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

Read more about the Secrets of Paris here


Calendar of Paris Events

July 13-14 Bastille Day
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!" Click here to read the defintitive guide to what to see and do in Paris on July 13th and 14th, what's open, what's not, how to get around, where the parties will be, and insider tips on being prepared: http://bit.ly/BastilleDayPAris

July 20 - August 16/23
Paris Plages: sand, beach trees, volley balls and bikinis -- on the Seine! Along the Right Bank quays and Hôtel de Ville until August 16th, at the Bassin de la Villette until August 23rd. This year's edition of the Paris Plages will feature many fun activities. Free entry, 9am-midnight. The 2015 schedule will be up here on opening day.

July 22-August 23
The annual Open-Air Cinema Festival takes place Wed-Sun nights at the Parc de la Villette's Triangle Prairie (M° Porte de Pantin), starting at sunset (around 10pm), free entry (deck chair rentals from 7:30pm). This year's haunting and spooky and horrific theme is "Home Cinema" (all films can be downloaded to watch at home from the website), including: Last Days, Beetlejuice, shutter Island, The Shining, Moulin Rouge, the Ghost Writer, and many French and international films (all in VO with French subtitles). 

July 26
Since 1975, the finish line for the Tour de France has been at the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysées. Join the crowd of Parisians and tourists alike to see the winner of the race. Expected arrival time: 5:30pm.

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 France (33)

Monday
Jun152015

How to Get Real Iced Tea in France

There's nothing like a refreshing glass of iced tea when the temperatures start rising. But if it's your first time in France, beware that the "iced tea" on the menu probably isn't what you think it is.

First, if it's a French menu and the beverage is listed as Ice Tea, it's probably Lipton or Nestea brand "Ice Tea" in a can or bottle. Industrial iced tea might not bother you (it can't be worse than carbonated soft drinks, right?)

But if you don't look closely at the label before taking a swig, you may be unpleasantly surprised to find that its peach flavored. No, you didn't ask for peach, and the menu didn't say peach. But in France pêche is the default flavor of iced tea. In the US -- unless maybe you're from the South -- it's usually lemon. And they have lemon (and raspberry and mango) flaor in France, but that's not necessarily what you'll get in a café. 

So how do you get actual iced tea? Look for "Thé glacé maison" and ask the server if it's from a bottle or made fresh. Then ask if it's nature (unflavored), citron (lemon) or pêche (peach), if you have a preference.

I've had real iced tea at Ladurée and Carette (pictured on the left), both which are tearooms, and both times they were unflavored and unsweetened. In this case they bring the sugar for you to sweeten it yourself. If you've never made your own iced tea, you might be a bit humbled to discover just how much sugar you have to put in there to get it to taste "normal". I just drink it without sugar, a perfect accompaniment to the rich chocolate pastries I can't resist!

Wednesday
Jun032015

Paris Street Art of the Week

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you'll notice I take a lot of photos of the Parisian street art (and yes, I'm a bit obessesed with the Lo-Fi filter). I live in the 13th, where many internationally renowned street artists have decorated buildings, usually at the invitation of the local Mairie (town hall) or art galleries in the district.

The brown electric boxes which normally go unnoticed (which I assume are for street lights, traffic lights, etc.) make great canvases. So far I've only seen them decorated in the 13th. 

The first four below are by Pimax, who usually does the Marilyn Monroe graffitti around town.

The street artist Moyoshi has a very distinct style, seen in the two boxes below. This series is numbered (here #05 and #07 of 13 total). His work is often in street art galleries, such as Le Lavo//Matic.

This artwork below is part of my neighborhood's artists' network Lézarts de la Bièvre, which is having their Portes Ouvertes June 13-14. Sorry, I'm not sure who the artist is! 

And here are some other interesting street art works I've seen around Paris this week, the first two from a large street mural in the 13th, Rue Boussingault in the 13th.

This one is from the Rue des Recollets in the 10th.

And this below was seen on a funky 1950s (?) building along the Petite Ceinture rail-to-trail path in the 15th.

These painting below of Dali and Serge Gainesbourg are on the facade of a tattoo shop next to the Jardin des Plantes (5th), so they're not technically street art, but they convey the same feel and I like them.

If you're a street art fan, there are several events coming up that you might like:

-  June 5th: wrap-party for the end of the Artiste-Ouvrier exposition at Lavo//Matik, 6-10pm

- June 7th: a street art auction of 93 lots at the Blancs-Manteaux Auction (Marais), from 3pm

- June 13th: 10th annual Murs Ouvertes opening night at at Lavo//Matik, 3-9:30pm

- June 14th: the annual Salon Emmaüs flea market for charity will have street artists on site to decorate any items of your choosing, at Porte de Versailles Expo Hall 9:30am-7pm, €3 entrance

Wednesday
May132015

Volunteering on Organic Farms in France

 

Would you like a seasonal work experience on an organic farm in France in return for food and lodging? Try WWOOFing! WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, and although it was started in 1971, some people don't realize it's still going strong. If you're not afraid of hard work, practicing your broken French, and meeting new people, then WWOOFing is an excellent way for those on a tight budget to live in France for up to three months.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb272013

We're All Guilty of Green Washing (even in France)

The French group Tryo put out this great video for their song "Green Washing". If your French is a little rusty (and you can't figure it out from the vedeo), it's basically a song about how consumers prefer "green washing" (or the practice of slapping a green label on something that really isn't that environmentally friendly) to actually changing our lifestyle and making better choices for the planet.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov282012

Stylepixie Work their Magic

Ever been to a hair show? No? You’re not alone. You might not even know what one is. Enlighten yourselves this Saturday with “illuminata”, the first hair show organised by stylepixie English hairdressers right here in Paris.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct182012

The Future of Food is in the Flavor

If you don't already know about Dan Barber's Manhattan restaurant Blue Hill, or his family's Upstate New York farm, or his TED Talks on natural foie gras (made without force feeding the geese) and how he fell in love with a fish (sustainable and tasty), or even how he was named one of Time Magazine's World's 100 Most Influencial People in 2009, know this:

Dan Barber is on a crusade to bring flavor back to the table. Not just to the tables of Michelin-starred restaurants, but to YOUR table. This month Alain Ducasse brought him to Paris to spread the word.

Click to read more ...