The Rough Guide to France follows its now well-established format that puts cheap eats, clubs and accommodation above comfort and style. That is its appeal for the student traveller intent on making the most of limited resources. The 2001 edition adds and updates a host of Web site addresses and includes euro price equivalents. Its 100 maps have improved measurably and its listing of map sources in England remains very helpful.
Yet the guide, despite its assurance that this is an "updated" seventh edition of the book, is a remarkably similar--and unfortunately sometimes outdated--version of much earlier guides in the France series that was launched in 1995. In this Rough Guide edition, for the most part, there are fewer restaurant listings and many of the recommendations remain the same as those touted five years ago. Those with a bit more change in their pocket might find better gastronomic satisfaction from Fodor's France or Cadogan Guide to France for upmarket touring.
On the plus side, the Rough Guide to France goes to great lengths to explain and encourage public transportation rather than driving. For cyclists, the list of routes, rentals and means of transporting bicycles across the Channel is one of the best for a broad-based guidebook. The camping section, too, has more depth than its competitors.
Take the name of the book as a guide: it's for those who want to rough it. --Kathleen Buckley