The 10 Best Paris Travel Books

Updated June 20, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

Your Great Trip To France
WiKIDly Awesome Travels
Food Lover's Guide
Whether you're looking to visit the City of Lights for the first time or you find you just can't stay away, these Paris travel books will enable you to enjoy the city to its fullest extent. We've included editions that are perfect for families and young kids, as well as more detailed options for seasoned travelers and foodies. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best paris travel book on Amazon.

10. Food Lover's Guide

If cuisine is your ultimate motivator for a trip to France, don't go without Patricia Wells' Food Lover's Guide. With its 457 entries and 40 recipes, the author uses this resource to elegantly describe and recommend the best restaurants, wine bars, and bistros in the city.
  • 448 pages in total
  • includes outdoor markets
  • lacks a good index
Publisher Patricia Wells
Model n/a
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

9. Bright Lights Paris

Take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the City of Lights from a style-oriented point of view with Angie Niles' Bright Lights Paris. This book features hundreds of beautiful photographs and original fashion illustrations along with tips from celebrities, chefs, and bloggers.
  • insight into the parisian lifestyle
  • clever and fun to read
  • not ideal as a family guide
Publisher Niles, Angie
Model n/a
Weight 12.6 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Fodor's Guide

Created by knowledgeable locals for first-time visitors, the Fodor's Guide helps you to get the most out of your experience with crisp photos and a wealth of information on renowned museums, bars, hotels, and some of the best restaurants around.
  • makes the landmarks easy to find
  • detachable laminated map
  • kindle edition is problematic
Publisher Fodor's Guide
Model n/a
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Forever Paris

Forever Paris offers a unique tour of the city through the eyes, experiences, and perspectives of famous authors, musicians, politicians, and chefs, ensuring that your journeys are full of knowledge as well as an appreciation for Parisian culture and history.
  • price is very affordable
  • durable hardcover
  • some info isn't very practical
Publisher Chronicle Books
Model n/a
Weight 7.8 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. WiKIDly Awesome Travels

Spark your little one's interest in international travel with the WiKIDly Awesome Travels guide. This colorful activity set puts your child in the driver's seat of their own discoveries through useful facts, snippets of history, and fun multiple choice quizzes.
  • space to draw attractions
  • french phrases in simple phonetics
  • fits easily into most day bags
Publisher WiKIDly Awesome Travels
Model n/a
Weight 4.6 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Frommer's Day by Day

Authored by longtime local experts, Frommer's Day by Day is an easy-to-carry, itinerary-based guide written to teach readers to see the best of the capital in a limited period of time. Its chapters offer theme-based, self-guided tours for almost any interest.
  • neighborhood walks
  • photo quality is crisp and clear
  • the maps are a bit confusing
Publisher imusti
Model n/a
Weight 0.8 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Rick Steves 2017

Rick Steves 2017 offers information on self-guided tours and historic walks through some of the most well-known places and quaint neighborhoods in the city, including the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame cathedral. Rick's descriptions are both humorous and helpful.
  • written in a friendly tone
  • compact size makes it easy to carry
  • pages can rip easily
Publisher Avalon Travel Publishin
Model n/a
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Your Great Trip To France

Written by Carolee Duckworth and Brian Lane, Your Great Trip To France gives you the tools, itineraries, and knowledge to keep you informed and intrigued during a 2-week trip through the country. In addition to Paris, Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, and more are on the menu.
  • helpful tips for cutting costs
  • guides for traveling by train
  • personal stories add color and depth
Publisher Your Great Trip To Fran
Model n/a
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Mission Paris Top-Secret

Mission Paris Top-Secret keeps the whole family captivated and entertained by guiding you to historical locations through an interactive, spy-themed scavenger hunt as you explore the city's landmarks with your kids and earn points for what you've learned.
  • fun for both children and adults
  • sparks your imagination
  • plenty of room for notes
Publisher Mission Paris Top-Secre
Model n/a
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. The Little Black Book Of Paris

If you don't fancy the idea of being marked as a tourist with a big, obvious city guidebook in hand, The Little Black Book Of Paris can provide you with a greater level of discretion. It's filled with easy-to-understand instructions that are numbered and color-coded.
  • elaborate neighborhood maps
  • elastic band keeps it closed
  • great transportation information
Publisher Peter Pauper Press Inc
Model n/a
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Why Take The Guided Tour?

So, you’ve decided to pack up your favorite suitcase and take that trip you’ve been putting off for too long, the one that will take you straight through the heart of the city of lights. You’ve made a good choice. Paris is one of the most culturally rewarding places to visit on earth, boasting everything from some of the world’s finest museums to some of its most delectable foods. Of course, there’s also the wine to consider. Lots and lots of wine.

How much wine? According to one report from the USDA, an average French citizen over the age of 14 consumes about 43.4 liters of wine each year, or nearly 58 750ml bottles. (And you thought your 15-year-old was drinking too much.) Of course, the reality is that much of this wine is consumed responsibly over the course of a day and is often accompanied by a meal. For a foreigner, all that wine might be a little disorienting, which is all the more reason to have a book you can refer to to get yourself to the next bar.

There’s a good chance that, if you’re traveling to France from America, you don’t speak much French. That can make it difficult to find the best places to eat or to stay, the places that are a little out of the way and that will give you a real sense of what it’s like to live in Paris, not just stay at a fancy hotel or a rundown hostel. I’ll admit that I got lucky during my own trip to Paris, when my good friend and I were absolutely starving and the owner of a nearby restaurant that was about to close gave us walking directions to what he described as the best falafel in the city. This, however, is rarely the case.

It’s much smarter to hit Paris with some kind of a game plan, even if parts of that game plan include winging it. After all, if you want to surprise yourself with a random restaurant for dinner, you’d better do it in a neighborhood that has plenty of restaurants, otherwise you could end up circling a predominantly residential area for hours, not sure where all the food went.

That’s why it’s so important to invest in a good travel book for your trip to Paris. These texts can give you just the right amount of insight you need to make your trip truly special. Many are small enough to fit in your pocket or a travel bag, and all will add value to your experience.

What To Look For In A Paris Travel Book

There is no shortage of tomes devoted to dissecting the many routes you can take through Paris. The key then to understanding which book is right for you lies in your reason for going to Paris in the first place. If you can clearly define why you want to make the trip, the right book should be an obvious choice.

For example, if you’re traveling with a family, and you want to give your young children a memorable cultural experience, then a book that can take you to all the historical spots most relevant to the French Democratic Revolution might just be lost on them. It’d be better to find a book loaded with activities that sneak in bits of historical information (if that’s your thing) and actually give your kids a reason to interact with the space around them. That way, they won’t have their faces buried in whatever smartphone you regret buying them.

For adult travelers, the options are even more plentiful. Many of the travel books on the market exist to guide you to the best food you will ever eat, and it’s always a good idea to listen to their recommendations for specific dishes. These can be especially helpful if you want to dedicate your trip to a certain kind of French cuisine, or if you happen to have any dietary restrictions.

If you’re more the bohemian type of traveler, who takes what comes as it comes, and who doesn’t want to have your day planned out in advance it’s still a good idea to get a book dedicated to your style of travel. These will include sparse details about the city, perhaps a map or two just in case, a guide to the transit system, and plenty of blank space for writing or drawing to your heart’s content. You may find that all that freedom in a beautiful city (and all that wine) have you feeling pretty inspired.

Other Paris Travel Essentials

Whether you’re a first-time international traveller, or you’re a seasoned veteran of the border crossing, there are a few things that you can use to make your journey more pleasant. None of these is necessarily a must-have, but you will be thankful for them if you should ever need them.

For starters, a lot of foreign countries are home to pickpockets who can spot a tourist from a mile away. To protect your things, it might be wise to invest in some kind of travel wallet. These often come with RFID-blocking infrastructure, as well, so more contemporary thieves won’t be able to access your credit card information using new technologies.

Another thing you’ll be thankful you brought along is a simple day bag or weekender. If you plan to take any trips to Versailles or a locale where you might need to freshen up, but you won’t be able to run back to the hotel, you don’t want to have to lug around your entire suitcase. Investing in a small bag lets you get around the city, its outskirts, and beyond, without having to fret about not having a clean shirt on you.

Finally, if you’re traveling in the summertime, bring yourself a water bottle. This simple investment can save you a ton of money when you’re out and about, and it’ll keep you from getting any more dehydrated than you already are after the three bottles of bordeaux you drank the night before.

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Last updated on June 20, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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