About Secrets of Paris

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:

* Free Resource Guide
* Calendar of interesting Paris events 
* Monthly Secrets of Paris newsletter
* Secrets of Paris Tours & Travel Planning

Read more about the Secrets of Paris here

 

 

 

Calendar of Paris Events

Through February 19
Skate on the Eiffel Tower! This year the ice skating rink on the first level of the Eiffel Tower is back, free for those who already have a ticket for the Tower, open daily 10:30am-10:30pm. Skip the line by taking the stairs, it will help you warm up, too! Skates size 25-47 (EU), sleds and scooters for kids, gloves are required. This year's theme is Ice Hockey, though it will be less brutal than the NHL!

January 11 - February 21
The annual winter sales, aka Les Soldes. Honestly, the rules about when and how sales can take place in France since the economic crise have essentially made the sales irrelevant. There are sales all of the time now (often called "promotion" or "7 Jours BHV" or something like that). 

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 Notre Dame (5)

Friday
May292015

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. 

Tuesday
Dec252012

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.

Monday
Jan302012

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 ...

Monday
Oct242011

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.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May232010

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: