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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:

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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

Entries in Cathedral (4)


The Golden Hershey Kiss at Pont de l'Alma

I was with some tour clients last week, and as we crossed from the Avenue George V and across the Place de l'Alma to drive along the Right Bank, one of the kids asks, "What's that golden Hershey Kiss?" "Oh, that's a replica of the Statue of Liberty Flame," I reply, explaining how it was a gift from the International Herald Tribune to Paris for its 150th anniversary back in the 1980s. "It's become a sort of memorial spot because Princess Diana's car crashed in the tunnel beneath it." 

Not this one, a replica of the Statue of Liberty flame seen peeking out over the Pont de l'Alma on the Right Bank.

The girl's grandfather then says, "Not that one, the big thing that looks like a gold dome across the other side of the bridge?" I turn around to see what they're talking about, and suddenly remember talk of the new Russian Orthodox Cathedral being built there. It has been an enormous construction site for the past few years, but last month they placed the first of five golden onion-style domes -- typical of Russian Orthodox churches -- that will grace the final monument housing a bilingual school, church and cultural center. As it's just a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower, it will be hard to miss this gilded addition to the Parisian skyline. And yes, before they added the cross it did indeed look like a giant golden Hershey Kiss. 

From the architect's website Wilmotte & Associés; the Russian Orthodox cathedral being built on the Left Bank. Only the largest dome is currently in place. 

You can see more images here on the architect's website. 


Midnight Mass Procession at Notre Dame de Paris

I recorded this short video of the Christmas Midnight Mass Procession at Notre Dame de Paris on December 24, 2012. The bell you hear ringing is Emmanuel, the 12.8-ton bell cast in 1682. It only rings for special occaisions, and reverberates throughout the Ile de la Cité and the Latin Quarter. The organ music, choir singing, and images from inside the Cathedral were retransmitted live to the crowd outside where special bleachers were arranged for the massive crowds who couldn't fit inside. This is the cathedral's 850th Christmas celebration.


The Sound of Notre Dame's Ancient Bell 

While the Revolutionaries of 1791 smashed and melted down Marie, the great church bell of Notre Dame's north tower, the other bell in the south tower, Emmanuel, was spared, making it one of the largest and oldest bells of Europe.

Forged in 1685, it weighs 13 tons (the ringer alone weighs 500 kilos).  Normally you won't hear Emmanuel ring, since it's reserved for the Cathedral's special occasions like Christmas, Easter, and Ascension. It also rings for state funerals and calls the city's Catholics to prayer in times of great mourning, like the day after September 11.

Today I happened to be walking by as Emmanuel rang for Pentecost services. You can clearly hear its deep ringing (in F#) over the smaller bells:


A Weekend in Reims

Updated on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 by Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall

Earlier this month I spent two days in Reims updating part of the Fodor's France Guide. Check out my informal photo gallery of all the fun places I visited, the chocolates I ate, the Champagne I drank...

It's a hard job, but someone gets to do it! :)

Click to read more ...