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Newsletter #97: March 2010


* Mariage Frères Tearoom at Carrousel du Louvre
* Ladurée Bonaparte Chocolate Boutique
* Brentano’s Bookstore Reopened
* Monoprix St Michel Now Open Late
* Paris Nightlife Updates
* Touring France and Europe by Bus
* Spring Special in Michelin Restaurants
* Paris Has a National Sports Museum
* Safeguard Your Official Papers
* Eco-Paris Sites
* Less Expensive Beauty Products
* Secrets of Paris Blog & Calendar
* Naughty News
* Gold in Them Archives!
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* Mariage Frères Tearoom at Carrousel du Louvre *

The Apple Store and McDonald’s got a lot of press when they opened at the Carrousel du Louvre (the shopping center under the Louvre, FYI), but I was quite happy to see that the Paris-Ile-de-France Tourism Office next to the Virgin Megastore was replaced with a Mariage Frères boutique and tearoom (open 10am-7pm, closed Tue). It’s a nice and civilized alternative to the Starbucks. Ahem. Speaking of the Louvre, I was just there on Friday night at 6:30pm and it was practically empty, making it the perfect time to visit for crowd-haters like myself (the museum is open until 10pm on Fridays, FYIbis). 

* Ladurée Bonaparte Chocolate Boutique *

Have you ever visited the chocolate boutique of the Ladurée pastry shop and tearoom at St Germain des Près (corner of Rue Jacob and Rue Bonaparte, 6th)? In addition to the chocolates, there is also their complete line of accessories, notebooks, candles, dish towels, umbrellas, signatures bags, etc. But even more exciting for addicts like myself, on weekends you can also buy your macarons here, avoiding the huge lines in the pastry shop next door.

* Brentano’s Bookstore Reopened *

The historic Parisian bookstore Brentano’s, which closed last year due to financial woes, has been purchased and reopened last month. The website is still under construction.

* Monoprix St Michel Now Open Late *

The Monoprix at 24 Boulevard St Michel (at the SW corner of Blvd St Germain, 6th) is now open Mon-Sat 8:30am-11:50pm. If you’re further east in Paris, the Monop’ Store (which also has its own cafeteria, heated terrace and newsstand) at Bercy Village (62 cour St Emilion, 12th) is open daily 10am-10pm, café open until midnight.

* Paris Nightlife Updates *

There have been a lot of changes in the Paris nightlife scene over the past six months, with openings, closings, and a few re-namings as well. Supposedly the Chacha Club, closed by the authorities in January for drug violations, will be open by the end of March. Read the rest of the news and my response to the claim that “Paris nightlife is Dead” here.

* Touring France and Europe by Bus *

Until recently, the only non-local bus travel in France was run by Eurolines, and you could only come in or out of the country (ie Paris to London, or Rome to Nice). If you wanted to travel between large cities you either flew or took the train. Of course, France has a very efficient train system and budget airlines make it easy to around quickly, but some people still dream of seeing France by bus. Et voila, now there’s Busabout, the hop-on, hop-off bus tours that stop in Avignon, Paris, Nice, Tours, and Bordeaux, as well as cities in five other European countries. The travel passes start at €359 for six to nine destinations with no time expiration.

* Spring Special in Michelin Restaurants *

From March 21-June 21, over 1000 restaurants listed in the Michelin 2010 Red Guide are offering special menus, discount rates and other little extras to any clients carrying the Pass Privilège Printemps. How to get yours? They’re free inside every copy of the new 2010 Guide Rouge, simply choose a restaurant, make your reservations, and be sure to present the Pass when you arrive (it’s valid for two people). There are 63 participating in Paris, including Guy Savoy, Meating, Arpège, Pré Catalan, Le Chiberta, Laurent, Stella Maris,  and Le Meurice.

* Paris Has a National Sports Museum *

I had no idea there was a Musée National de Sport (93 ave de France, 13th, M° Bibliothèque), which apparently used to be in the Parc des Princes until 1998, then reopened near the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand in 2008. I haven’t visited myself yet, but since it’s not far from my corner of Paris I’m going to try and catch their current exhibition, Allez les Filles! (Women in Sports) through May 2. Open Tue-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat and first Sun of the month from 2-6pm. Entry €4. 

* Safeguard Your Official Papers *

Any foreigner who has had to go through the often long and tedious process of getting official documents and ID cards in France knows, the idea of losing them and having to get them replaced is terrifying. Now you can securely upload PDF scans of all your important papers (passport, carte de sojourn, carte Vitale, livret de famille, carte grises, avis d’imposition, permis de conduire, and even fiches de paie) to the government website, Mon.Service-Public.fr. These can then be accessed by you in case of loss, fire, or theft, quite handy to be able to print out if you need your “carte de séjour” to get back into the country! Create your account at https://connexion.mon.service-public.fr then go to “Espace Confidential” on left sidebar and start uploading.

* Eco-Paris Sites *

A year ago there was hardly a “Green Paris” site on the web, now there are hundreds. A few that I found interesting:

- EcoVisit offers tourists sightseeing tours of Paris in a Toyota Prius hybrid car (crash helmet optional)

- Amours Bio is a dating site for vegetarian, tree-hugger types

- Okay, these biodegradable condoms aren’t available in Paris yet, but I like their name, French Letter Condoms (they should partner with “Amours Bio, non?)

- Shi-Zen is a new French women’s fashion and beauty magazine with a focus on fair-trade, organic, and responsible commerce

- Greenzer is a French site covering all of the latest eco-news and green shopping

* Less Expensive Beauty Products *

I’ve become so used to non-competitive pricing since living in France that I was surprised when I wandered into the Pharmacie Montorgueil (67 rue Montorgueil, 2nd) and found many products I usually buy at much cheaper prices (including Nuxe and Skinceuticals). They’re open daily 8:30am-8pm, and you can also shop online at www.pharma4beauty.com (where you’ll also find a link to their “Destock” site, www.destock-pharma.com). For those who still think those prices are too high, you’ll be happy to hear that the cheap cosmetics brand ELF (Eyes Lips Face) can now be purchased online in France. Most of the products are €1 (with the minerals face powders the highest at €6). Just, uh, don’t ask where or how they’re made.

* Secrets of Paris Blog & Calendar *

Don’t forget to have a peek at the Secrets of Paris blog and the calendar for upcoming events, including Macaron Day, the SOS Helpline book sale, Kararocké night at Bus Palladium, Art Talks + Drinks at Hotel Particulier de Montmartre, International Obscua Day in Paris, a vintage Hermès auction, and all of the major music concerts coming to Paris through June. As always, check out my Twitter feed to find out about last-minute events and news in Paris…I promise I won’t tell you what I had for breakfast unless it’s *really* interesting. ;)

* Naughty News *

I spent two weeks of February in New York City with the Naughty Paris photographer Kirsten Loop doing the photo shoots for the next guide….Naughty New York! Stay tuned for the Fall 2010 launch, along with the updated 2nd edition of Naughty Paris. In the meantime follow the latest news at our site (with behind-the-scenes pics from NY).

* Gold in Them Archives! *

Browse the Secrets of Paris Archives for more insider tips and tricks to getting the most out of Paris: http://www.secretsofparis.com/newsletterarchives/

* Are you on the list? *

If you’ve been getting this newsletter forwarded from a friend, please consider subscribing yourself. It’s free, and all you have to do is enter your e-mail address in the box at: http://www.secretsofparis.com/subscribe.htm.  The benefit? You’ll get your own copy sent directly to your inbox every month, and I’ll have a better idea of how many of you are actually reading. Thanks! –Heather

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