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

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.

Click to read more ...

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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Friday
Feb262016

Our Widespread Lack of Trust in Travel Writing 

By Secrets of Paris contributing editor Bryan Pirolli

Trust is a tricky thing when traveling. Between the stories from your cousin Kathy, your new Lonely Planet, and those endless lists printed from the web, it’s hard to know which sources get it right when it comes to a destination. It’s especially difficult for a place like Paris and its endless amount of blogs, books, and websites.

How can you actually trust anything you read? This was a central question in my PhD thesis at the Sorbonne (don’t worry, I’m not about to get all academic on you here). The answer, however, was relatively clear after an online questionnaire with over 230 people and multiple interviews with writers and tourists in Paris: Travelers don’t ultimately trust any single source.

Click to read more ...

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