Secrets of Paris 
featured in:


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
* Christmas in Paris Tours
* Monthly Secrets of Paris newsletter
* Secrets of Paris Videos

Read more about the Secrets of Paris here

Calendar of Paris Events

November 7-15
The 40th annual Salon Marjolaine, the largest organic fair in Paris, takes place this week at the Parc Floral (Bois de Vincennes) with 550 stands selling everything organic you could imagine: produce, meats, cheeses, artisan oils, wines, essential oils, herbs, teas, cosmetics, beauty products, household cleaning products, clothing, shoes, accessories, home decor, books, gardening supplies, as well as stands for environmental tourism, different green activist groups such as Greenpeace, etc.

November 12 - Seattle
Heather will be at Seattle's Paris Eastside cooking school and French boutique for the November Sip & Meet event with copies of Naughty Paris for a special price of just $27 (cover price $39). From 6-8pm, wine and nibbles, €5/person. Come say hello if you're in the area!

November 18-22
Shopping for some supplies for your creative projects? Head down to the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles for the annual Création & Savoir Faire show. Scrapboooking, knitting, gardening, baking, sewing, crafts, and decorating ideas for the holidays. Entrance €13-15, €22 for the two-day pass, open 9:30am-6:30pm (until 9:30pm Friday).  

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

Entries in Adventures (21)


Peloton Café and Bike About Tours

Last week, when the temperatures in Paris briefly took a dive below 50°F, I finally got a chance to pop into the newly-opened Le Peloton, a café run by Christian Osburn and Paul Barron, founders of the city's popular Bike About Tours.  

I had just finished a walking tour of the Marais and needed to thaw out, so I thought I'd just try a cup of their locally roasted Belleville coffee, but when I sat down at the large counter, the first thing that caught my eye was the apple tart. "Freshly baked!" said Christian. It's okay to eat dessert before lunch if it's home-made, right? I also had a bottle of their Luscombe hot ginger beer (as in spicy, not warm), another weakness of mine. The cold removes all of my resistance, I'll admit it! 

Le Peloton is located in the Marais district on a quiet street between Rue de Rivoli and the Seine, just behind Hôtel de Ville. Most of the seats are around the bar, so as people came in and sat down for a coffee, it was easy to chat. It's not the kind of coffee house where people hide in a corner with their laptop. While Christian performed barista duties, Paul welcomed a group of cyclists who finished up their Bike About Tour at the café. These expats (from the US and New Zealand) started Bike About Tours ten years ago, so we often cross paths on our respective tour routes around Paris. 

I'm always impressed when anyone can start a small business in Paris and make it work, but their tours also happen to be really good! (and I sincerely hope you'd trust me before you'd trust TripAdvisor, but they are #1 there, too) So many other bike tour companies hire guides who either barely speak comprehensible English or are so new to Paris they have no knowledge of the city beyond the Wikipedia text they've memorized (yes, I've been spying; I'm the one pretending to to be checking my phone when a bike tour stops for "commentary"). 

Much like Secrets of Paris, this grassroots tour company gives a real insider's look at the city (and Versailles and Champagne, too), keep their groups small, and avoid the typical generic Paris tour circuits followed by most bike tours. They also support the international charity, World Bicycle Relief, which I think is awesome. And now they're keeping Parisians well-caffeinated! For the moment the only snacking options are baked goods made fresh locally (pies and cookies), but they hinted they might look into waffles. Who doesn't like waffles?

Le Peloton Café
17 rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 4th
M° Pont Marie or Hôtel de Ville
They're currently open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-5pm, but since they're less than a month old they may adjust that as needed, so check the Facebook page

Cycling and coffee fans can also read the excellent article in Sprudge, In Paris, Exploring Coffee by Bicycle


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 ...


Daytripping to Country Chateaux and Hiking Trails

If you’re in the mood for bucolic country hikes, medieval fortress ruins, and secluded château visits less than an hour from Paris, head to the Natural Regional Park de la Haute Vallée de Chevreuse.

Vallée de la Chevreuse, Château Breteuil, Château de la Madeleine

Just under an hour southwest of Paris by train, this protected regional park is rarely visited by foreign tourists (which is probably how the French like it), but has many excellent sites easily accessible by RER and the seasonal Baladobus, a shuttle that circulates every Sunday in April through October. Starting from the RER B station Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse, the Baladobus (€4 for a daypass) stops at several historic hiking trails leading to many unforgettable sites such as the 11th-century ruins of the Château de la Madeleine (with panoramic views over the valley and a visitors’ center), France’s oldest riverside mills, a house made of iron, charming villages hidden in wooded valleys, vestiges of the 13th-century Port Royal Abbey (now a museum), and the magnificent Château de Breteuil with its formal French gardens.

Note that you can also bring your bike and cycle many of these trails. Pack water and snacks (not much is open in the smaller villages on Sunday), and have an actual map in case your GPS reception disappears in the forest. All of the information is online in English with full descriptions of each trail, hours and prices for each site (you can also download the PDF leaflet).


Volunteering on Organic Farms in France


Would you like a seasonal work experience on an organic farm in France in return for food and lodging? Try WWOOFing! WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, and although it was started in 1971, some people don't realize it's still going strong. If you're not afraid of hard work, practicing your broken French, and meeting new people, then WWOOFing is an excellent way for those on a tight budget to live in France for up to three months.

Click to read more ...


Does Paris Still Inspire Creativity?

Updated on Friday, March 21, 2014 by Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall

A guest post (with photos and illustrations) by Secrets of Paris friend and creativity coach Cynthia Morris of Original Impulse

Paris has always been a place where creative people come from around the world come to flourish. Renoir, Anais Nin, Gertrude Stein, Brassai, Picasso, Henry Miller….the list of creative luminaries whose work was positively influenced by Paris is long.  

It’s easy to make the imaginative leap where you become a creative genius in Paris, too. Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris shows that the City of Light still sparks hope for the creative person. But does it deliver beyond the clichés? Does Paris actually make us better writers and artists?

Click to read more ...


Paris for Lovers

There are plenty of articles telling you what to do, where to go, and what to buy for Valentine’s Day in Paris. But do you really need help finding something romantic to do in the City of Love? If you’re really in love with each other, then all you need is a good setting for strolling hand-in-hand, a decent bed for the night, and tasty food and wine to keep you fueled in between.  

Click to read more ...