Secrets of Paris 
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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

May 15-17
One of the biggest flower shows in France, Journées des Plantes de Courson, takes place this weekend at the Chateau de Chantilly, just 45 minutes north of Paris from the Gare du Nord. Entry €20 (or €17 if you get your tickets online before May 14).

May 16
Check out your favorite Paris museum at night during the 11th annual Nuit Européenne des Musées, when all over Europe museums stay open all night...for free! 

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

Tuesday
Aug152006

"Petit my a**!" An Afternoon at the Petit Palais

Since the weather has been too cold and wet (!!) to go to Paris Plage, last week my friend Karen and I decided to spend the afternoon at the Petit Palais, which houses the newly renovated Municipal Fine Arts Museum.

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"Petit my a**!" says Karen, posing in front of the golden entrance doors. (See the façade of the Grand Palais across the street in the glass reflection.)

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I was having a low blood-sugar moment, so we headed straight for the museum café (to the left as you enter the museum, then go through the glass door to the gardens). The inside is actually quite stylish for a museum café. There's a second-floor mezzanine and windows overlooking the gardens and the inside of the museum.

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We decided to sit on the mosaic-tiled terrace.

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This is the view of the museum gardens from the terrace.

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This is the vaulted ceiling under the terrace porch.

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The garden still looks pretty young (the Petit Palais only recently reopened). Considering the fact that the entrance is free to the museum (the permanent collections of all municipal museums are free), this café is a great spot to come and have a snack or a drink, even if you're not going to visit the museum.
 
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This is the main lobby. As you can see, the building itself is gorgeous, constructed in Belle Époque style for the 1900 World's Fair.
 
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Here is one of the original carved staircases, with elegant wrought-iron railings.
 
 
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The museum has decorative objects, such as this screen and furnishings by Hector Guimard.

 

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There are also beautiful sculptures, like this naughty Bacchante couchée by Clesinger.

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Paintings by Boilly, Corot, Delacroix, Monet, Sisley, and La Parisienne by Charles-Alexandre Giron.

Friday
Aug112006

Working on the Museum & Monument Listings

I'm currenty working on the Sightseeing section of the Resource Guide, slowly entering the info for museums (I'm up to "C"...just getting the structure set up took a whole day). Monuments and neighborhoods will follow, hopefully by the end of next week!

Friday
Aug112006

Diseased Horse Chestnut Trees

For the third summer in a row, the leaves of the city's horse chestnut trees are covered in brown spots and turning brown. In another few weeks they'll shrivel up, die, and fall prematurely. According to one source, this is caused by the larvae of a leaf miner moth. Others say it's the heatwave or even salt (although there's not enough snow in Paris to need lots of salt). Supposedly the trees won't die, but it sure looks butt ugly.

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Friday
Aug112006

Mickey Exhibit at Artcurial

If you ever dared to pass through the imposing wrought iron gates of the Hôtel Dassault, the magnificent 19th-century mansion on the Rond-Ponit des Champs-Elysées, you'd find yourself in one of the city's lesser-known auction houses, Artcurial.

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You don't have to be interested in the auctions to go inside, though. There's a fantastic book store open to the public that sells books and magazines in French and English on contemporary art, photography, fashion, design, architecture, and catalogs. There's also a small café and a gallery of limited edition prints, jewelry, tapestries, furniture, etc.

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Because the auction house is closed for the summer, the space upstairs is being used for an exhibit called "Mickey Dans Tous ses Etats", or Mickey seen through the eyes of 30 contemporary artists including Basquiat, Castelbajac, Haring, Interduck, Murakami, and Ultra Violet. Downstairs you can buy postcards of every "classic" work of art redone with Disney characters (ie Mona Lisa with Donald Duck).

Entry €7 (€3 for kids 5-12). Open daily 11am-6pm through September 17.
The bookstore is open Monday-Saturday 10:30am-7pm.

Friday
Aug112006

Gendarmes Prefer Blondes

Some of my tour clients asked if they could have their photos taken with the Gendarmes. They seemed more than happy to oblige!

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Photo taken outside the Palais de Justice (on the Place Dauphine side). 

Wednesday
Aug022006

Don't leave your cookies in the car...

My Lu Petit Ecoliers totally melted!

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(Still tasted good, though!)