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

July 13-14 Bastille Day
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!" Click here to read the defintitive guide to what to see and do in Paris on July 13th and 14th, what's open, what's not, how to get around, where the parties will be, and insider tips on being prepared:

July 20 - August 16/23
Paris Plages: sand, beach trees, volley balls and bikinis -- on the Seine! Along the Right Bank quays and Hôtel de Ville until August 16th, at the Bassin de la Villette until August 23rd. This year's edition of the Paris Plages will feature many fun activities. Free entry, 9am-midnight. The 2015 schedule will be up here on opening day.

July 22-August 23
The annual Open-Air Cinema Festival takes place Wed-Sun nights at the Parc de la Villette's Triangle Prairie (M° Porte de Pantin), starting at sunset (around 10pm), free entry (deck chair rentals from 7:30pm). This year's haunting and spooky and horrific theme is "Home Cinema" (all films can be downloaded to watch at home from the website), including: Last Days, Beetlejuice, shutter Island, The Shining, Moulin Rouge, the Ghost Writer, and many French and international films (all in VO with French subtitles). 

July 26
Since 1975, the finish line for the Tour de France has been at the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysées. Join the crowd of Parisians and tourists alike to see the winner of the race. Expected arrival time: 5:30pm.

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


Living in Paris? Make a Difference!

Most foreigners living in Paris know we're very lucky, but are we giving enough back to the community which is so graciously hosting us? Okay, maybe they're not always so gracious, but that's not the point. The point is that we all know there are people in Paris who aren't as fortunate as ourselves, but those of us with some extra free time can make a difference. The Restos du Coeur need volunteers for the winter to help distribute food boxes to families and individuals in need, and to serve hot meals to those who have no home at all.

The Restos du Coeur was started by the late French comedian known as Coluche, whose idea of solidarity was founded on simplicity, joy, and good humor: "La fête toujours!". So come have some fun! Volunteers are needed for day or evening. Call the Service du Bénévolat 01 53 24 98 00. Hope to see some of you out there!


Lena & Pedro's First Vernissage

Hangin' at the Galerie Magda Danysz

It was such a lovely afternoon today -- no coats needed -- that I finally succumbed to Lena & Pedro's imploring looks and took them out to the Galerie Magda Danysz for a vernissage (opening) of the exhibit, "Ultralab and the boobytrapped invitation cards affair" (see calendar for info). I hung around and drank cocktail fruit juice and tried not to embarrass them too much by opening my mouth and revealing my lack of contemporary art savvy. Afterwards we went for a stroll on the immense wooden deck of the Bibliothèque National François Mitterrand, just across the street. Looks like a storm's brewin'!

Lena (and the new Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir in the background)



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.