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

October 4
One of the greatest contemporary British comedians, Eddie Izzard, is bringing his show Force Majeure back to Paris, this time....en français! Mais oui! He'll be performing at the Casino de Paris one night before moving onto a week-long tour in other French cities. Even if your French sucks, you'll likely be able to follow along Eddie's own version of Franglais as he explains World History, God, Hitler, and other light topics. Tickets from FNAC starting at €25.

October 8-11
The annual Puces du Design is a free market of vintage furniture and home decor from the 1950s to today, at the Place des Vins behind Bercy Village, 12th. Over 100 stands, free entry. 

October 8-18
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).  

Click here to see the full calendar of events...

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to the French food bank, Les Restos du Coeur

Entries in Notre Dame (5)


Difinitive Removal of Locks from Parisian Bridges

Because of the considerable damage and deterioration of the Pont des Arts and the Pont de l’Archevêché due to the thousands and thousands of rusting metal padlocks (aka "Love Locks"), Paris authorities have finally decided to remove them for good.

The Pont des Arts will be closed to the public June 1-7 while the locks are removed, and the bridge's panels will be temporarily replaced with an art installation of works from international artists. Plexiglas panels will be permanently installed in the fall to prevent tourists from attaching their padlocks (some test panels were already installed in 2014, photo below).

Photo courtesy Mairie de Paris/Henri Garat

No word on what will be done for the other bridges that are suffering the same fate (such as the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, aka Pont de Solférino, and the bridges of the Canal St-Martin), but it's a great start in putting a halt to the rampant vandalism that has turned the bridges of Paris into dangerous eyesores.

While some tourists think the "Love Locks" are a Parisian tradition, it's actually a fad started in 2006 after the teenage lovers in the book I Want You by Italian author Federico Moccia attached their padlock to the Ponte Milvio in Rome. The book was made into a film in 2007, and by 2010 the practice spread to Paris. In 2014 the first panel collapsed under the weight on the Pont des Arts, but it didn't dissuade tourists from continuing to attach their padlocks to any surface they could find. 


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.


Newsletter #114: January 30, 2012

In this issue:

Hot Chocolate Menu at the Lancaster
Hidden Gardens in the Marais
Free-Range Eggs for Crêpe Day!
The Value-Added-Tax Going Up…and Up
French Calendars for 2012
Like Blue Man Group… without the Paint
Two-for-One Versailles Tickets
Aligre Flea Market
Hotels for Valentines
Paris Pastry Shops eBook and Party
Strike Warning in French Airports
Etiquette for Attending Mass at Notre Dame

Click to read more ...


Beneath Your Feet at Notre Dame Cathedral

Ever visit the Crypte Archéologique? Almost every visitor to Paris eventually comes to Notre Dame Cathedral, but few venture below the Parvis to see what lies below.

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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: