About Secrets of Paris

Created in 1999, the Secrets of Paris is the oldest independent and locally-owned website about Paris in English, for both visitors and residents. Discover what you've been missing:

* Free Resource Guide
* 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

October 21-30 A bit like a smaller, cozier version of the Foire de Paris, the Foire d'Automne at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles is a trade show of food and wine, home decor, beauty and fashion, and all French arts de vivre. Open 10am-7pm, entry €9. 

October 27-29
The last big electronic music festival of the year, the Pitchfork Festival, takes place over three days at the Grande Halle de la Villette (Parc de la Villette, 19th). One-day passes €54,  three-day passes €120.

October 28 - November 1
Stuff yourself with all kinds of chocolately goodies at the annual Salon du Chocolat, at the Paris-Expo - Porte de Versailles (metro line 12), 10am-7pm. Entrance €14. You can get advance tickets online or ask at your favorite chocolate shop if they have any extra invitations. Avoid the weekend unless you're a masochist! Here are some Salon du Chocolat tips from a previous article by Secrets of Paris intern Tara Oakes. 

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

« Chocoholics of the World Unite | Main | Newsletter #121: October 24, 2012 »

Liberté, Egalité, Cupcakes

Article and photos by Paris Pastry correspondent Tara Oakes.

Had you followed the damp queue through the mysterious door on the Quai de Jemmapes last Saturday, you would have been rewarded with a glorious sight. On every surface were perched bright, colourful, scrumptious treats - cupcakes everywhere, as far as the eye can see. This can only mean one thing: the third edition of Cupcake Camp Paris was in full swing at the trendy Comptoir Général. Amateur and professional bakers whipped up their most adventurous and delicious recipes to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and win over a decidedly keen public in the process – who doesn’t love a good deed that comes with a few extra sprinkles on top?

In fact, if you think sprinkles are about as exciting as cupcakes can get, think again. In response to prize categories including “Most Horrifying, Halloween-Inspired Cupcake” and “Cupcake with the Most Exotic/Unusual Ingredient”, entrants offered up everything from white chocolate brains to tempt Hannibal Lecter to guacamole delights topped with icing cacti. The sheer range of cakes piled up throughout the hall proves the point: these treats, often assumed to be determinedly cute and girly, can fill not only your stomachs but also any design brief you care to think of.

The bakers themselves agree that the possibility for individuality is what makes cupcakes stand out from other traditional French patisseries. Caroline from Carolive’s Cupcakes highlighted the accessibility of cupcakes, saying: “We look for beautiful things and cupcakes are so varied. You can adapt any sort of recipe”. Rahima Mohammad of Fairy Cooker, who went on to win the prize for most exotic ingredient with her guacamole creations, agreed: “All the cupcakes here, they’ve been made like little babies and you put your heart into them”. Not everyone participating today owns their own boutique, but all have been drawn into the world of cupcakes by the opportunity to create something that is not only delicious but also highly personalised.

This seems to deliberately fly in the face of the rigid perfection often associated with traditional French patisseries. In fact, Nelly from La Dinette de Nelly claims that the very fact that they are not originally a French creation adds another dimension to their current popularity in Paris, likening their success to that of other international foods like burgers and pizza. Cat from Sugar Daze, organiser of Cupcake Camp Paris, explains: “Every time people talk to me about cupcakes they bring up Sex and the City...the French people really like New York, so I think it’s all kind of linked somehow”. Despite the oft-cited stereotype that the French are entirely obsessed with their own culinary traditions, the large crowds on the day seem to prove that these American-inspired treats with the scope for a bit of eccentricity are a hit – especially with the added sweetener of raising money for Make-A-Wish. Cupcake Camp 2013? Expect something deliciously unexpected...


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