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

June 12-14
The Salon du Vinatge is always a fun event in Paris, whether you're shopping for clothing, accessories, vinyls, and home decor, or just to hear the retro DJ tunes and the festive atmosphere. Free entry, at the Halle des Blancs Manteaux (48 rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd). 

June 12-14
The Portes d'Or is a chance for all the artistic workshops in the Goutte d'Or (18th arrondissement) to open their doors to the public. Over 80 painters, sculptors, jewelery-makers and many others who live and work in the Goutte d'Or wish to share their creativity. Please come support the community and experience these unique productions. 

June 13-14
The artists of the 5th (Mouffetard) and 13th (Butte aux Cailles/Gobelins) districts knows as Lézarts du Bièvre open their studios to the public for two days, 2-8pm. Free entry. Info points and maps here.

June 14
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 here. 

June 21
Celebrate Fête de la Musique in 17th-century aristocratic style at Château Vaux-le-Vicomte for their annual costumes dance event, La Journée Grand Siècle, in honor of the 400th anniversary of the original owner, Nicolas Fouquet. There will be an elegant picnic in the chateau gardens, live music and dancing, as well as carriage rides and sword-fighting shows. If you don't have a costume gown you can rent one on-site from €17. 

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

Wednesday
Jun032015

Paris Street Art of the Week

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you'll notice I take a lot of photos of the Parisian street art (and yes, I'm a bit obessesed with the Lo-Fi filter). I live in the 13th, where many internationally renowned street artists have decorated buildings, usually at the invitation of the local Mairie (town hall) or art galleries in the district.

The brown electric boxes which normally go unnoticed (which I assume are for street lights, traffic lights, etc.) make great canvases. So far I've only seen them decorated in the 13th. 

The first four below are by Pimax, who usually does the Marilyn Monroe graffitti around town.

The street artist Moyoshi has a very distinct style, seen in the two boxes below. This series is numbered (here #05 and #07 of 13 total). His work is often in street art galleries, such as Le Lavo//Matic.

This artwork below is part of my neighborhood's artists' network Lézarts de la Bièvre, which is having their Portes Ouvertes June 13-14. Sorry, I'm not sure who the artist is! 

And here are some other interesting street art works I've seen around Paris this week, the first two from a large street mural in the 13th, Rue Boussingault in the 13th.

This one is from the Rue des Recollets in the 10th.

And this below was seen on a funky 1950s (?) building along the Petite Ceinture rail-to-trail path in the 15th.

These painting below of Dali and Serge Gainesbourg are on the facade of a tattoo shop next to the Jardin des Plantes (5th), so they're not technically street art, but they convey the same feel and I like them.

If you're a street art fan, there are several events coming up that you might like:

-  June 5th: wrap-party for the end of the Artiste-Ouvrier exposition at Lavo//Matik, 6-10pm

- June 7th: a street art auction of 93 lots at the Blancs-Manteaux Auction (Marais), from 3pm

- June 13th: 10th annual Murs Ouvertes opening night at at Lavo//Matik, 3-9:30pm

- June 14th: the annual Salon Emmaüs flea market for charity will have street artists on site to decorate any items of your choosing, at Porte de Versailles Expo Hall 9:30am-7pm, €3 entrance

Saturday
May302015

Why You Should Try Wine in a Box

I was on one of my morning runs when I passed a new shop in my neighborhood with cute lavender-colored boxes in the window, so I stopped for a photo. Wine in a box! They looked so cute I went back for an apéro that evening with my friend Lisa to check it out.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May292015

Difinitive Removal of Locks from Parisian Bridges

Because of the considerable damage and deterioration of the Pont des Arts and the Pont de l’Archevêché due to the thousands and thousands of rusting metal padlocks (aka "Love Locks"), Paris authorities have finally decided to remove them for good.

The Pont des Arts will be closed to the public June 1-7 while the locks are removed, and the bridge's panels will be temporarily replaced with an art installation of works from international artists. Plexiglas panels will be permanently installed in the fall to prevent tourists from attaching their padlocks (some test panels were already installed in 2014, photo below).

Photo courtesy Mairie de Paris/Henri Garat

No word on what will be done for the other bridges that are suffering the same fate (such as the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, aka Pont de Solférino, and the bridges of the Canal St-Martin), but it's a great start in putting a halt to the rampant vandalism that has turned the bridges of Paris into dangerous eyesores.

While some tourists think the "Love Locks" are a Parisian tradition, it's actually a fad started in 2006 after the teenage lovers in the book I Want You by Italian author Federico Moccia attached their padlock to the Ponte Milvio in Rome. The book was made into a film in 2007, and by 2010 the practice spread to Paris. In 2014 the first panel collapsed under the weight on the Pont des Arts, but it didn't dissuade tourists from continuing to attach their padlocks to any surface they could find. 

Wednesday
May272015

Paris on Periscope

This is a short video of my friend Claire about her experience as an early adopter (and #superuser) of the cool new livestreaming app Periscope. The sound isn't great, but you can hear her better than the interviewer.

If you're on Periscope you can see Paris in all its glory on Claire's feed, @clairewad (she's a #superuser with over 3000 followers). She streams sunsets, walks along the Seine, and visits of Paris monuments and museums. You can see Paris through her eyes, ask her questions, and make comments (the screenshot here is from my inaugural peek on the Periscope). Unlike many "Scopers" who just broadcast without interaction, Claire is constantly chatting with her followers, answering questions and saying hello to each new person who logs on as she strolls along.

Claire is originally from New Zealand with a French mother, and has been living in Paris for 20 years (we've known each other for almost 19 of them!), so she really knows the city like a local. You can learn more about Claire and her Periscope tours on her website Paris with Claire.  

FOR PERISCOPE NEWBIES

Even though my dad sent me to computer camp when I was just 9 years old,  I'm always the last one to know about any cool new technology (still bitter Texas Instruments stopped making computers right after I learned to code my TI99/4a). If, like me, you don't know anything about Periscope, you can read What is Periscope? and Periscope: Four Ways It's Shaking Up Media. The free Periscope iPhone app launched a few months ago, and the Android version came out a few days ago. You log in using your Twitter account (they created the app). After that, it's a bit crazy surfing around and watching videos. I recommend figuring out how it works before accidentally turning your own camera on and broadcasting your morning face to the world. 

Tuesday
May262015

Where to Watch the Cannes Film Festival in Paris

You may not be able to walk the red carpet on the famous Croisette to watch the films in the 68th Cannes Film Festival, but you can see many of the films in Parisian theatres this week (May 27-June 7).

The films of the Director's Fortnight (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs) at the Forum des Images in Les Halles (1st) (program here) through June 2.

The films from Un Certain Regard are showing at the Reflet Medicis (5th) through June 7.

All films are in their original languange with French subtitles. 

Monday
May252015

Bike Tours of the Parisian Countryside

 

You're not in Paris anymore, Toto (but you're not far, either!)

The weather in Paris is finally getting nice enough to enjoy the sunshine and start craving a bit of nature and tranquility. And while there are actually many green spaces throughout the city, some hidden and almost secluded, there's nothing like a bike ride through the countryside just outside Paris to escape the masses and reconnect with nature. 

So what is the best way to experience the Parisian countryside without any hassle? Contact Bruce from French Mystique Bike Tours, and he will take care of everything. Originally from Boston, Bruce moved to France in 2008 and spent his free time exploring the little towns, villages and countryside just outside Paris with nothing but a Michelin map and his bike. A few years ago he started French Mystique Bike tours to share his favorite routes with visitors (and Parisians) looking to truely get off the beaten path.

Click to read more ...