A guide to the guides to Paris
January 25, 2017 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Heading to Paris in mid-March and super excited! Of course, there's so much information out there, so please tell me: What are your favorite guides to Paris? Websites, articles, lists, books, apps; restaurants, bars, museums, shopping, etiquette—any medium, any topic.

If it helps, we are an M-F couple in our late 30s, no kids, U.S. citizens, traveling from JFK to CDG. I've been to Paris a few times, but not since 2002. She has never been to Europe before. Thanks!
posted by DavidNYC to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (17 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
You can't go wrong with Atlas Obscura. I haven't used it in Paris (I've used it successfully in many other places though, including Mexico City) but from glancing over their listings it looks like there are some real gems there: http://www.atlasobscura.com/things-to-do/paris-france. I've been to the Catacombs and they are astonishing.
posted by simonw at 11:15 AM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Rick Steves is legend for good reason. When I first went a few years ago we used his recommendations to find a hotel that was just right. His books do a really good job of "here's enough for you to know to generally grok" without being totally encyclopedic. Also, he's a pot-smoking nerd with unabashed liberal cred, so I feel like I'm really his target demographic. YMMV...
posted by Sublimity at 11:36 AM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

We buy this Knopf map guide if it's available for every major city we visit. It's a compact map that has lots of street detail, fits easily in your bag, easy to consult, etc. The one for Venice was invaluable!
posted by ersatzkat at 11:37 AM on January 25, 2017

Strong second for Rick Steves. His Paris book is very in depth and has some fun walking tours. Any time I do something he says is a bad idea, I regret it (i.e., going to the Louvre on a Monday). Rick knows his stuff!
posted by something something at 11:40 AM on January 25, 2017

Invisible Paris is a quirky blog that looks at things that are kind of the opposite of Rick Steves. Steves is good, don't get me wrong, but he focuses mostly on the mainstream tourist attractions.

FWIW, if you can get a true chip+PIN credit card before you go, it's very useful. A chip card that only uses signature authentication is worthless at any unattended machine, such as ticket machines in metro stations. (The only exceptions are places like the Louvre, where the automated ticket machines do take mag stripe cards IIRC.) Most US chip+PIN cards will still default to signature authentication at attended points of sale, such as restaurants, but they do allow you to use the PIN at unattended points.
posted by brianogilvie at 11:43 AM on January 25, 2017

Cycling and Cycling.
posted by sixpack at 11:45 AM on January 25, 2017

David Lebovitz's guide to Paris restaurants won't steer you wrong.
posted by asterix at 11:50 AM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I really like"eye witness guides" which are a great start for the whole family as it's a good way to see what attractions will catch your eye. From there a typical guidebook like Rick Stevens or lonely planet will help you work on logistics from there
posted by raccoon409 at 11:59 AM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

An Hour from Paris

Paris Walks - On Foot Guides

Get the MetrO app and download the Paris info. This is a great app that leads you easily through the Paris metro.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:10 PM on January 25, 2017

Never been to Paris, but I like to travel with a combination of Rick Steves and Lonely Planet. Rick Steves is great, but a bit lacking in breadth - while he'll cover some less-on-the-beaten-path (I wouldn't quite say off it) stuff, he focuses very much on the "Rick Steves tour" and leaves everything else out. Lonely Planet guides tend to have less detailed opinions and historical/background information, but they cover a little bit of everything. The two complement each other well.
posted by breakin' the law at 2:26 PM on January 25, 2017

I found the Join Us In France podcast to be pretty helpful before our trip last September.
posted by misseva at 3:27 PM on January 25, 2017

I really, really loved the City Walks: Paris deck (humboldt32 referenced the guide above). If you are feeling especially drool, there is also a deck for kids. If you are hankering to study buildings, there is also a deck to fill that need.

My other goto is The Little Bookroom, which has published a bunch of little guidebooks on Paris + France. My personal favorite is Quiet Corners of Paris.

And I would be remiss if I did not include the dear little guidebook my secret quonsar sent me several years ago.

And this particular Michelin map has saved me some trouble on my trips!

Note: If your partner is the journaling type, a nice touch may be Moleskine's Paris City Notebook?
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 5:04 PM on January 25, 2017

I would like to highly recommend the blog Messy Nessy Chic for an electic list of Parisian hotels, eateries, and hidden gems. She also has a "Don't Be A Tourist" menu. Great fun.
posted by MovableBookLady at 5:12 PM on January 25, 2017

Get a copy of the current issue of Pariscope while you're there even if you don't read French.
posted by brujita at 5:22 PM on January 25, 2017

Paris from the Guardian Travel pages.
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 10:22 PM on January 25, 2017

The excellent Citymapper app knows Paris transport very well.
posted by simonw at 11:27 PM on January 25, 2017

Paris by Mouth is a good food guide.
posted by vacapinta at 8:09 AM on January 26, 2017

« Older Reading iPad apps for a 5 year old boy   |   Vision care, 2017 edition Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.