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

Through February 19
Skate on the Eiffel Tower! This year the ice skating rink on the first level of the Eiffel Tower is back, 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), sleds and scooters for kids, gloves are required. This year's theme is Ice Hockey, though it will be less brutal than the NHL!

January 11 - February 21
The annual winter sales, aka Les Soldes. Honestly, the rules about when and how sales can take place in France since the economic crise have essentially made the sales irrelevant. There are sales all of the time now (often called "promotion" or "7 Jours BHV" or something like that). 

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


Gettysburg Pennsylvania has nothing to do with Paris

But I'm going to tell you about Gettysburg Beat anyway, because it's my mom's very first website -- go Mom! -- and I've been trying to convince her to write about her town for years. She's going to be mortified to find out I put the link here. "But it's not done yet!" LOL! My website hasn't been "done" since I put it up eight years ago! ;-) 

She's a bit shy, but if any of you are going to Gettysburg for the big Civil War battle reenactments this July, tell her I sent you and you'll get the real insider's scoop and a southern welcome!


Guided Tour of the Paris Film Sights

The new Cedric Klapisch film, Paris, just came out last week, starring two of my favorite French actors, Romain Duris (sigh...) and Juliette Binoche. Even if you have to wait for the DVD to see it with English subtitles, you can still enjoy the Parisian scenes throughout the film, and there's even a *bilingual* self-guided tour of all the best sights in the film that you can printout from the Mairie de Paris website.


Versace Fashion High Tea at Le Bristol

FashionteaBristol1.jpgLast weekend I went with my friend Sylvia to the Fashion High Tea at Le Bristol, one of the city's historic palace hotels. Every month they host a desinger fashion show in the elegant tearoom overlooking the private gardens. This time it was Versace's new spring/summer collection. You have to reserve in advance, since there's limited seating available. For €50 you get the show as well as tea, a platter of mini sandwiches and pastries. For the event, we even got a special Versace pastry and chocolates in a beautiful box to take home.

The next Fashion High Tea will be March 1 at 3:30pm, the designer Salta, and March 22 will be Elie Saab. Check the website calendar for future dates (look under "news" at the bottom of the page).



BHV Sous-Sol Gains a Map, Loses a Café

The famous Sous-Sol (basement level) at BHV (Bazaar de l'Hôtel de Ville) reopened recently, and it does indeed seem much easier to see than it was before. In fact, there are even SIGNS and a MAP!



I was almost sad thinking of how I'll never get lost again amongst the towering aisles of bolts and faucets and garden pots, with nary a salesperson in sight. But as I'm looking at the map, I quickly realized the Bricolage Café was no more...so sad. It was a cute little place decorated to look like an old tool shed, a great place to catch a bite and recover from the trauma of being lost for days in that basement!


Valentine's Day Menus

Two of my favorite restaurants have special Valentine's Day menus...how to choose?!

Ladurée (Champs Elysées and Rue Bonaparte locations) have a Menu St-Valentin for €80 per person which includes Lobster cuppucino amuse bouche, duck foie gras as a starter, sea bass (with candied violets, litchis and apples) or Pigeon Chartreuse with winter truffles, a Ladurée Heart pastry, and coffee with macarons (other drinks not included).

BC has a completely different menu (and style of restaurant) called Saint Valentin Love Attitude, €140 for two which includes his and her cocktails (hers has crème fraîche, vodka, anis et cacoa blanc, cristalized rose petals), lobster lollipop & sweet potato dumpling, scallops on a bed of veal curry and steamed apple and mango, and Tétons de Vénus for dessert (iced peach, ginger syrup, and mini glass of Champagne), finished off with a gourmet café.

 Oooh....I'm in love! Would it be bad of me to eat at both? ;)


Little India Tours

Today I went on a small tour of Little India with Poonam Chawla, an expat from India (she also lived in the US for a few years). She has spent the past few years in Paris reviewing all of the Indian restaurants, so when you want to know where to go, contact her for a special foodie tour. She also offers cooking classes and makes her own mango chutney.

After a visit to the Temple de Ganesh, we walked down to the main streets of Little India where she pointed out the best places to eat, Indian pastry shops, a beauty salon that specializes in Ayurvedique treatments and threading depilation (at amazingly low rates), a travel agency with round-trip flights to Bombay for €460 or Bangkok for €530, and her favorite Cash & Carry shop on the Rue Cail.

I love these places because they not only have all of the necessary ingredients for making a decent curry (which I learned back when I was a British in-law), but they also have a huge selection of British products like PG Tips and McVitie's digestifs, and random American products like Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo and Baby Oil, and Kraft Cheddar Cheese in a can (!?). And they don't charge exorbitant fees like some expat food stores which won't be named here (but you know who you are, charging €12.50 for a tiny bottle of vanilla extract, shame!)

Anyway, I digress. If you're interested in discovering these places with an expert, contact Poonam. Her tours are just €25/person (two people minimum) for a two-hour tour, and €50 per person for the cooking classes. And if you can't read her website (in French only) just give her a call: 01 45 05 34 71 (she speaks perfect English, of course).