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

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


Looking for something to do this weekend?

I just added a bunch of events to the calendar for Saturday and Sunday, and since I know it's easier to plan your busy lives with more advanced notice, I'm adding more events for next weekend today. Check back in, lots of exciting things going on in October!



Save the Cinema!

It seems the authorities are closing in on the squatted art-house cinema Le Barbizon (141 rue de Tolbiac, 13th, M° Tolbiac), so an emergency event is scheduled for this Sunday (15th), and they’re looking for as much support as possible to stay open so they can continue to provide the public with alternative films not shown in any other cinema. And, of course, they’re always accessible to everyone, since “payment” is in the form of a hat getting passed around at each screening event. Even if you’ve never been before, head on down and check out this amazing space on the edge of Chinatown. It may be the last chance! Sunday’s event will be a community potluck from12:30pm. Bring a dish to share! There will be a general presentation by Les Amis de Tolbiac on what’s happening with the authorities, and at 5pm a performance piece of “Au Vent Mauvais”. For more info visit their website:


Hop Aboard the Buzz Bus!

I got to spend a gloriously sunny Saturday exploring the latest in Parisian Art-Design-Sex-Architecture-Food aboard the Buzz Bus, the latest adventure offered to the public from the hipsters at Art Process. From 11am until 5pm, about two dozen of us (all Parisians, I gathered) were escorted around by minibus and given insider peeks into the worlds of fashion, sex, architecture and design, all which -- according to Eric Mézan of Art Process -- influence and mingle with the world of contemporary art, Art Process' primary expertise. Although it's all in French, Eric and his team also speak English. Considering most of these places are inaccessible even to locals, it's a great opportunity that visitors shouldn't miss!

The Buzz Bus

 On Saturday the other Buzz Bus guests were made up of Art Club members (where you get a discount on all of the Art Process events) and first-timers who heard about it through friends. The atmosphere was convivial and art snobbery here! To set the tone, our first stop was La Musardine (122 rue du Chemin Vert, 11th), the erotic book publisher with its own bookstore near Père Lachaise.

La Musardine Erotic Bookstore

We were given a tour of the different sections, from erotic literature, art books and comics to DVDs (more porn than erotica there) and practical guides (including the Sexy Paris 2007 guide to the city's swingin' clubs and La Musardine's own amusing series of "Osez..." (Dare to...) guides for everything from spanking to getting wild in the wild. Best of all, it looks just like a regular book store, not a porn shop, so you don't have to worry about the seedy aspect. And for all you ladies out there, they've got the "Dieux des Stades 2007" in stock!

The friendly staff at La Musardine answer all your questions.

The next stop on the Buzz Bus, fashion week oblige, was the Showroom ME2A, a dynamic agency which specializes in up-and-coming French designers. In particular, we were shown the latest Ready-to-Wear collection for Impasse de la Défense, by the designer Karim Bonnet.

The ME2A Showroom, Paris.

The showroom is in an elegant Haussmanian apartment near the Champs-Elysées. This is where, during Fashion Week, all of the buyers come to choose what they'll sell in their stores next season. Although we could look, nothing was for sale. We'd just have to wait until Spring...

Caressing the gorgeous ball gowns in the showroom...

But this chic setting is a far cry from the actual ateliers where the clothing is created. We hop back on the bus to go see Karim himself at the Impasse de la Défense.

The studio entrance at Impasse de la Défense, where his artistic clothing got its name.

Born in Paris, his heritage is a colorful mix of French West Indies, Tunisien, and even Brittany, which explains his affinity for nautical stripes and old lace. He has a team of artists that hand paint every article of clothing in this studio (the actual sewing is done in a separate location) for a unique, avant-garde creation.

Eric Mezan (speaking) and Art Club manager Isabelle Sciamma (with the blue earrings) present Impasse de la Défense.

 And since we must eat, we headed to Sale e Pepe (30 rue Ramey, 18th, M° Jules Joffrin), an adorable little Italian bistro with signs on the door announcing "no freezer, no microwave". This is serious Italian food! We had a grilled aubergine starter, home made pizza, and the most delicious pasta dish I've had in years. The pastas were "O"-shaped, like Spaghetti-O's, but thank goodness they didn't come out of a can! The lunch menu is just €15, the dinner menu is €20.


Our gang had to sit downstairs, but the best seats are definitely upstairs where you can see the kitchen at work. It's blissfully smoke-free, the servers are really Italian, and it's off the beaten track enough that French celebs can eat there without body guards (we saw Thierry Lhermitte, who was also in the American film La Divorce). 

Our next stop was just around the corner on foot, a design company with their own boutique, Atypyk (17 rue Lambert, 18th).

Isabelle introduces one of the Atypyk designers, Ivan Duval (center

Atypyk is a bright showroom selling the hilarious (and useful) objects by the designer duo Ivan Duval and Jean Sebastien Ides since 1988. The objects are all created to fulfil a need...kick a habit, find out who loves you, install a cow in your kitchen, find your happiness, get lucky, express yourself at work, quiet your noisy neighbors...and are guaranteed to get a laugh, like these cake plates and no-sew button replacements.

design 4.JPG design 3.JPG











Their creations are 99% made in France!

Finally, we visited the cool offices of Naço, a "Gllobal architecture, Design and Visual Communication Agency" which combines interior and exterior architects and as well as designers in one place. Their innovative designs incorporate  all of these aspects with the latest technologies and an aesthetic approach to uniting humans with their environment, not setting them apart from it. They're even working on building a "better electric bike". Hmmm...maybe you should just go have a look at their website! Their offices in the 12th are located through a garden courtyard, where an ancient wooden barn has been given a steel and glass façade.

The Naço headquarters

Just around the corner is their architectural art gallery, Galerie Cédille (38 rue de Citeaux, 12th) of objects and furniture designed by contemporary architects. The current exposition is "Feiyue Makeit", with creations by Odile Decq and Benoit Cornette, Jakob & Mac Farlane, Coop Himmelb(l)au, François Azambourg, Torolab, LCP united, Yu Ting, Guillaume Linard, Cassio Vasconcellos, and 36 recyclab.

If you'd like to reserve a place on the next Buzz Buss (every 1st Saturday of the month starting January 6), then go check out the Art Process website for more info (because the Buzz Bus is new, it's not on the site yet, but you'll see the Art Bus, which is the same concept but with a contemporary art focus). It costs €50 for the day, or €35 for Art Club members.


Photography Vernissage Tonight on the Bateau Daphné

Step aboard the péniche Daphné for a cocktail party to launch the photography exposition titled "Camaieux". The vernissage is tonight from 6pm-10:30pm, and the exhiibit is open through October 15 by rendez-vous (contact Julien Cresp, tel 06 09 98 47 94, The Péniche Daphné is moored on the Quai Montebello, at the foot of Notre-Dame.


Some Suggestions for Nuit Blanche 2006

This Saturday (October7) is the 5th annual Nuit Blanche, an all-night cultural festival created by Mayor Delanoë in 2002, and now copied (like Paris Plage) in cities throughout Europe. Like most festivals, it's a bit chaotic, with huuuuuge crowds circulating throughout the city from sundown until sunrise. Most of the artistic installations listed in the program are grouped around certain neighborhoods like the Goutte d'Or in the 18th, Bercy-Tolbiac in the 13th, and Champs-Elysées-Concorde in the 8th.

But there are some interesting things going on that aren't in the official City Hall program, and may appeal to those of you who don't really want to be out after midnight.

From 11am until 4pm on Saturday, the contemporary art guides at Art Process will be giving "Sex>Design>Food>Video>GraphicDesign"  tours in their Buzz Bus to celebrate fashion week (don't even tell me you didn't notice all of the absurdly-dressed fashionistas stiletto-ing around town all week). The route includes stops at the best sex-book boutique in town, the offices of an architecture and design firm, and the showroom of one of their favorite fashion designers.

The tour costs €50 per person, or €35 if you become an Art Process Club Member. Contact Isabelle to reserve your place or get more info: 01 47 00 90 85 or

Another interesting event is taking place outside Paris at the Château de Versailles, therefore known as the Versailles Off Festival, taking place inside the palace and gardens on Saturday 8.30pm-3am, and Sunday 7.30pm-1am. Although you'll have to drive to train out there, I think it's totally worth it to see the magical  installations around the Château at night (including 18 wedding gowns by Christian Lacroix in the Royal Chapel and electronic baroque music in the garden's Salle de Bal). AND IT'S FREE! Can't beat that...dress warmly.




Where's Heather

If you read the August newsletter, you might remember I've been on a much-needed vacation! The world tour is almost through, I'm flying out of San Francisco tomorrow and heading to London for the weekend. There won't be time to fit in a September newsletter (sorry!), I've just been having waaaaay too much fun!

First stop: my hometown of Philadelphia (okay, I was born in the 'burbs, but no one needs to know that). I also detoured to Gettysburg to see more family. It rained every day. I had a cheese steak, some Tatseykakes, and an old Philly pretzel (from a gas one seems to sell them on the street anymore, sniff!)


 Who knew Philly had a French Quarter?


Chillin' out with Cosmos in a cool retro French Quarter bar with my cousins (this is cousin Dave; he's already taken, ladies!).

Next stop, New York City.


This is my artistic interpretation of the Statue of Liberty, taken at night from the Staten Island Ferry.


Poking the pig (if it giggles, it's not done yet) at the Brooklyn Hash House Harriers' annual pig roast.  

New York and Brooklyn were a bit humid. Next stop, San Francisco!


The hills from the top of the De Young art museum in Golden Gate park.


Making the most of the rare Indian Summer weather outside the Conservatory with Cassie (we go waaaaay back...thank goodness the big sunglasses have replaced the big hair). 


Look at the cool Chinatown street markers.

vacation 2.jpg 

Only in San Francisco would there be an aisle for "New Age Drinks" (I'm not even going to comment on "economy wine"...this is California, for cryin' out loud!!)

Small detour to San Diego to see pop and his groovy sailboat, the Calerpittar. 


They only let me steer long enough to take this photo. Seems questions like "Can this thing tip over?" and "How far to Tijuana?" make the skipper nervous). That's NOT my Bud Light, by the way. Ick.  

See y'all after I get back from London!

- Heather