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:
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Celebrate Oktoberfest in Paris all week long in a huge Bavarian-themed tent at the Porte de la Villette (19th), tickets €34-€44, including €15 of drink tickets. There will be music, Bavarian Cancan dancers, and plenty to eat and drink. Dust off the lederhosen and be ready for fun!
Through October 18
The 32nd annual funfair carnival, the Fête à Neu Neu, opens on August 30th in the Bois de Boulogne (Porte de la Muette, 16th, M° Rue de la Pompe). Open 4pm-midnight Mon, Tues, & Thurs; 2pm-midnight Wed & Fri; and noon to midnight Sat-Sun. Free entry, ATM, Vélib station, food tents and rides (tickets purchased onsite).
October 17 - November 1
Used as a military hospital during WWI, the Château Vaux-le-Vicomte (1 hour from Paris) celebrates the centenary of the Great War with a military camp, strategy games, educational demonstrations, talks and a historic exhibition. For two weeks, the “Poilus” (nickname of WWI French infantrymen meaning "hairy") are setting up camp in the grounds designed by landscape architect Le Nôtre. Tickets (including château entry) are €16.50 for adults, €10 for kids.
Although my addiction to Ladurée macarons is thoroughly documented, when I first came to Paris well over a decade ago I was totally obsessed with the pastry known as the Religieuses (preferably chocolate). It's a bit like a round, double-decker eclair (or a Boston-cream donut with a donut hole on top). I'd eat the top part first and save the rest for as long as I could hold out (usually an hour). The taste is not really any different than the traditional French eclair (which, like all French pastries, tastes ten times better than the American knock-off), but I liked the shape and the fact that the bakery clerk would always wrap it in a little pyramid of paper tied with a ribbon. Quelle classe!
For the occaision, Fauchon is introducing 34 different flavors that they have created over the past four years, including both sweet and savory ones (salmon and peas, anyone?), for €5 each.