About Secrets of Paris

American-born travel journalist and guidebook author Heather Stimmler-Hall created the Secrets of Paris in 1999 to share the hidden side of the City of Light. Discover what you've been missing:

* Custom Travel Content 
* Free Paris Resource Guide
* Calendar of interesting Paris events
* Private Tours
* Monthly Secrets of Paris newsletter
* Secrets of Paris Videos

Read more about the Secrets of Paris here


Calendar of Paris Events

January 7 - February 17
The annual Winter Sales, aka Les Soldes, take place beginning midnight in shops throughout France, particularly on clothing.

Through February 15
Skate on the Eiffel Tower! There is an ice skating rink on the first level of the Eiffel Tower, free for those who already have a ticket for the Tower, open daily 10:30am-10:30pm. Skip the line by taking the stairs, it will help you warm up, too! Skates size 25-47 (EU), gloves are required. 

Through February 15
At the Place de la Concorde is the Grande Roue Ferris Wheel. Each enclosed "car" holds six people. €10 for adult, €5 for kids under 10, open daily 11am-midnight (Fri-Sat until 1am).  

Secrets of Paris gives 10% of all tour fees
to the French food bank, Les Restos du Coeur

Secrets of Paris Newsletter #150 will be sent February 25. Sign up here to get it emailed direct to your inbox. 

 

Saturday
Jan102015

Newsletter #149: January 9, 2015

In this Issue:

* I am Charlie
* Heather’s US Tour
* Plan Your Vacation without Going Crazy
* Travel Beyond Paris
* Prices Hikes in Metro, Post, Parking
* I Was Wrong: Don't Vandalize
* Anti-Café WiFi Lounges
* Recycled Moving Boxes
* Paris in the Press
* Secrets of Paris News & Calendar

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Friday
Jan092015

Je Suis Charlie

Updated on Friday, January 9, 2015 by Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall

Updated on Saturday, January 10, 2015 by Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall

Updated on Sunday, January 11, 2015 by Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall

What it's like for an American living in Paris during terrorist attacks. 

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Tuesday
Jan062015

Christmas in France

A guest post by Sharon Autry (click on any photo to see the full size image).

Traveling to France is exciting anytime of the year, but going for Christmas is a vacation you won't soon forget. Paris and all of France dresses for the occasion with lights and decorations which transforms the cities and shopping areas into nothing short of a magical winter wonderland. Having just spent two weeks visiting Paris and Strasbourg, I can say my own decorating skills pale in comparison; the French know how to do it up big!

My Christmas journey began in Paris and took me through the decorated cobblestone streets where the shopkeepers put on their best look for the holiday. I visited several churches to see the Nativity scenes, and then strolled through Luxembourg Gardens. They’re sleeping until spring, but the Medici Fountain is a still beautiful even in the throes of winter.

I have been to Paris before and each time I stood UNDER the Eiffel Tower but never could convince myself to go up into it. This time I decided I would see what all the fuss was about. I highly recommend taking the elevator up because unless you carry an extra pair of legs with you, it will be a long way up and quite a muscle workout. The view from the tower – even just the second level -- cannot be beat: all of Paris is at your feet!

I took a daytrip one hour south of the city to the Chateau Vaux-Le-Vicomte, an absolute must see on your Christmas itinerary. There is nothing to compare the exquisite decorations in each and every room. If you're looking for inspirational holiday decorating ideas for your own home, this is the crème de la crème. The current owners live on the grounds in a different part of the château and as I toured the gardens and the rooms I couldn’t help but envy them for living in such a magical place.

There is a growing anticipation, I am told, every year when the private Musée des Arts Forains (aka Museum of Carnival Arts) opens to the public for the holidays. I was there when the doors opened and I can understand the enthusiastic crowds because this was one man's collection of antique carnival rides, memorabilia, statues and fun games of chance (which you can play).

The main draw of France for me was the idea of visiting the many Christmas markets that are everywhere, filled with regional foods, mulled wine, pastries and those coveted ornaments and decorations that you just can't find anywhere else. I browsed through quite a few in Paris, including the large one along the Champs Élyseés with its magical lights and people going about their gift shopping. But the ultimate destination was to Strasbourg for three days of shopping, sightseeing and soaking up the Christmas atmosphere.

Strasbourg is called the Capital of Christmas, and for good reason: the very first Christmas Market opened there in 1570. Today there are actually 11 markets spread out throughout the town, and in between them every single inch of the town is decorated with lights and ornaments, including the streets, alleyways and buildings. In the main square is the largest Christmas tree in all of Europe! Standing watch at the center of it all is the magnificent Strasbourg Cathedral. If you are a brave soul and want to experience the town and all the surrounding landscape, you can walk up the 333 steps to the top of the cathedral’s tower and enjoy the view.

While in Strasbourg, I visited the Strasbourg Historical Museum that told the story of the region from the Roman times through the Middle Ages and the French Revolution. A newly opened section highlights the struggle the Alsatians endured when they were annexed to Prussia in 1871 and then occupied in WWII by the German Army. I also visited the Alsatian Museum of Art and Folk Tradition, which shares the unique heritage of the Alsatian people. I highly recommend seeing both of these.

Even with the chilly, wet weather, both Paris and Strasbourg are worth a visit during the holidays when they’re full of Christmas cheer in every shop, restaurant, museum and outdoor market. Come with your warmest mittens and an appetite for mulled wine and foie gras!

Sharon Autry lives in Gettysburg, PA, where she takes photos of the historic battlefields for her website Gettysburg Beat

Saturday
Dec132014

Sexy Shows & Fabulous Giveaways at the Paris Burlesque Festival

This week is the 6th annual Paris Burlesque Festival, celebrating the theme "Burlesque & Politics: Pin-Ups Take Power!" at the new Centre Barbara (cultural center near metro Barbès, 18th). The opening night is the election of "Miss PBF 2014" followed by three nights of La Grande Revue performances (twice nightly). Get your tickets online in advance (seated "assis" spots go fast!). On the final evening there is an all-night dance party with live bands and burlesque performances at La Java (dance club near République).

Naughty Paris Will be There! 

The Naughty Guides will have a stand in the festival lounge to welcome guests between shows, with special pre-launch prices on the new edition of Naughty Paris and fun giveaway drawings each night for fabulously naughty prizes. On the final night Saturday the 20th I'll be there signing books before heading over to La Java to dance the night away at La Nuit Fatale...I hope you can join us for the fun!

For more information visit the Naughty Paris website.

 

Sunday
Dec072014

Newsletter #148: December 6, 2014

In this Issue:

* Naughty Paris Holiday Events
* Heather’s US Tour
* Paris for Christmas and New Year’s Eve
* Visit the Biggest Food Market 
* Local Craft Beer Breweries
* Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie Tickets 
* Calendar of Strikes & Marches
* Eat, Drink and Sleep near Gare du Nord 
* Get Your Guilt-Free Christmas Trees
* For your Home Improvement Projects 
* Look Mom, I’m in the NY Times

 

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Saturday
Nov012014

Newsletter #147: October 31, 2014

In this issue:

* Toussaint - Day of the Dead
* Three Ways to Get Around
* Vintage Photos and Posters
* Coloring Paris
* Recommended Books
* Museum & Exhibit News
* Pass for Municipal Museums
* France in Videos
* France in the Press: Good, Bad and Ugly
* Secrets of Paris News & Calendar
* Farewell Pedro & Lena

Click to read more ...