This is my review of Paris Must Sees Guide (Michelin Must Sees) (Michelin Must Sees Guide) by Michelin.
Relatively inexpensive and easy to carry round, I thought this would be a useful guide with its businesslike approach of:
– dividing central Paris into areas with a map for each and suggested walking tours with highlights noted
– classifying Paris by attractions on a one to three star scale, and by places of interest such as galleries, markets or parks and gardens.
In fact, I found it quite hard to use. The maps proved too small – a double-page spread for each would have been better. The routes proved an unsatisfactory way of exploring an area since I (or my companion!) was constantly attracted by more interesting alleys and buildings off to the sides. In such a "bitty" book in which information is so fragmented, a fuller index is necessary. For instance, you cannot find the Pantheon or the Latin Quarter in the index, which is annoying when you are trying to obtain details quickly.
I wondered at times how well the author(s) really knew Paris. How can you write about say, le Pont des Arts without mentioning that its glittering appearance is due to the thousands of padlocks attached to it in an informal ritual practised by couples? How can you write about the Pantheon without mentioning the long-term plans for its renovation and the beautiful church of St. Etienne nearby, and the tower which is all that remains of an adjacent church which was abandoned and destroyed because the Pantheon was meant to replace it – until it was decided to make it a secular building? Why not mention the fact that the Jardin des Plantes adjoins a zoo, and that quite a few sections of the area seem closed or run down?
On a more practical note, when mentioning boat trips, why omit some of the alternatives to the famous Bateaux-mouches such as the Bateaux Parisiens which seem very popular and why not be precise about where to pick up the useful Batobus, for which the eight stops could easily be listed?
In short, although there is a good deal of information in this book, it is too brief and chopped up to be readily absorbed and easily used.