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

October 4
One of the greatest contemporary British comedians, Eddie Izzard, is bringing his show Force Majeure back to Paris, this time....en français! Mais oui! He'll be performing at the Casino de Paris one night before moving onto a week-long tour in other French cities. Even if your French sucks, you'll likely be able to follow along Eddie's own version of Franglais as he explains World History, God, Hitler, and other light topics. Tickets from FNAC starting at €25.

October 8-11
The annual Puces du Design is a free market of vintage furniture and home decor from the 1950s to today, at the Place des Vins behind Bercy Village, 12th. Over 100 stands, free entry. 

October 8-18
Celebrate Oktoberfest in Paris all week long in a huge Bavarian-themed tent at the Porte de la Villette (19th), tickets €34-€44, including €15 of drink tickets.  There will be music, Bavarian Cancan dancers, and plenty to eat and drink. Dust off the lederhosen and be ready for fun! 

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).  

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


Free USB Charger at Paris Bus Shelters

Paris has been steadily rolling out the sleek new bus shelters since the spring, and all 1850 of the old ones should be replaced by the early fall. Not only do the new AbriBus shelters (which are paid for by the billboard ad compay, JCDecaux) have easier-to-read signs, better digital signs displaying the waiting times, and free USB charger ports for when your gadget starts to lose juice (be sure to carry your charger cord with you), but some of them also have green rooftops, solar panels, and even touch-screen computers with searchable maps and nearby services and activities.

Not everyone is impressed. These are bigger, taller and brighter than the old ones (urban “eyesores” for some), and in order to allow wheelchair access some are only closed on two sides instead of three, which lets in more rain and wind. Here’s a detailed complaint on (en français). 


Discover the Best Secrets of Paris in this TV Series

"Next Stop Paris" is a 13-episode Canadian TV series aired last year that features my good friend and fellow travel expert Lisa Pasold. Each 45-minute episode (now online) centers on a particular neighborhood around 13 Paris metro stations, so you can use it as guide for in-depth explorations of these districts: OpéraMontparnasseCharles-de-Gaulle-EtoileGrands BoulevardsPlace d'ItalieLes HallesSt-PaulSt-Germain-des-Prés, InvalidesBir HakeimBastilleButtes Chaumont, andGambetta.

If you live in Canada you may have seen one of the episodes on the Discovery television channel. Lisa is always stopped by Canadian tourists when we're walking through the city, it's hard to miss her! I helped with some of the research (and frequently ran into Lisa and the film crew while leading my tours last fall), so of course I highly recommend watching each 45-minute episode for a real insider view of the city and its colorful history. 


Official Website to Buy or Resell Paris Race Entry Bibs

There are many running events in Paris throughout the year, but the Paris Marathon in April, the Paris Half-Marathon (Semi-Marathon de Paris) in March, and the 20km de Paris in October remain the most popular, selling out almost immediately. Normally there's no legitimate market for selling purchased bibs (because of injuries, illness or other commitments) or for those who missed out on buying them. There's a black market, as described in this WSJ article Marathons, Triathlons Allow Runners to Resell or Transfer Entry Bibs, which besides opening up the possibility of scalpers buying bibs just to resell them at a profit, also presents the very real problem of what happens when someone has a medical emergency during a race wearing someone else's name. 

Certain races in the US are now offering refunds and transfers. In Paris, a new service, Luck-It! is an offical website for buying or reselling your entry bibs. At the moment only the sold-out 20km de Paris is listed, and the website is only in French, but if you can figure it out then you'll be able to get your money back if you can't run, and get a bib in your own name if you're looking to enter the race. Sign up as soon as possible if you want to get on the wait list (organized by gender and time expected to complete the race). 


Charming Paris Jewelry Boutique

If you're looking for a Parisian charm for yourself or for a gift and would like to avoid the international chains that have popped up all over town, check out this cute little jewelry boutique in St-Germain-des-Prés. Lilou (146 blvd St-Germain, 6th arr) sells charms, bracelets, cufflinks, rings and necklaces, most which can be custom engraved on-site for free. 


Zone-Free Paris Metro/RER Passes Starting September

If you have a monthly or annual NAVIGO pass covering Zones 1-2 (metro/bus/tram and RERs in Paris and immediate suburbs), you can use it in any zone during the school holidays, July 14- August 16, including both Paris airports (RER and RoissyBus or OrlyBus, but not OrlyVal), Versailles and Disneyland. 

And beginning September 1st, 2015, the  monthly and annual Navigo passes will be zone-free all year long. It's a great deal and simplifies life for those who make frequent trips out of the city center. 

For more info check out the rates on the RATP website.


International Entrepreneurs: Paris Welcomes Your Startup

Some clichés just won't die.

Do you still think Paris is bad for entrepreneurs and small businesses? That there are no prospering startups or angel investors looking for projects to support? That the young Parisians with big ideas have all left town because of crippling taxes and paperwork? That the French government doesn't promote innovation?

If you still believe these clichés, you haven't been paying attention (or you've only been reading the click-bait "doom and gloom" news sites). Check out this video about why entrepreneurs are now choosing Paris for their startups:

For the past few years the City of Paris has made the development of startups in the capital one of its top priorities, quietly becoming one of the major world cities for innovation and intellectual capital. There is now over 100,000m² of space in incubators covering every sector from tourism and sports to digital publishing and commerce. 

Your Startup Ticket to Paris

This year the City of Paris is inviting entrepreneurial talent from all across the world to come set up their businesses in the French capital through a program called The French Tech Ticket. The lucky companies chosen to participate in the program will receive benefits including:

  • A place in a leading Parisian incubator
  • Financial support of €12,500
  • Mentoring services
  • Assistance with administrative processes
  • Practical support in relocating to Paris
  • Assistance in obtaining a visa

Applications should be made through before September 15th. The winners will be announced in December, and will set up in Paris from January 2016.

Learn More About Paris Startups and Incubators

Start-up City: Reinventing Paris (The Economist)

- France Strives to Become Startup-Friendlier (Wall Street Journal)

- French Billionaire Primes Paris to be Startup Hub of Europe (Upstart Business Journal)

- Top 10 Startup Cities Where Entrepreneurs Want to Meet Up (

- Startup Hubs Around the World: Paris (Entrepreneurial Insights)

- Paris is for Lovers...of Startups (USA Today)

- The First Incubator in the World Focusing on Tourism (France Diplomatie)

- Pioneering New Sports Incubator Opens its Doors in Paris (

- Rude Baguette: France's Startup Blog

- My Startup in Paris 

1000 Startups: Welcome to the World's Largest Digital Business Incubator

- Paris Startups List

- Invest in Paris (Paris & Co)