|Subject: Re: Paris guidebooks, walking, eating|
With respect to walking guides, I've used ParisWalks and Walking Paris: Thirty Original Walks in and Around Paris (2nd Ed.). Perhaps it's me and perhaps it's Paris but I haven't found them that helpful. Paris is such an easy city to walk in with so many wonderful sights that I haven't wanted to be constrained by someone else's idea of a good walk I guess. I suggest that you purchase a good guide--perhaps the Eyewitness guidebook and a pocket summary guide such as InsightMap Paris (I chose the latter simply because it has a map, the major highlights, and can easily fit into the back pocket of your pants or purse). Concentrate on identifying what you want to see in each area, such as the Left Bank, and then simply plot a walk that takes in as many as possible.
With respect to dining out, I'll mention a couple of books. First, I always take the Marling Menu-Master for France with me. French restaurants are required to post their menus outside; unfortunately, most culinary terms are not found in a pocket dictionary. If you know little or no French, you can consult this guide and the menus posted outside most French restaurants, and decide what you're going to order before you even go inside--invaluable.
I've used Patricia Well's Food Lover's Guide to Paris, 4th edition as well as The Paris Cafe Cookbook : Rendezvous and Recipes from 50 Best Cafes. The former is simply outstanding; the latter is interesting reading but doesn't compare for usefulness. All of Ms. Wells recommendations were great. What Kirsten and I'd do, once we found the hotel/area that we were going to stay in, was to identify a list of possible restaurants/bistros/cafes from Ms. Well's book and other sources such as recommendations. During our wanderings each day we'd make sure that we checked out a couple of potential restaurants. Once at the restaurant we'd use the Menu-Master to determine what restaurant's menu sounded best to us that day. We'd have the front desk make us reservations. Voila! It worked flawlessly and we had some very very good meals. Have a great time!
Mark and Kirsten Sacramento