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

May 13-16
The 27th annual Artists' Open Studios in Belleville takes place for four days in over 120 ateliers in Belleville (11th, 19th & 20th arrondissements). It's a great chance to see some neighborhoods tourists don't normally see, to meet local artists, and of course purchase some lovely artworks! Pick up a map and program at the Espace Jordain (3 rue Jean-Baptiste Dumay, 20th, M° Jourdain). Free entry. Open 2-8pm, Fri-Sat until 10pm. 

May 21
Check out your favorite Paris museum at night during the 12th annual Nuit Européenne des Musées, when all over Europe museums stay open until midnight...for free! Special flashlight tours, live music, installment arts, film screenings, costumed museum guides, and other fun events throughout the evening at each museum.

May 21-22
Attention equestrian fans: it's time for the one of the legendary horse racing events in Paris, the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris at the Hippodrome d'Auteuil (16th). There will be food trucks, snack stands and you can also dine in the panoramic restaurant overlooking the racetrack. Tickets are €8. 

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

Thursday
Mar102016

Studying in France: A Debt Free Diploma

Please call me Dr. Bryan. Yes, I hold both a master's and a doctoral degree from the Sorbonne in Paris. The Sorbonne, or more generally the University of Paris, has existed for centuries, educating the likes of Victor Hugo and Marie Curie, among others. Most people around the world, at least those in academia, know the name “Sorbonne,” which elicits the same sort of reaction as “Harvard” or “Cambridge.” I am proud of these degrees, but most importantly, I am happy about their price tag. For five years of graduate study, I probably paid in total about 1500 euros, including registration fees and social security charges.

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Monday
Mar072016

Easy Water Heater Replacement and DIY Assistance

During the coldest week in February (hovering around 2°C) my little hot water heater finally expired after a dozen years of loyal service. I called “my guy” that Friday afternoon who came by and quoted €600 to replace it the next day, cash only. But the owner, who is responsible for paying for the new water heater, wanted a facture (the invoice, with VAT). I found EasyBallon (“ballon d’eau chaude” is the hot water tank) through my energy company DirectEnergie, an alternative to EDF/GDF. EasyBallon is a company that does just one thing: fix or replace your hot water heater.

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Saturday
Mar052016

Stitching Up Paris: Meet the Local Kniterati

Updated on Monday, April 4, 2016 by Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall

How someone who knows nothing about the world of knitting, sewing, notions and needlecraft discovers the international "kniterati" and the New Zealand expats who have written the difinitive insider's guide to the fiber arts community in Paris. 

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Friday
Mar042016

Make Hemingway Proud: How to Avoid Travel Writing Clichés 

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.
 

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Saturday
Feb272016

What You Don’t Know About TripAdvisor Can Hurt You 

This is an exceprt and summary of a much longer article published on Medium titled What You Don’t Know About TripAdvisor: How the World’s Largest Travel Monopoly Ultimately Hurts Travelers & Small Businesses

It’s no secret that most travelers will eventually end up on TripAdvisor when planning their vacation. It has become the Google of the travel world, where people go for honest, unbiased reviews of hotels, restaurants, sights and activities by fellow travelers. Except the information on TripAdvisor is anything but honest and unbiased, and it’s only getting worse. If you’ve only seen the good side of TripAdvisor, be prepared to swallow the red pill. Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to vacation planning, especially in expensive destinations like Paris, so this in-depth article will attempt to show you what’s behind the curtain (the summary is first if you just want the main points). The purpose isn’t to rant, but to provide information travelers can use to make better decisions when planning a trip, and to raise awareness in general about how TripAdvisor’s profit-driven practices affect both travelers and small businesses.

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Saturday
Feb272016

French Flags and Official Symbols

Updated on Monday, February 29, 2016 by Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall

Have you ever seen a flag or symbol while walking around Paris that you didn't recognize? Here’s a little primer on the ones my tour clients ask me about most often. Some are fairly common and others may be unknown to even regular visitors to France.

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