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

Read more about the Secrets of Paris here


 


Calendar of Paris Events

Through February 27
The 100% Packaging-Free Organic Pop-Up store by BioCoop, originally just slated to run through COP21, has been such a success that it's not extended through the end of February.  There are over 250 itiems available in bulk, including produce, fresh bread, dairy (butter, yogurt and cheese), fresh ground coffee, nut butters, and other items, 20% from local sources. If you don't bring your own reusable glass jars and other containers you can buy them at the shop. At 14 rue du Châteu d'Eau, 10th, open 10am-8pm Mon-Sat. 

December 1 - January 31
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 COP21, so expect to see an eco-friendly decor.

Through February 28
Bartabas' Zingaro shows combine equestrian theatre, dance, world music, poetry and many other disciplines. After having pounded the ground of his Théâtre Equestre Zingaro for more than a quarter of a century, Bartabas is now tackling the skies with his new show "They shoot angels, don't they? (elegies)". Get your tickets €42-50 at FNAC

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 Paris (315)

Saturday
Jan232016

Secrets of Paris Travel Writing Workshops

Ever dream of living the travel writer’s life in Paris? After over a year of plotting and planning, fellow Parisian travel journalist (and running buddy) Bryan Pirolli and I are excited to announce our newest collaboration for 2016, the Secrets of Paris Travel Writing Workshops.

Join us for five days learning the craft of travel writing through daily lessons and hands-on experiences in the field. We can’t promise it’ll all be as glamorous as everyone thinks it is, but we guarantee you’ll have fun discovering Paris in a completely new way!

Just 10 spots in each workshop, dates available in May, August and October, sign up now to save €400 off the regular price! 

Friday
Jan222016

False News Alert: The “Doggy Bag Law” That Never Was

Journalist Bryan Pirolli weighs in on the latest "news" fail and the bigger issue of why this keeps happening. 

It’s been in the headlines for the past few weeks. I didn’t really pay attention, mostly because I always finish my food at dinner. The press, however, was fascinated with a new law requiring restaurants to offer doggy bags in France.

“‘Doggy bag’ law introduced in France” hailed The Telegraph. “Mais non! The doggy bag will never catch on in Paris” cried The Irish News. “‘Le doggy bag’ comes to France” alerted The Washington Post.

The only problem was that no such new law existed and no one in France was forcing doggy bags on anyone.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan202016

Recommended Podcasts for Francophiles 

I love listening to podcasts when I'm running around Paris, making dinner, or looking for an a local alternative to NPR. I like the ones that are engaging enough to entertain, but informative enough to make me feel like I’ve learned something.


My absolute favorite local podcast of the moment is the Join Us in France Travel Podcast, a weekly podcast about France hosted by Annie, a French-born woman who lived in the US for 18 years, and Elyse, an American-born historian and tour guide living in France for over 20 years. Topics include everything from little-known towns and famous French characters to dining etiquette and truly useful travel tips. The production quality is superb, but most impressive is the wealth of knowledge these ladies share and the fascinating people they’ve interviewed in their 98 episodes.

For more specialized topics, there are three more recent podcasts on the scene:

Paris Paysanne, by the author of My Paris Market Cookbook Emily Dilling, covers French terroir and the Paris food market scene, including topics like craft brewing, seasonal recipes, how to shop the food markets, and interviews with local wine makers, restaurant owners and coffee roasters. She has just moved to the Loire Valley, so you can also read her blog articles on her new life in the French countryside, chickens and all!

 

I actually met Emily through Forest Collins of 52Martinis.com, who has just posted the second episode of her new podcast, Paris Cocktail Talk, which covers the latest Paris cocktail bar reviews and interviews with all the movers and shakers in that scene such as such as Josh Fontaine, the co-owner of Candelaria, Glass, Le Mary Celeste, and Hero. She's also the founder of the fabulous private cocktail events club, The Chamber

 

Finally, if you’re looking for a dose of literary Paris from your armchair, look no further than Spoken Word Sounds, a new podcast of recordings from the popular Spoken Word open mic nights at the Chat Noir featuring local poets, singers, storytellers, and comedians. All podcasts are free, but donations are appreciated. 

Monday
Jan182016

Végétalisons Paris! How to Green Your Neighborhood 

Have you ever thought your street in Paris could use a little more greenery? Maybe a few flower pots or a bit of ivy to cover an ugly wall? Or why not a few climbing tomato plants against a park fence? Bust out those rubber boots, urban gardening is easier than you think with the City of Paris initiative to let residents green their own neighborhood. 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec312015

Can you spot the HEROES in this image? 

Hint: none of them are wearing a cowboy hat.

Yep, they’re all heroes except that goofy one in the running outfit. That’s me at my first marathon in 2012. I'm not a hero. I'm just an average, concerned citizen who wants to help end suffering where I can. Running marathons is a silly hobby when you think about it (especially considering how slow I run). We're a bunch of health fanatics paying for the privilege of inflicting pain on ourselves, then being publicly rewarded for it. After three years of running for my own entertainment, I’ve decided to try and put all of this restless energy to good use. 

I am running the 2016 Paris Half Marathon on March 6th to raise €1000 for Médecins sans Frontères (MSF) aka Doctors without Borders.

I’m running it because the real heroes are too busy saving lives to run through the streets of Paris being cheered on by adoring crowds. I’m running it because the heroes at MSF – many who put their own lives in danger just to go to work – don’t get a triumphant photo finish and a medal at the end of their day. I’m running because I'm hoping that if I donate my time and energy (and knees) spreading the word about MSF’s important work, it will inspire enough people to help make a small difference. Please consider supporting MSF, whether by donating to my campaign (deadline February 26), directly to MSF, or simply by spreading the word and sharing this with others. Merci!

To read more about the amazing work MSF does around the world, just have a scroll through the MSF Twitter feed, or this powerful collection of MSF images from 2015: “Photographers, both staff and commissioned freelancers, accompanied our medical teams as they responded to death and destruction on an unprecedented scale in Syria, natural disasters in Nepal and Malawi, to the refugee crisis in Europe, the end of Ebola in West Africa, and to provide care for civilians caught up in Yemen’s war, amongst many other emergencies.”

 

Sunday
Dec272015

French Start-Up Growing Strawberries in the City

Running through Bercy Park one day this fall I saw the Cooltainer, a shipping container covered in wooden slats parked across from the Cinémathèque. I stopped to read the little info panels and thought Agricool was some sort of fruit food truck, but seeing no opening hours listed, I took a photo to remind me to Google it back home, and continued my run. 

“Beans from New Zealand, strawberries from Spain, Tomatoes from Morocco. Fruits and vegetables travel more than you. But unlike you, they don't enjoy it.” - Agricool.co

According to the website, Agricool was created by two sons of French farmers, Guillaume and Gonzagues, to grow fresh strawberries in a recycled shipping container (aka Le Cooltainer). Not only would they be pesticide-free, grown locally and inexpensively, the intensive production methods would allow them to grow as many strawberries in just 30m² as you could produce on a farm. The idea sounded great, but to get these strawberries there was a waiting list. I sign up and get an email saying I'm #148. 

By chance, I got to see Guillaume speak at Végétalisons Paris, a conference sponsored by the Mairie de Paris. I learn a bit more but still had questions, and being the nosey journalist I am, I want to see these strawberries. I ask him for an interview and a peek at his Cooltainer. I may have been hoping for some fresh December strawberries, too.

Click to read more ...