It's easy to get around in Provence. You don't really need a map or a guide to find a good restaurant or a small corner of tranquility or a busy summer market. But without a map to point out the highlights and help you navigate, you'll be absolutely amazed at how many places you can drive by and not notice ... until someone asks you if you saw such-in- such. So take at least one map and one guidebook - or sections thereof, if you like to travel light. You can chose between the well done, but brief, Knopf Guides for convenience or the Michelin "all inclusive" approach.

We also have used (and like) the DK additions and, for the less traveled path (including editorial as to what's good and what's over-rated) try Rick Steve's.

MAPS
Knopf Paris Guide - perfect to carry along and look-up all the top places on a tourists list or to find an undiscovered spot. The book consists of 8 map pages that open out and show several points of interest. These are really convenient and just enough information for people who like to explore, but don't want to lug around a 500 page Guide. The Provence Guide features 6 easy-to-use fold out map pages highlighting many of the famous attractions in Provence and the Cote d'Azur. For complete details - ad infinitum - try the Michelin or Steves Guides, all hundreds of pages and mind numbing detail. But for convenience and a great day, the Knopf guides are my favorite.

The Gold Standard in Maps - there are others as good, but start here.

Michelin is a tire company, if you didn't know. They started publishing their Guides and Maps to encourage the French to travel more ... and, I suppose, use more tires in the process.

If you are driving, you won't mind carrying along a good Atlas. I like this one. It's a bit bigger than most. Detail is good.

Guides

This is the most complete guide you will find. Others may be more readable or more interesting or easier to cary around ... but Michelin is the standard, by which the others are judged. If you want a thorough, albeit lengthy, guide, start here for Provence.

There are about 300 or so Michelin Guides for France, alone. If you are heading to the Riveria, which I always thought was part of Provence (although very different), you'll need a second guide. There is a Michelin Guide for all of France, if you'd rather be more compact ... or try one of the ones below.

Rick Steve's Guides cover much of the same territory as most guides, but with a running commentary as to what's worth it and what's really not. My son recommended this one - if your hair's a lot darker than mine ... or even if it's not, try this one if you are lokking for a guide that is a little different.

Rick Steve works hard at making travel enjoyable and hassle free. His Paris Guide moves off the well trodden path to Paris as the Parisians see it. If you are looking for a guidebook that is more practical than most, get this one.

Hungry? Well ... Michelin is the standard, again. When a chef gets a Michelin star, his recoognition and fame shoot up like. Chefs are like Rock Stars, in France. But watch out - the prices usually go up, too.

Fodor's Guides are always well done and a little more condensed than Michelin.

Frommer has left behind the "Europe on $% a day" mentality. Their lodging recommendations are often more economical than others, but the tour guide part is very well done.

If you're driving, consider this one. They don't spend much time on all the rail and bus schedules, like most guides, and they don't mind getting off the beaten path. Carol and I have taken a few of the routes. I liked it.

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  • Paris Guides