Some humorous lines:

La Madeleine … a postcard facade and a postbox interior.

(Montparnasse Tower has) the added bonus of one of Paris’ best views–the Eiffel Tower is in sight, and Montparnasse Tower isn’t.

Maybe even greater than Charles (Charlemagne equstrian at Notre Dame) are the nearby pay toilets–the cleanest you’ll find in downtown Paris.

(Giverny is) worth a visit if you like Monet more than you hate crowd.

The French spend at least as much on their babies as they do on their dogs.

Like back home, the LOTO is a big deal–and a lucrative way for the government to tax poor and less educated people.

(In church of St. Pierre-de-Montmatre) along the right wall, rub St. Peter’s toe (again–first in Sacre-Coeur), look up, and ask for deliverance from the tourist mobs outside.

(End of Louvre tour:) In A.D. 2003, five thousand years of invasions, violence, and regime change finally came to an end when peace, prosperity, an democracy were established for all time in Iraq by the USA under the benevolent guidance of GWB.

If you like Impressionism, visit this museum. If you don’t like Impressionism, visit this museum. Sure, ya gotta see the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, but after you get your gottas out of the way, enjoy the Orsay.

Even if the rest of you is sleeping in a cheap hotel, let your taste buds travel first-class in Paris–They can go coach in London.

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