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

Through October 3
Don't miss one of the most magical events of the summer, the Candlelit Evenings at the Château Vaux-le-Vicomte, just an hour south of Paris by RER and shuttle. Visit the family-owned palace and gardens that inspired Versailles by candlelight, including dinner in the gardens (or bring your own picnic or book a table for a gourmet meal starting at €59) and a fireworks finale. Every Saturday evening, entry €19.50. 

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).  

September 11-13
The annual Fête de l'Humanité is three days of live music (65 acts including headliners Manu Chao, Texas, and Juliette Gréco), debates (because the French love a good debate), arts and cinema expositions, a bal populaire, a book fair, and activities for kids. The main sponsor/organizer is the daily newspaper L'Humanité, whose motto is "Envie de Changer Le Monde" (The desire to change the world), so you can imagine it's quite a leftie leaning festival where politics, social justice and liberty are the main stars. This year it takes place in La Corneuve (northeast suburbs), and three-day passes are just €32 (€35 at the door; camping and parking also possible). 

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


Fashion, Decor & Design Sale to Benefit AIDS Charities

Grand Braderie Contre le SIDA: There will be a three-day sale of designer clothing and stylish home decor objects (30-70% off) this Friday the 3rd through Sunday the 6th of November. Proceeds benefit the AIDS care organization, ARCAT. From 10am until 8pm Friday,  until 7pm Saturday, and until 5pm Sunday at the Espace Adèle-Sand & Voltaire (13 rue Jean-Beausire, 4th, M° Bastille, exit rue St-Antoine). Click here to see all of the swanky brands participating.


October Newsletter #74

IN THIS ISSUE: * Heather’s News * Activities: Music & Drama Classes * Activities: Choir and Orchestra Now Recruiting * Activities: Volunteer Vacation at Historic Restoration Sites * Café & Dining Reviews * Getting Around: Latest News * Adventure: Voyageur Noir Cultural Tours * Getting Here: Between Paris and Switzerland or London * Free English-language classifieds * Home Entertainment: DVDs Delivered to Your Door * Health & Fitness: Sexy Fitness Club * Health & Safety: Where There’s Smoke…or Not * Nightlife: Getting on the List * Shopping: Beer Boutique & Gourmet Spices * Shopping: Fauchon’s 120th Birthday * Make A Difference! Learn CPR * November Events on the Calendar

Click to read more ...


Voyageur Noir Tours

ParisNoir2.JPG Last week I got to see another side of Paris with Carole Fleurival of Voyageur Noir Connection, a private tour company specializing in "The Local Life Experience for Black Travelers". The African-French locals guide their clients through the city's shopping, dining and nightlife spots with a focus on black cultures of all origins in Paris. That's Carole in the photo on the left (in white) with the jewelry créatrice for Divinéa.

An Afro-Parisian resident (via Guadéloupe), she realized that it was her connection with people that made her travels worthwhile. She got the idea for Voyageur Noir tours when she met a U.S. reporter in France who was anxious to discover black Paris. Carole now offers off-the-beaten path shopping tours and cooking classes in her own kitchen, and even arranges dinners for clients with locals -- just like having dinner with a group of new friends eager to share what they love best about France.

ParisNoir1.JPGEven though I've been here for ten years, Carole showed me some amazing little shops and fashion boutiques I had never visited before. She knows when all of the private showroom sales and designer trunk shows take place, and can even introduce you to many of the city's black couture and prête-à-porter designers in person such as Sadio Bee, June, the artist Arnaud Pontier, and turban designer Fredérique Gentil Debaz (photo on the right).

Carole is my favorite kind of guide -- after the first hour you forget she's a guide and just start thinking of her as your own friend who knows all of the best addresses in town. Her English is perfect, and her tours are open to anyone interested in black culture. You can also purchase tour certificate as gifts for friends. The holidays are coming!


Just off the Rue Montorgueil is a little African publisher's bookshop and gallery, ANIBWE (52 rue Greneta, 2nd). The owner Kassi Assemian has classic and contemporary books about all aspects of African culture, and a larger room in the back includes magazines, CDs, DVDs and regular art expositions. A great place to browse!


Kate Mack is a fashion designer with a gorgeous new boutique straddeling the hip Marais and Oberkampf districts  (15 rue Oberkampf, 11th) and also has some of her collection available at the Boutik Red Space (Espace Créateurs, Forum des Halles level -1/Porte Rambuteau). Most of her pieces are unique or very limited in number. She even does custom wedding dresses. Have a look at her recent collection online

Kate Mack in her boutique on Rue Oberkampf.
Voyageur Noir Connection
Owner: Carole Fleurival
+33 160 040 163 (3:00 pm to 5:30 pm, NY time)

Ice Cream Discounts at UGC

I went to see a film at the UGC Les Halles last week, and with my €10.50 ticket (I reserved it in advance, so that includes the €0.30 fee) I got a coupon for a Haagan Daz mini cup or Cream Crisp for 3€. These are about the size of a euro coin. And although you can't take it with you when you go in, you can get much better (and much bigger) ice cream at the Italian gelateria Deliziefollie around the corner for the same price.


Microbrew and Artisan Beer Boutique

The Cave à Bulles specializes in French microbrewed beers, including organic and artisan beers. They also sell some Belgian beers, beer-based products (like vinegar), and beer mugs and bottle openers.


Cave à Bulles
45 rue Quincampoix, 4th

Tel. 01 40 29 03 69

M° Rambuteau


Don't forget to turn back your clock!

It's daylight savings tonight: at 3am (between Saturday and Sunday) turn back your clocks and watches one hour. This is probably obvious to all of you who have jobs, but we freelancers working from home tend to miss these things (or maybe it's just me...I went two days in spring before I noticed I was off).