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
* Travel Writing Workshops
* 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

June 4
The 16th annual Carnaval Tropical parade with 4000 dancers celebrating French West Indies cultures as well as other dancers from Brazil, China, Colombia and other nations around the world. They start at Hôtel de Ville at 2pm, up to Place de la République until 6pm. Come see the dancers and try out the exotic foods on sale! 

June 19
Get out your fancy hats and picnic baskets for the annual Prix de Diane races at Chantilly Hippodrome (just 45 minutes north of Paris from Gare du Nord). Read more about the event from previous years here. 

June 24-26
Solidays is one of the best summer music festivals in France. This event unites more than 150 musicians (including Cypress Hill and Keziah Jones) and 160,000 attendees every year in the fight against AIDS, and this summer is expected to be bigger and better than ever. Day passes starting at €39.  

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

Tuesday
Apr052016

Another Parisian Bridge Liberated from Destructive Padlocks

This morning on my run I was thrilled to see a dozen municipal workers removing padlocks one by one from the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, formerly known as Passerelle Solférino (the pedestrian bridge connecting the Tuileries Gardens to the Musée d'Orsay).

You can see sky through the finished section on the left. They still had the other side of the bridge to liberate...but how to keep idiot vandals from adding more locks all over again? Unlike the Pont des Arts, the architecture of thin metal wires on the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor doesn't allow for the Plexiglas panels that prevent padlocks from being attached. 

If you're interested in more news about the destructive "Love Locks" that are ruining the beautiful historical bridges of Paris, check out the No Love Locks website. 

Monday
Apr042016

Private Paris: The Making of a Thriller set in Paris

In April 2013 I had a very unique tour client, author Mark Sullivan researching the latest detective crime thriller in the "Private" series he co-authors with James Patterson. Almost exactly three years later, Private Paris finally launched on March 15th and is already a New York Times #1 bestseller. Now that I can finally share a bit of the behind-the-scenes preparation that went into the novel, I spoke with Mark over the phone to get his take on how on-the-ground research made a difference in the final result.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr022016

The Golden Hershey Kiss at Pont de l'Alma

I was with some tour clients last week, and as we crossed from the Avenue George V and across the Place de l'Alma to drive along the Right Bank, one of the kids asks, "What's that golden Hershey Kiss?" "Oh, that's a replica of the Statue of Liberty Flame," I reply, explaining how it was a gift from the International Herald Tribune to Paris for its 150th anniversary back in the 1980s. "It's become a sort of memorial spot because Princess Diana's car crashed in the tunnel beneath it." 

Not this one, a replica of the Statue of Liberty flame seen peeking out over the Pont de l'Alma on the Right Bank.

The girl's grandfather then says, "Not that one, the big thing that looks like a gold dome across the other side of the bridge?" I turn around to see what they're talking about, and suddenly remember talk of the new Russian Orthodox Cathedral being built there. It has been an enormous construction site for the past few years, but last month they placed the first of five golden onion-style domes -- typical of Russian Orthodox churches -- that will grace the final monument housing a bilingual school, church and cultural center. As it's just a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower, it will be hard to miss this gilded addition to the Parisian skyline. And yes, before they added the cross it did indeed look like a giant golden Hershey Kiss. 

From the architect's website Wilmotte & Associés; the Russian Orthodox cathedral being built on the Left Bank. Only the largest dome is currently in place. 

You can see more images here on the architect's website. 

Tuesday
Mar292016

Visit a Historic Schooner on the Seine

Back in the fall Parisians welcomed a rather unique vessel on the Seine, the three-masted schooner La Boudeuse, constructed in Holland in 1916. The 46-meter ship with 13 sails has explored all seven of the world's seas and has a fascinating history:

"La Boudeuse » is one of the rare French three-masted schooners still in use and the only one to sail on long journeys on all the seas around the world. It is dedicated to the pursuit of discovery, adventure and science, in the spirit of the great maritime and land expeditions of the Enlightenment. For this reason, a certain number of writers, philosophers, painters, scientists and photographers are part of the crew.

The captain of « La Boudeuse » and the project initiator is Patrice Franceschi, sailor, writer, explorer, member of the French Society of the Philosophy of Science and Honorary President of the Society of French Explorers…"

Read more about the schooner and its world mission here

La Boudeuse was in Paris for the COP21 Climate Change conference, meant to leave in January for a new adventure. But for the moment it's still moored along Les Berges of the Rive Gauche in the Port du Gros Caillou (aka Quai d'Orsay, 7th), and the general public is welcome to visit for free every Saturday (unless noted on their website), hourly tours are conducted from 10am through 4pm. 

Monday
Mar282016

Time Machine Gimmick at Place de la Bastille

There's a new machine at the Place de la Bastille that promises to take you on an immersive virtual reality trip into the past to see the square as it looked in the 15th and 18th centuries when it was still dominated by the Bastille fortress. If you've got a working internet connection to pay the €2...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar212016

13th Arrondissement has the Best Baguettes

The winning baguette for 2016 might have come from a bakery in the 6th arrondissement, but not only are 80% of the winners on the Left Bank (go Rive Gauche!), the largest number of them, three out of ten, are from the 13th arrondissement. My neighborhood!

Click to read more ...