Secrets of Paris 
featured in:


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 Secrets of Paris Tours
* Monthly Secrets of Paris newsletter
* Secrets of Paris Videos

Read more about the Secrets of Paris here

Calendar of Paris Events

June 12-14
The Salon du Vinatge is always a fun event in Paris, whether you're shopping for clothing, accessories, vinyls, and home decor, or just to hear the retro DJ tunes and the festive atmosphere. Free entry, at the Halle des Blancs Manteaux (48 rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd). 

June 12-14
The Portes d'Or is a chance for all the artistic workshops in the Goutte d'Or (18th arrondissement) to open their doors to the public. Over 80 painters, sculptors, jewelery-makers and many others who live and work in the Goutte d'Or wish to share their creativity. Please come support the community and experience these unique productions. 

June 13-14
The artists of the 5th (Mouffetard) and 13th (Butte aux Cailles/Gobelins) districts knows as Lézarts du Bièvre open their studios to the public for two days, 2-8pm. Free entry. Info points and maps here.

June 14
Get out your fancy hats and picnic baskets for the annual Prix de Diane races at Chantilly Hippodrome (just 45 minutes north of Paris from Gare du Nord). Read more about the event here. 

June 21
Celebrate Fête de la Musique in 17th-century aristocratic style at Château Vaux-le-Vicomte for their annual costumes dance event, La Journée Grand Siècle, in honor of the 400th anniversary of the original owner, Nicolas Fouquet. There will be an elegant picnic in the chateau gardens, live music and dancing, as well as carriage rides and sword-fighting shows. If you don't have a costume gown you can rent one on-site from €17. 

Click here to see the full calendar of events...

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


SOS Helpline Needs Volunteers

A branch of SOS Amitié, SOS Help was founded in 1974 by a group of American and British health and mental health professionals for the English-speaking community in Paris. From their website:

"If you are worried, anxious or confused... If you are feeling lonely or sad... If you are suicidal... It may help to talk things over."

They currently need volunteer listeners who work on the phone lines (complete the SOS Help training course provided for all volunteers) and administrative supporters who volunteer their time for publicity and fund-raising projects. For more information, visit their site's recruitment page.


Another Parisian coffee house bites the dust...

The day started out so splendidly, despite the raindrops on the window pane. I even found a new juice bar while tooling around town. But for every new opening, there is a closing, and I almost cried when I saw my beloved independent coffee house, Autour d'Un Café, is now a cheap sushi restaurant!

Click to read more ...


Quotes that make you go...huh?

The text on the home page of a Parisian hotel, which will remain anonymous**:


"In the reign of Henri IV, the French people lived once again in peace and rediscovered boiled chicken."






** Email me if this is your hotel; I know a good translator!




Does it seem a bit too warm for October?

Maybe. Until you recall how firkin' freeeeezing it was in June (and most of August, for that matter)! But no point getting all philosophical. There are some nasty facts out there to deal with. And you can ruin your day by learning about all of them in Al Gore's documentary film, "An Inconvenient Truth", finally showing in Paris cinemas (under the poetic title: "Une Vérité Qui Dérange"). And maybe if the former American vice president's film gets you depressed enough, you'll be moved to do something!

I can hear you now. "But Heather, what can I possibly do (without actually making a huge effort) which will make me feel like I'm part of the solution and not the problem?" Well, first of all get a dang water filter and stop buying truckloads of bottled water. But even easier, just click on the link to fill out the Mayor's survey on "What Should Paris Do to Help Stop Global Warming?" in the sectors of transportation, housing, urbanization, and business practices. Like this:

 Dear Bert, I think this city needs beaucoup plus de places for locking up my bike, preferably not located in dark alleys. The best bike rack I have found is right outside my flat (facing les flics, conveniently), so that's where it stays. Quel dommage. Your loyal subject, Izère.

Why rant in random blogs on cyberspace when the Mayor of Paris is asking to hear your rants?! And if you'd like to join an actual live debate, head over to the Hôtel de Ville on October 23 at 7pm, no registration needed.


And a bonus: get an electric bike!  



Living in Paris? Make a Difference!

Most foreigners living in Paris know we're very lucky, but are we giving enough back to the community which is so graciously hosting us? Okay, maybe they're not always so gracious, but that's not the point. The point is that we all know there are people in Paris who aren't as fortunate as ourselves, but those of us with some extra free time can make a difference. The Restos du Coeur need volunteers for the winter to help distribute food boxes to families and individuals in need, and to serve hot meals to those who have no home at all.

The Restos du Coeur was started by the late French comedian known as Coluche, whose idea of solidarity was founded on simplicity, joy, and good humor: "La fête toujours!". So come have some fun! Volunteers are needed for day or evening. Call the Service du Bénévolat 01 53 24 98 00. Hope to see some of you out there!


Lena & Pedro's First Vernissage

Hangin' at the Galerie Magda Danysz

It was such a lovely afternoon today -- no coats needed -- that I finally succumbed to Lena & Pedro's imploring looks and took them out to the Galerie Magda Danysz for a vernissage (opening) of the exhibit, "Ultralab and the boobytrapped invitation cards affair" (see calendar for info). I hung around and drank cocktail fruit juice and tried not to embarrass them too much by opening my mouth and revealing my lack of contemporary art savvy. Afterwards we went for a stroll on the immense wooden deck of the Bibliothèque National François Mitterrand, just across the street. Looks like a storm's brewin'!

Lena (and the new Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir in the background)