Frequently Asked Questions

Could you tell me which hotel is the best?

I can tell you what the pros and cons of any individual hotel may be (in my opinion), but what’s “best” is usually a matter of personal taste, so I try and refrain from recommending things on that basis for anyone I don’t know personally.

Can you help me plan my vacation?

Sure. For a fee. I get enough requests for help from friends, family (and friends of family!) that I couldn’t possibly help everyone, so I’ve started offering travel planning services for a small fee, from daily itineraries and tips to recommendations based on your budget and tastes. For more info and rates send me an email.

Can you write about my hotel/boutique/tour/class/book/restaurant?

I only write about places I’ve been or experienced myself (and liked), or if it’s recommended by a trusted friend. But feel free to send information about your establishment or service and if I think it sounds like something that fits with the Secrets of Paris I’ll try and check it out (on the sly, of course, just to be fair).

How come you didn't write about my favorite place?

See above. There are thousands of hotels, restaurants, and shops in Paris, and it would be impossible for me to visit all of them, let alone write about them. Still, I do appreciate reader recommendations and will consider checking out your favorite.

Why are there ads?

To help offset the monthly hosting fees for this site, there are ads on the Secrets of Paris website, but never in the Newsletter. All of the ads are clearly labeled as such, and no content on this site or in the newsletter is paid for in any way.

You do this site for free?! How do you make a living?

I’m a professional travel writer, journalist, and private tour guide. I make a living writing and updating guidebooks to France, selling articles to magazines and websites, and writing copy for travel websites. I do this for free because I have the freedom to say what I want, the way I want to say it.

If you’re a professional writer, why are there so many typos?

No professional writer’s work goes into print before being screened by a copyeditor, proofreader and fact-checker. When I’m paid to write, I also have the time to do second and third drafts, and to go over every sentence with a fine-toothed comb. Since I am usually the only one editing this site, there are bound to be misspellings and errors. If you find any, I appreciate it if you could kindly point them out, it would help a lot!

I'd like to do what you do. Any advice?

Sure! Study writing or journalism in school, get experience writing at a respected publisher for very little or no pay, save up enough money to survive on the first few years as a freelancer (when you’ll be lucky to make the average YEARLY travel writing income of $5000), build a solid portfolio of clips, and be consistently professional, on deadline, and pro-active enough to find new work. Freelancing requires almost constant work, even when the pay gets better. If I actually computed my yearly income against the number of hours worked, I’d probably send in that McDonald’s application.

Oh, and if you want to freelance in France you need to be a bit insane, very patient, willing to live illegally if you can’t swing a visa, or lucky enough to have married a European.

I have a magazine/website/newspaper. Would you write for free in return for exposure or a link to your site?

Five years ago I may have said yes. But I no longer need exposure, I need to pay my bills, and the only place I write for free is on my own website.

Any other questions? Send them along!