Travel Planning Tools
Most guide books are written at the level of an entire country, although you can get some that cover all of Europe and others that cover only a particular region. Typically, the smaller the area covered, the more detailed the information, and vice versa.
Fodor's has the most extensive texts, and covers things from the upper-middle class tourist's perspective. It covers most of the sights of interest, subject to the limitation of space. It doesn't carry many pictures, and sometimes looks at locations through rose-colored glasses. The Insight guides are also written from the classic tourist's perspective, but offer many pages of full color photos of locales, art, and architecture. The Rough guides reflect the perspective of the student and intellectual. They tend to offer more realistic, and even sometimes critical, perspectives of the more popular tourist sites. They also tend to give a bit more of the historical perspective on locales.
These are all general purpose travel guides, with sections covering all the essential details of planning a trip to the country in question. They are organized by regions within the country, focusing on the sights and towns within the region.
The Michelin Green guides are also general purpose travel guides, but are organized alphabetically by city rather than geographically by region. For France, the Michelin guides cover specific regions rather than the entire country. They therefore offer information on a larger number of cities and towns.
Unfortunately, there are times where you want to visit a city where nothing is listed, or the property listed in "Hotels and Country Inns" is out of your price range. In those cases, we like to use the Michelin Red Guide for the country. The Red Guide lists and rates almost all of the hotels in a given city. It provides a rating (from 'simple' to 'luxurious'), lists the number of rooms, the amenities, and the basic rates for each hotel. It also provides a city map with the locations of the hotels marked.
Copyright 2001 Harry B. Rowe