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

October 4
One of the greatest contemporary British comedians, Eddie Izzard, is bringing his show Force Majeure back to Paris, this time....en français! Mais oui! He'll be performing at the Casino de Paris one night before moving onto a week-long tour in other French cities. Even if your French sucks, you'll likely be able to follow along Eddie's own version of Franglais as he explains World History, God, Hitler, and other light topics. Tickets from FNAC starting at €25.

October 8-11
The annual Puces du Design is a free market of vintage furniture and home decor from the 1950s to today, at the Place des Vins behind Bercy Village, 12th. Over 100 stands, free entry. 

October 8-18
Celebrate Oktoberfest in Paris all week long in a huge Bavarian-themed tent at the Porte de la Villette (19th), tickets €34-€44, including €15 of drink tickets.  There will be music, Bavarian Cancan dancers, and plenty to eat and drink. Dust off the lederhosen and be ready for fun! 

Through October 18
The 32nd annual funfair carnival, the Fête à Neu Neu, opens on August 30th in the Bois de Boulogne (Porte de la Muette, 16th, M° Rue de la Pompe). Open 4pm-midnight Mon, Tues, & Thurs; 2pm-midnight Wed & Fri; and noon to midnight Sat-Sun. Free entry, ATM, Vélib station, food tents and rides (tickets purchased onsite).  

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


Two-Day Luxury Lingerie Sale

Looking for fabulous Christmas presents or want to spoil yourself? Gentry de Paris is having a two-day sale/auction on eBay of their French silk gowns (Buy it Now at $200, regularly over $600), French silk satin tailored pyjamas (Buy it Now at $300, normally over $700), cashmere jersey pyjamas (Buy it Now $160, usually over $400), and their signature cashmere panties (Buy it Now $50, normally over $100). Go have a look at the official website to see the entire collection. These are current season items in perfect condition, exceptionally on sale direct from the designer for the holidays! The auction ends December 20.


Win a Naughty Paris Tour!

Looking for that extra-special Christmas present? Wondering how you can help those less fortunate than you during the holiday season? Want an insider peek into the naughty side of Paris? Of course you do!

Lucky for you, it's time for the annual Menu for Hope campaign to benefit the United Nation's World Food Programme. For just $10 donation per ticket, you get a chance to win some really cool prizes donated by foodie bloggers from around the world, including personalized cookbooks, gourmet food goodies, wine-tasting classes, gastronomic tours of various cities, and....(drum roll, please)....the very first Naughty Paris tour by Yours Truly!

Offered as a sneak preview of my upcoming guide, "Naughty Paris: The Good Girls' Guide to Being Bad in the City of Light", the Naughty Paris half-day tour (for up to four people) includes visits to an upscale corset and fetish clothing boutique, an erotic literature store, and even a naughty perfume maker whose scents will make you blush! And to keep up our energy, we'll be sure to stop between each boutique for some naughty indulgences -- a handful of heavenly French pastries, a shot of sinfully strong absinthe liqueur, and a mug of wickedly thick hot chocolate (or creamy Italian gelato, depending on the season). Of course, the lucky winner also gets to pick my brain during the tour for all of the best naughty nightlife recommendations, from the sexiest cabarets to the best clubs to check out the local singles' scene! 

Not interested in Naughty Paris? No problemo! Menu for Hope raffle isn't completely random -- you get to actually choose which prize you want to win. The list of goodies and how to participate in the raffle can be found at  here. The campaign ends on December 22nd. Winners will be announced and the prizes sent to corresponding winners after January 1st 2006.

Note: Menu foir Hope III will once again be using the site FirstGiving to collect the donation, which, in the interest of transparency, will do all the collection and forward the funds directly to the World Food Programme.


Secrets of Paris Newsletter #75

Updated on Monday, December 4, 2006 by Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall

Updated on Wednesday, January 3, 2007 by Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall

IN THIS ISSUE: * Heather’s News * Four Stylish Hotels Under €200 * Sightseeing: It’s an Aquarium, it’s a cinema! * Nightlife: Live Musical Acts to Get You Moving! * News: Famous Squat Moves House * Discount Designer Shopping * News: Getting Around Gets Easier * Seine-side Entertainment * Practical: Parking in Paris * World AIDS Day * Shop to Save the World * More Holiday Solidarity * Entertainment: Chilly Holiday Fun * Two Interesting Photo Websites * December Events on the Calendar * Are you on the list? * STILL Want to Change Your Subscription Address? Read this…

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Damsel In Distress, or, Who Needs Directory Assistance? (In Two Parts)

Directory assistance used to be “12”, but then it was considered a monopoly so the service was opened to competition and everyone has a six-digit number now. I can never remember what any of them are. I should program them into my phone, or erase something useless from my memory to make room. But alas, maybe the high price of information is what keeps me from making an effort. Besides, I’m convinced I don’t need it. Two examples that back up my theory:

Part One: I love my Bike 

So I’m riding around on my bike taking neighborhood photos for an assignment because it’s the first sunny day in a week and the deadline is coming. I don’t take my bike out often, it stays locked up in front of the police station most of the time. So maybe the chain needs greasing. But anyway, I’m riding along, trying to take pics without stopping, not really paying attention while I change gears, and the chain jams. In front of the National Assembly.

The last photo I took before the chain got stuck.

The guards watch me get all greasy until I finally stand and turn around. I can usually get the chain out, but this is well ensconced. “C’est coincé?” one of them asks. I let the 6’2” strapping young kepi’d guard give it a go. “You’ll have to take the wheel off,” he says sadly. I try and give him one of the hand wipees I have (they’re actually Clorox stain removal towelettes, but today they’re multitasking), and start walking the bike back to Invalides a block away, where there’s a bike shop. That I can’t find. I ask at a sandwich shop where the bike shop used to be. “It’s gone!” says the owner, a bit too gleefully. I tell him my problem, and he recommends I go to Decathlon at Avenue des Ternes. “The 17th?” That’s like, 30 minutes on foot minimum.

I go back outside and consider locking it up and coming back with tools later. But it was supposed to rain the rest of the week and I couldn’t ride it home that way, even if I could fix it. Not that I’m afraid of getting wet, but some meanie stole the mud guards off my bike over the summer (they’re plastic clip-ons because I have a cross-bike, so they’re pretty easy to pop off even when the cops are right across the street) and I didn’t want a stripe of black Parisian street water on the back of my Champagne-colored trench coat. So I think, there’s gotta be bike shop closer than Avenue des Ternes. But I can’t recall the Directory Assistance number, and am suspicious they’d give me the address of the one place that doesn’t do repairs. So I try calling all of my friends to see who’s in front of their computer. David answers his phone first (it’s lunchtime in Paris) and when I ask him to look up a bike shop in the 7th, he says “Why don’t you just go to a gas station and ask for a wrench?” I start to ask where I’m going to find a gas station at Invalides, when I realize there’s one right in front of me. Underground, to be precise.

So I head down with my bike into the Vinci parking garage. First there’s a gas station and the little boutique. I see little wrenches for sale for €10. But I eye the cashier and wonder if he’ll have one I can borrow instead. I explain my problem and he puts on some plastic gloves (I need to remember to steal some of those) and tries to pull it out, but manages to jam the front tire as well. He recommends I go to the workshop in the back of the parking garage. Promising enough, there are five young men standing around trying to look busy. I ask if any of them could help me with the chain, and one manages, finally, to pull it out. I buy a candy bar at the shop and pedal happily home.

Part 2: I love my Bank 

Two days later, when it’s raining heavily, I’m at the train station trying to buy a ticket to Marly-le-Roi, a lovely suburb of Paris. I don’t have enough coins to pay in the machine, but I can’t find my bank card, either. I rarely use it, so I’m pretty sure I left it at my bank's automatic deposit window. I was so impressed that France finally caught up to the outside world (I’m sure I was depositing my checks into the ATM at my US bank back in high school), that I walked off without waiting for the card. I just hoped no one had “wandered off” with it. Already late, I skulk over to the end of the long line at the window and I have no idea what my bank’s telephone number is, and again can’t recall directory assistance (in my defense, I tried two different configurations that prove to be wrong). So I call Gentry. She’s walking Napoléon. “Can you texto me my bank number when you get home?” I give her the details and before I’ve even reached the window to pay with my €50 bill, I hear the buzz of the phone message inbox. I call the bank from the train, and of course they have my card (whew!) I probably could have waited to look up the number and call from home, but since I was sure no one was cleaning out my account, I could enjoy a relaxed lunch in the countryside. ;)

The adorable old village of Marly-le-Roi.

Who needs the directory assistance when you have friends? 
I love my friends best of all!

Upcoming Events

Just a note to remind you to check out the latest events on the Secrets of Paris Calendar as well as the Naughty Paris Blog. And to floss daily. Can't risk having any foreign bodies blemishng that wicked grin on your face, n'est-ce pas?


Live Karaoke at Le Baron

Karaoke with a live band, Sunday nights at Le if you've really got anything cooler to do! Check out the competition...

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