I am sure that this question is not new but I can't locate it. There are 100's of books on Paris. I am specifically looking for something with walking tours in off beaten places, with good maps and descriptions of hidden gems (buildings, eating holes, etc) In other trips I took the Eyewitness Guides, the Michelin or somehow reluctantly Rick Steve's. I am sure that there are better, in depth guides for Paris.Somebody suggested the Cadogan guide, but it is 4 years old and very hard to find. Or maybe there are some good travel guides in French? I could use them too.
For fun, off-the-beaten-tracks walks, my husband and I swear by UNexplored Paris. Even after living in Paris for decades, we still find many of the walks thrilling and surprising, and full of charm of course.
I've also got Unexplored Paris but there is a series of 3 books which I think is even better. That assumes you want to carry 3 books. It is a 3 volume series by Thirza Vallois called Around and About Paris. Each volume deals with several arrondissements and she has great walks with detailed maps for each walk. While she covers the major sites much of it describes little known and unusual buildings/history/off the beaten path sites.
I just posted this in Technology, but since it applies to this discussion, thought I'd note that the Fodor's guide to Paris is now free for iPhone and iPad Touch. Not sure how good it is though, since I haven't used it -- but for the price, it's worth a try! I believe Time Out Paris is also free for iOS.
For fun, off-the-beaten-tracks walks, my husband and I swear by Unexplored Paris.
Returning to this topic, because I found a used copy of that book on Amazon for only $1.50 (plus $4 shipping). It just arrived, and I'm really enjoying leafing through it, while dreaming about our next trip to Paris. The book seems to be out of print, so the only way to get a copy is to buy one used. But the one I got is in brand-new condition.
It actually would be a good companion for the Vallois books, since it is filled with beautiful color pictures, and the Around and About Paris series has only a few black and white drawings.
Vallois does include some maps, which Unexplored Paris lacks. But it wouldn't be hard to make a Google map with the places mentioned in the book, especially since they are all in order by arrondissement.
Glad you like it. It is full of juicy historical tidbits on streets, buildings, neighborhoods, architectural decorations, which is why, after living here all these years, we still like to pick up the book and pick a neighborhood and design a walk just for ourselves.
The book Roz found is actually the translation of a French version, Paris secret et insolite , which has a new edition that is more detailed than the English. One place in Paris where you can surely pick up a copy - and what a charming place - is the Librairie Verdeau in one of the passages couverts: Passage Verdeau. The Paris guidebook section is outside the door of the librairie.
"Walks Through Lost Paris" is a fantastic book if you want some history thrown in to your walks. Great maps and photos.
"Forever Paris: 25 Walks" is another great little hard covered book with maps that follow the footsteps of 25 famous "Parisans". Chanel, Hemingway, Picasso, Zola, Baker, Gainsbourg etc. Shows places they lived, ate and frequented. Looking forward to using it this fall.
"The Most Beautiful Walk in the World" is just a great read.
"Pariswalks" is a great detailed guide to each building and its history on the various walks. Not good for maps but the best for details and a good read.
"Paris (Step by Step)" is a great easy to carry book with lots of great maps and walks. I will use this on our October stay.
I have yet to get "Unexplored Paris". Jo&Den must have got the last cheap one on Amazon, now they want $60 for it! Found one for $27 (still too pricey for me) used on another site, but not sure if it is the English version. Is the latest one from 2009?
"The Most Beautiful Walk in the World" is just a great read.
Just got that out of the library and I totally agree. It is not a guide book, but just a wonderful book for anyone who loves Paris. John Baxter writes so well and has so many fascinating little quotes and bits of trivia sprinkled throughout. My husband said it had been a long time since he heard me chuckling so much while reading a book.
Yes, anything by John Baxter is good reading. Another recommendation, not a travel guide but a detailed tour through the streets and history of Paris, is Eric Hazan's The Idea of Paris; A History in Footsteps. Leonard Pitt's Paris; A Journey through Time employs juxtaposed archival and contemporary street photos and Gregor Dallas's Metrostop Paris gives a fascinating tour of French and Parisian history via the metro network.
As for conventional guides, I found that on last year's long awaited return visit, I hardly used the Access guide I had taken along, preferring instead to reacquaint and extend my experience of the city with selections from the boxed card set City Walks Paris; 50 Adventures on Foot, supplemented by Frommer's slim volume Memorable Walks in Paris.
Another recommendation for the large character Blay Foldex map book and street index Paris; le plan gros caracteres, which is a convenient 21x13cm and very good value at 6,50 Euros, even if the stapled cover has detached due to continuing use any time I come across a Paris street reference.
Yes, thanks Roz, it's The Invention of Paris - don't think I can blame "autofill", but at least it wasn't a complete howler like some others I've been within an ace of committing.
I'll tempt fate and take the opportunity to mention a few other favourites from my bookshelf -
The Companion Guide to Paris by Anthony Glyn and Paris; A Literary Companion by Ian Littlewood, both of which have been around for a while, and Janelle McCulloch's Paris; A Guide to the City's Creative Heart.
Yes, as Karenmc points out, it'll be the new edition - my copy is the first edition, published by Pan Macmillan in Australia in 2011. BTW, another beautifully produced book about Paris by an Australian author and first published last year (by Penguin) is Jane Paech's A Family in Paris; Stories of Food, Life and Adventure.
Another guidebook that Americano and I find very useful and delightful is Le Guide du Promeneur de Paris, with 20 great walks for the 20 arrondissements. The walks actually cover many of the spots in the book "Unexplored Paris". The maps are extremely detailed and clear.
I just got an interesting book out of the library called Paris Movie Walks. Even if you don't want to take the walks, it's useful because it has a good list of movies set in Paris that you may want to watch before or after you visit. Since it's divided up by neighborhoods for the walks, you'll know specific films that are at least partly set in the neighborhood where you might be staying.
For the non-moving, check out Permanent Parisians Apparently it has some issues with locations as one reviewer in particular points out [I didn't take it along last year], but the biographical and related info is highly readable and informative IMO.
Two of my favourites - purchased in Paris in 2010 - are "A Paris Walking Guide: 20 Charming Strolls through the Streets, Courtyards, and Gardens of Paris", and (slightly off-topic) "An Hour from Paris" for day trips from Paris by public transit, therefore with walking involved
Edited to add: If you look below on that Amazon page in the "People who bought this also bought" section, there are quite a few other books listed for a good price, including the Lonely Planet Pocket Paris guide for $1.99.