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

Read more about the Secrets of Paris here


Calendar of Paris Events

March 10
Heather will be the featured guest speaker at Parler Paris Après Midi, discussing the topic "How Parisian Women Do It: Feminism & Femininity in the City of Light". Naughty Paris Guides will be available for €25 (cash only).  From 3-5pm, upstairs at Café de la Mairie, corner of Rue des Archives and Rue de Bretagne, 3rd. Free entry.

March 17
Sex & Booze: An Erotic Book Club at The Chamber, where we'll be reading Story of O by Anne Declos, drinking cocktails, and talking about...well, sex. Limited to 8 women only, 8-10pm in a private home; sign up while there's space!

March 20-21
You will have a rare chance  to hear Betthoven's towering masterpiece Missa Solemnis for a modest price at either Saint Eustache or the American Cathedral, and to see for yourself the high standard reached by the Paris Choral Society. Don't wait -- order your tickets online now at www.parischoralsociety.org

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 Entertainment (46)

Tuesday
Jan062015

Christmas in France

A guest post by Sharon Autry (click on any photo to see the full size image).

Traveling to France is exciting anytime of the year, but going for Christmas is a vacation you won't soon forget. Paris and all of France dresses for the occasion with lights and decorations which transforms the cities and shopping areas into nothing short of a magical winter wonderland. Having just spent two weeks visiting Paris and Strasbourg, I can say my own decorating skills pale in comparison; the French know how to do it up big!

My Christmas journey began in Paris and took me through the decorated cobblestone streets where the shopkeepers put on their best look for the holiday. I visited several churches to see the Nativity scenes, and then strolled through Luxembourg Gardens. They’re sleeping until spring, but the Medici Fountain is a still beautiful even in the throes of winter.

I have been to Paris before and each time I stood UNDER the Eiffel Tower but never could convince myself to go up into it. This time I decided I would see what all the fuss was about. I highly recommend taking the elevator up because unless you carry an extra pair of legs with you, it will be a long way up and quite a muscle workout. The view from the tower – even just the second level -- cannot be beat: all of Paris is at your feet!

I took a daytrip one hour south of the city to the Chateau Vaux-Le-Vicomte, an absolute must see on your Christmas itinerary. There is nothing to compare the exquisite decorations in each and every room. If you're looking for inspirational holiday decorating ideas for your own home, this is the crème de la crème. The current owners live on the grounds in a different part of the château and as I toured the gardens and the rooms I couldn’t help but envy them for living in such a magical place.

There is a growing anticipation, I am told, every year when the private Musée des Arts Forains (aka Museum of Carnival Arts) opens to the public for the holidays. I was there when the doors opened and I can understand the enthusiastic crowds because this was one man's collection of antique carnival rides, memorabilia, statues and fun games of chance (which you can play).

The main draw of France for me was the idea of visiting the many Christmas markets that are everywhere, filled with regional foods, mulled wine, pastries and those coveted ornaments and decorations that you just can't find anywhere else. I browsed through quite a few in Paris, including the large one along the Champs Élyseés with its magical lights and people going about their gift shopping. But the ultimate destination was to Strasbourg for three days of shopping, sightseeing and soaking up the Christmas atmosphere.

Strasbourg is called the Capital of Christmas, and for good reason: the very first Christmas Market opened there in 1570. Today there are actually 11 markets spread out throughout the town, and in between them every single inch of the town is decorated with lights and ornaments, including the streets, alleyways and buildings. In the main square is the largest Christmas tree in all of Europe! Standing watch at the center of it all is the magnificent Strasbourg Cathedral. If you are a brave soul and want to experience the town and all the surrounding landscape, you can walk up the 333 steps to the top of the cathedral’s tower and enjoy the view.

While in Strasbourg, I visited the Strasbourg Historical Museum that told the story of the region from the Roman times through the Middle Ages and the French Revolution. A newly opened section highlights the struggle the Alsatians endured when they were annexed to Prussia in 1871 and then occupied in WWII by the German Army. I also visited the Alsatian Museum of Art and Folk Tradition, which shares the unique heritage of the Alsatian people. I highly recommend seeing both of these.

Even with the chilly, wet weather, both Paris and Strasbourg are worth a visit during the holidays when they’re full of Christmas cheer in every shop, restaurant, museum and outdoor market. Come with your warmest mittens and an appetite for mulled wine and foie gras!

Sharon Autry lives in Gettysburg, PA, where she takes photos of the historic battlefields for her website Gettysburg Beat

Saturday
Dec132014

Sexy Shows & Fabulous Giveaways at the Paris Burlesque Festival

This week is the 6th annual Paris Burlesque Festival, celebrating the theme "Burlesque & Politics: Pin-Ups Take Power!" at the new Centre Barbara (cultural center near metro Barbès, 18th). The opening night is the election of "Miss PBF 2014" followed by three nights of La Grande Revue performances (twice nightly). Get your tickets online in advance (seated "assis" spots go fast!). On the final evening there is an all-night dance party with live bands and burlesque performances at La Java (dance club near République).

Naughty Paris Will be There! 

The Naughty Guides will have a stand in the festival lounge to welcome guests between shows, with special pre-launch prices on the new edition of Naughty Paris and fun giveaway drawings each night for fabulously naughty prizes. On the final night Saturday the 20th I'll be there signing books before heading over to La Java to dance the night away at La Nuit Fatale...I hope you can join us for the fun!

For more information visit the Naughty Paris website.

 

Thursday
Feb132014

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 ...

Monday
Aug192013

Candlelit Evenings at Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte

Despite all of the wonders and delights of Paris that I've discovered in my 18 years of living here, even I have to begrudgingly admit that when it comes to "must see sights", the reality can often be a huge let down compared to the fairy tale image many visitors imagined. Crowds, lines, noise, confusing signage, no restrooms, years of scaffolding for renovations, a lack of any helpful information in English, Artful Dodgers making off with your wallet...it seems there's always something that ruins the "moment". 

But not at Château Vaux-le-Vicomte. 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan312013

Valentine's Adventures in Paris

Paris is the perfect city for celebrating la vie en deux, with all of the requisite clichés covered:

Five Sexy Couples' Hotels in Paris from the upcoming second edition of Naughty Paris.

10 Romantic (and Sexy) Things to Do In Paris with photos and intro by David Lebovitz.

La Vie Parisienne for a fun and sexy alternative show to the Moulin Rouge (en français).

Pinup Attitude for burlesque strip-tease classes with Sugar DaMoore.

Valentine's Bellies on Foot themed food tour with La Cuisine.

Valentine's Day on the Eiffel Tower with dinner, wine & cheese, or chocolate & Champagne.

And if you're already sick of red hearts and chocolates, get your tickets for the Paris Rollergirls vs Royal Windsor Rollergirls on February 16th. Because what's more Anti-Valentine's Day than a women's rollerderby match?

Saturday
Dec292012

New Year's Eve in Paris 

Still looking for ideas for New Year's Eve in Paris? The city is full of bars, clubs, brasseries, restaurants, pubs, concerts, parties…Phew. It can be overwhelming at the best of times, never mind on December 31st. Luckily, we’re here to help! Whatever your idea of a good night out, there should be something in this round-up to help you see 2012 out with a bang!

Click to read more ...