About Secrets of Paris

Created in 1999, the Secrets of Paris is the oldest independent and locally-owned website about Paris in English, for both visitors and residents. Discover what you've been missing:

* Free Resource Guide
* Calendar of interesting Paris events 
* Monthly Secrets of Paris newsletter
* Secrets of Paris Tours & Travel Planning

Read more about the Secrets of Paris here





Calendar of Paris Events

October 21-30 A bit like a smaller, cozier version of the Foire de Paris, the Foire d'Automne at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles is a trade show of food and wine, home decor, beauty and fashion, and all French arts de vivre. Open 10am-7pm, entry €9. 

October 27-29
The last big electronic music festival of the year, the Pitchfork Festival, takes place over three days at the Grande Halle de la Villette (Parc de la Villette, 19th). One-day passes €54,  three-day passes €120.

October 28 - November 1
Stuff yourself with all kinds of chocolately goodies at the annual Salon du Chocolat, at the Paris-Expo - Porte de Versailles (metro line 12), 10am-7pm. Entrance €14. You can get advance tickets online or ask at your favorite chocolate shop if they have any extra invitations. Avoid the weekend unless you're a masochist! Here are some Salon du Chocolat tips from a previous article by Secrets of Paris intern Tara Oakes. 

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


Anyone flying easyJet this month?

Even though I've been writing the monthly Paris column for easyJet's inflight magazine for eight years, I don't actually get a copy (that's how they keep those fares so low! LOL). I'm trying to get a hardcopy of the February column, so if any of you are flying this month and can pick it up for me (or even rip out the Paris page), I'll buy you a drink. ;-)



Newsletter #81: January-February 2008

IN THIS ISSUE: * Heather’s News * Customer Service at Last? * Bobin’O: The City’s Newest Cabaret * Dining & Nightlife News & Reviews * Other Paris Blogs: Food & Wine & Attitude * Later Metro Hours * Hotel News * Vacation Apartment Rental Link * Live in Paris ? Plant a Tree * Strike Info Website * Organic Food Delivery * Naughty Deliveries after Midnight * Customize Your Own French Stamps * More Newsletters, Please! * Heather’s Tours and Vacation Planning...

Click to read more ...


Look Mom! I'm on Playboy TV!

This morning I woke up at dawn to meet with the film crew on the banks of the Seine. We filmed a short segment about the Naughty Paris Guide for Playboy TV's new series, "69 Sexy Things to Do Before You Die" (beginning in March 2008). It was sunny but ice cold, so luckily I'm just a (fully clothed) talking head. ;)

"And this is the perfect place for a bit of midnight skinnydipping...."

Trying not to squint from the sun or shiver too obviously...

The view from my end: "Just look into the light, Heather!"



Delicate at Fallenfest

Last night I attended the 2nd round of the Fallenfest competition of local Indie Rock bands at La Boule Noire. Eight bands competed for the chance to make it to the semi-finals. I got there at 7:30pm in time for the first band. The small concert hall (space for 350 people) filled up quickly and those who arrived later were forced to wait on the sidewalk until there was room for more. Everyone gets five white balls to vote for their favorite band(s) of the night.

The most popular group of the night was Delicate, who played to the packed house at 10pm. After about four songs the guitarist broke his pedal and they had to cut the half hour set short. But rock fans love it when musicians break shit on stage, so they won anyway, and will be playing in the next round at Le Trabendo between now and May (stay tuned).

Raphaël and Emmanuel Aucler of Delicate, celebrating after the show ("They just don't make guitar pedals like they used to...")

Another band that made the cut was Blague à Part, who were pretty damned good for a rock band singing in French. There are three more rounds in different categories before the semi-finals including French Chanson (tonight), Pop Rock (February 2), and Rock Metal (February 3). Tickets are €12 at the door, get there early to avoid waiting in line.


The Naughty Paris Guide!

Since so many of you have been asking, the Naughty Paris Guide is currently in production mode. Just got the cover from the designers today! Woo hoo! Stay tuned for the launch date, estimated May 2008...



Ringing in the Smoke-Free New Year with Absinthe and Parisian Punks

After drinking more than my weight in Champagne over the holidays (okay, that's not that hard), I decided to give up drinking for 2008. I was doing great until I was invited to an absinthe tasting last weekend at a local punk bar, Le Cantada II. How could I resist?

It was my first outing this year, and as I walked past the bars, cafés and restaurant of the Oberkampf district, I couldn't believe that it was actually true what I was seeing: all of the Parisians were smoking outside. Even though it's cold and raining, the terraces are packed full. I arrived at Cantada II (13 rue Moret, 11th), where goths, punks, and other mohawked misfits were also smoking outside the door. Inside the wonderfully smoke-free bar, I immediately spotted my group, looking slightly out of place among the regulars.

Adrian, Daniel, Louisa, Olivier et moi

Among the gang are a few familiar faces, including pastry chef and cookbook writer David Lebovitz (on a much needed break from finishing his latest manuscript), "Mister Wine Tasting" Olivier Magny, restaurant reviewer and palace hotel concierge Adrian Moore, and Spring owner and chef Daniel Rose. Our hosts for the evening are food journalist Louisa Chu (you've probably seen her hosting food shows on American TV) and our absinthe expert (and maker) Peter Schaf.

Absintheur Peter (and his wife behind the dripper).

Not only does Cantada II have the largest selection of absinthes in France (each one has its own unique taste), it also has all of the cool accessories, including the water dripper, slatted spoons and the right glassware. Peter brought a few bottle from his own collection for us to try, including a 100-year-old bottle made before the absinthe prohibition (the ban was lifted in France in 1992, FYI). As the glass was passed around, I asked "Anyone here have a cold?" But David pointed out that the 70% alcohol content would probably kill any germs anyway. Of course, he and Olivier were drinking wine, sheesh!

David, looking particularly wicked with those glowing devil horns.

After our tasting (it doesn't take much!) a few people decided to try the bar's "Medieval cuisine". I thought I'd have a peek before ordering myself. Well, it smelled good....

Ye olde grub (some sort of game stew).

Tried without the flash to see if it looked better...

"Get a close-up photo," says Olivier. Yeah...

I ate up the street at Nono instead. ;-)