Michelin's Green Guide to Alsace, Lorraine and Champagne covers all of the basics of interest to English-speaking readers wishing to plan a trip to any or all of these parts of France. As always, the maps gracing front and back covers and sprinkled throughout are full of necessary information. Inside the front cover a color-coded rating of sites helps the reader pick out what is 'highly recommended,' 'recommended,' and 'interesting'. Many other sites are mentioned that don't rise to the level of these three major categories of interest. Some maps and descriptions are devoted to suggesting outstanding areas for driving tours in each region. I always find that the maps of historic city centers repay careful study. The major attractions, the rail station, the recommended hotels and the recommnded restaurants are located on these maps.
The guide begins by covering the basics: passport, visa requirements (none for US citizens), valid drivers licenses, airport arrival and clearing customs, train travel, car rental and the like. Suggestions are made for activities of interest in each of the regions covered by the guide. Short histories and food profiles and an overview of cultural information are given for each region. There is a short essay and a good map of the Champagne wine region and a shorter summary of the wines and beer of Alsace and suggested routes for touring them. Military history buffs will find maps, timelines and descriptions of sites ranging from the Franco-Prussian War through World War I and World War II. Ecology travelers will find special essays and maps about major nature parks and local geology. Historical essays cover major periods (e.g., the renaissance) and include interesting timelines.
A major improvement in these guides in recent editions is that they now include a fuller restaurant section emphasizing good value and good food. The famous 'starred' places are not picked out here (buy the much larger Red Guide.) Type of cuisine and prices for different menues on offer are clearly stated along with contact telephone, web site (where one exists) and a notation of whether reservations are recommended or required. Information about each major local attraction is presented in useful detail--where is it, what is there, when it is open, and so on. These guides now include a reasonable number of pictures in full color, which adds to their interest. The format of about 8 3/4 inches by 4 3/4 inches x 3/4 inch thick allows this guide to be taken along in a day pack for on-site reference.
We have been over this book 'constantly' in preparing for our upcoming five-week trip to each of these areas. If you are only visiting one of the areas the book will still amply repay your purchase and perusal. We are also using other guides for supplementary information (Fodor's, Frommer, Dorling-Kindersley) but this is the guide to get if you are only buying one guide. We very much like Rick Steves' guide books but he does not really cover this area in his books.