4 out of 4 stars
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With so many movies and television shows revealing the beauty of Paris I've always been curious to visit. Visiting a foreign country is scary, though, especially when English isn't the official language! I was amazed at how much less scary it seemed when I started reading Paris Linked Up For Beginners by Colleen Katz - she really breaks down not only the best places to eat and visit but also gives great tips on nearly everything. Colleen originally wrote the book for coworkers, but with over 50 Paris visits under her belt she decided to expand upon it and make it for everyone.
The book begins with how to prepare for a trip to Paris, including hotel and restaurant reservations, app and website suggestions (along with tips for even those who aren't so tech savvy), some vital French phrases and when to use them and tips for how to act, such as greeting everyone using either Madame or Monsieur and beginning every encounter with at least basic French before just diving into English. Colleen also has a chapter on what times of year are good and bad, along with some major events and holidays.
From here, the book delves into detailed listings of restaurants, hotels, museums, places to shop and more. Each listing, where applicable, lists the name, a solid description of it, which arrondissement (an area, essentially, of Paris. They're numbered) it's located in, a phone number, address and which public transportation can get you there.
The book then closes with additional tips. This includes things like numerous pickpocketing methods and scams to avoid (applicable with traveling anywhere), details on how to use phones in Paris (and how folks can call you from the US while you're there), how to use Parisian public transportation and which pass is best for you, a comparison of the Paris Pass vs the Museum Pass and a list of things for kids (like a website that shows all the places Madeline, of the Madeline books, visited!). Perhaps my favorite little addition, personally, is the list of free things to do (including the days when museums are free) - when we visited Chicago we planned largely around the free museum days and it saved us a bunch of money!
Colleen's experience as a visitor to Paris really shines throughout the whole book. There are such incredible details throughout, like which directions to take once arriving at some of the museums and galleries to see the best things, or directions from one location to another nearby that makes a great combination. There's also a great "two day whirlwind tour" in the last chapter that explores a great deal of Paris in great detail, even going as far as to set the times of each stop.
The writing is top notch for a tourism guide; over the 150ish pages I read I only counted 4 errors. There's also some sneaky humor and some great facts along with the information, and it's incredible just how many topics are covered. I must note, however, that I reviewed an HTML file version of this book so the page count is based on the Amazon page and the images that are in the book didn't load for me.
Overall, I'd say this is an absolute necessity for anyone considering visiting Paris. The fact that it's also an ebook means it's one less thing to have to pack and it's far more easily accessible anytime from your phone. The way it utilizes website links everywhere it can means the book is also as up to date as possible despite being originally published in 2014, and getting additional information or checking prices, hours or directions is just a click away. It's easy to rate this one 4 out of 4 stars!
Paris Linked Up For Beginners
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