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 early March (sorry, no February newsletter!). Sign up here to get it emailed direct to your inbox. 



Coupe du Monde 2006

bleues.jpgTonight France plays Italy for the Football (aka Soccer) World Cup. To say the town has "Les Bleues" Fever would be an understatement. And there are so many Italians in Paris that no matter who wins you can expect a lot of joyously noisy celebratiing tonight!

The match will be on everywhere, probably in places you least expect it. But for sure you can see it on a giant, open-air screen at:  

-  Stade Charlety (99, boulevard Kellermann - RER Cité Universitaire, 13th)

- Stade Jean Bouin (17, avenue Pierre de Coubertin - M° Porte de Saint-Cloud, 16th)

- Parc des Princes (Access by the tribune Paris - M° Porte de Saint-Cloud, 16th)

Entrance is free, open from 7pm (match starts at 8pm).


A Message from Jimmy Carter for Americans Living Abroad

On November 7, Americans throughout our land will vote in mid-term elections for the House and Senate. I am speaking to you today, as the Honorary Chairman of Democrats Abroad, to urge you to join them - wherever you may be in the world..

Click to read more ...


So civilized...

A scene from last week's open-air screening of Triplettes de Belleville in front of the Hôtel de Ville. They were worried it might rain, thus the black plastic bags ready to be pulled over the canvas chairs.



Rue des Rosiers Construction

As part of the ongoing improvements to make the city look more like Disneyland*, the Rue des Rosiers has been completely torn up for re-cobbling. The west end towards the Rue Vieille du Temple (in the photo) is already done, although I think they still have to put the bars in that keep cars from parking. The whole area in front of l'As du Falafel is still dirt and planks.


According to one of the shopkeepers on the street, they're going to make Rue des Rosiers pedestrian-only on Sundays. It's about time!

* Of course, we all know where Disney got the idea in the first place. They're really just trying to make the city look like it did before tarmac was invented. Minus the cholera and plague outbreaks. 



World Cup Madness

I've seen enough soccer (or football, as they say everywhere else in the world but the US), including every match in the last two World Cups, that I don't really feel the urge to sit through any more of them. It's not as if one needs to be watching in Paris anyway to know who's winning. Every time France scores a goal, the whole city seem to cheer. Cheers from every open window, every open café door, honking car horns and high fives in the metro.

It's way too hot again in Paris, about 33°C today. Saturday night I couldn't bear the idea of sitting in a bar full of sweaty bodies to watch. I went to see a cabaret production in a nice, dark, air-conditioned, sound-proofed theatre. Of course afterwards I had to take the metro home. It was packed full of fans on their way home, jubilant and pumped up after France beat Brazil. One of the tv monitors in the metro tunnels said that all bus service was cancelled for the night due to security issues. At the Place d'Italie there was already a huge crowd waiting at the bus stops. No one told them, of course. Wonder how everyone managed to get home, particularly those who depend on the night bus to get to the suburbs.

Beware of this if you go out Wednesday night (the  date of the next French match). There will be crowds everywhere, but particularly on the Champs-Elysées. The metros will be very crowded, and there may be no bus service. Taxis are usually hard to find. So is a bit of shut-eye. The horn honking continued well into the night, until at least 3am (video above recorded from my window two hours after the match was over).

Still, despite my cranky comments, it's nice to see the Parisians in such a good mood!  

If you want to watch the match on a big screen, there will be huge open-air screens at the Stade Charlety (99, boulevard Kellermann - RER Cité Universitaire, 13th) and Stade Jean Bouin (17, avenue Pierre de Coubertin - M° Porte de Saint-Cloud, 16th). Free, open from one hour before the matches start.

Tuesday 4 July
9pm: Italy - Germany

Wednesday 5 July
9pm : Portugal-France 

Saturday 8 July
9pm : match for 3rd place

Sunday 9 July
9pm : Final


Pampering Deal of the Summer!

So I was wandering around the super-annoying website of the Royal Monceau (a 1920s palace hotel near the Arc de Triomphe), losing patience with the slow-as-molasses flash-only navigation, when I stumbled upon some interesting news.

The hotel's recently renovated Les Thermes Spa (now with Kanebo spa products) has a special summer deal for July and August: €300/month for unlimited access to the spa's indoor pool (windows overlook the gardens), sauna, Jacuzzi, hammam, fitness room, and classes (eight per day are scheduled) such as stretching, aquagym, Abdo-fessiers (tums and bums), and yoga. It's open from 7am until 10pm, and there's even a pool-side café that serves healthy foods such as salads, chopped veggie platters, and grilled fish. Spa treatments are extra, but you're not obligated to sign up for them (might be hard to resist, considering how inexpensive this is).

Now I know some of you are saying, "Three hundred euros is a lot!" But most scruffier gyms in Paris charge more than that, without the exquisitely elegant setting you'll find at the Royal Monceau. The new floating swimming pool on the Seine (set to open next month) will be €5 for the first two hours and €5/hour for each hour after that. So an afternoon of three hours at the pool will cost €10. Go every day for a month and that's €300. No-brainer, if you ask me. Just go have a look at the photos on their site or stop by and have a peek. I'll be in the pool, dahlings!