Celebrating Bastille Day in Paris: What To See & Do

There's much to see and do on and around La Fête Nationale, aka Bastille Day, July 14th. This is a rundown of just some of the best options, including the dance parties, parade, and fireworks show, as well as some logistical tips on using public transportation and what shops and museums are open. 

Note that Sunday is also the semi-finals match between Algeria and Nigeria for the Africa Cup of Nations. If Algeria wins, there will be thousands of fans pouring into the streets in Paris to celebrate just as the fireworks show starts.



Ticket Tips for Versailles, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower

If you’re coming to Paris this summer or fall, here are some things to make sure you know before visiting three of the most popular sites.

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Heatwave in Paris: "Can I Wear Shorts?"

Paris is in the middle of its second heatwave of the year, so I thought it was a good time to dig into the Secrets of Paris archives to answer the question so many visitors have asked: "Is it okay to wear shorts in Paris?" 



Why most travel writing makes us cringe (and how to fix it if you're the guilty party)

Travel writing is a genre already riddled with clichés, but Paris is in a class of its own for inspiring a never-ending literary parade of tired descriptions, hackneyed imagery, and nauseating hyperbole. And frankly, the City of Light deserves better. A dive into the Secrets of Paris archives reveals some of the worst offenders! Read more...



Using the Vélib Bike Service in Paris

Now that the weather is (mostly) conducive to getting around Paris by bicycle, I thought it would be a good time to update the information about using the City of Paris’s municipal bike-share system known as Vélib. It’s had a rocky few years after switching service providers, and while there are still a few bugs to work out, I’ve found them to be pretty reliable for the casual cyclist.

Whether you’ve used them before or are a first-timer, here are a few useful tips on the bikes, how to set up an account, and how to use them.

Most Important Takeaways:

  • Vélib has regular bikes (green) and electric-assisted bikes (blue)
  • Sign up for ALL passes (including 24-hour or 7-day passes) online, NOT directly at the bike station “bornes” (there have been issues with people putting in their credit card info and then not receiving the account number or passcode to be able to check out the bikes).
  • There’s a FREE pass for residents that only charges you if you actually use a bike (this “pay as you go” option is slightly more expensive, but great for the occasional user who wants the option to grab a bike at any moment without fuss).

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Le Figaro announces the Best Pistachio Ice Cream in Paris

Le Figaroscope is Figaro newspaper’s weekly culture and dining magazine. Aside from being in French (obviously), much of the best content of its online edition is also behind Le Figaro’s paywall, known as Premium Figaro. So if you don’t want to buy the paper edition (which comes out on Wednesdays), you can subscribe online for €9.99/month (the first month is €1, you can cancel any time). It’s not such as bad deal for those of you who are always looking for the latest Paris news and culture. To give you a little “goûter” I thought I’d present the results of their latest blind taste test for the best pistachio ice cream in Paris.

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