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

May 15-17
One of the biggest flower shows in France, Journées des Plantes de Courson, takes place this weekend at the Chateau de Chantilly, just 45 minutes north of Paris from the Gare du Nord. Entry €20 (or €17 if you get your tickets online before May 14).

May 16
Check out your favorite Paris museum at night during the 11th annual Nuit Européenne des Musées, when all over Europe museums stay open all night...for free! 

June 21
Celebrate Fête de la Musique in 17th-century aristocratic style at Château Vaux-le-Vicomte for their annual costumes dance event, La Journée Grand Siècle, in honor of the 400th anniversary of the original owner, Nicolas Fouquet. There will be an elegant picnic in the chateau gardens, live music and dancing, as well as carriage rides and sword-fighting shows. If you don't have a costume gown you can rent one on-site from €17. 

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 (249)

Tuesday
May192015

Does anyone still read the Pariscope?

I was going through some old files this weekend and found a Pariscope I had saved from May 1996 (above left) with a page on classic films dog-eared (I like to think I was going to watch The Bicycle Thief since I was obsessed with Italian neo-realism in college, but it's more likely I was planning to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show). For some reason I imagined the Pariscope was no more, like the Minitel or the Bi-Bop mobile phone. But passing by the newsstand on the way to the market, there it was (above right), neatly stacked, and still a steal at just €0.70. So I bought one, and it was like traveling back in time.  

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, the Pariscope is a weekly print magazine, about half the size of a regular magazine, which has come out every Wednesday since 1965 to coincide with the film schedule (cinemas change the films every Wednesday, when premiers are shown; that's why sometimes you get big American blockbusters showing in France two days before the more typical Friday premiers in America).

Aside from a detailed schedule of every single movie showing in every single cinema in Paris (and until you see them all in one spot like this, it's hard to appreciate the variety, depth and diversity of the film offerings in Paris), it also has restaurant reviews, the latest festivals, theatre, conferences and trade shows, museum and gallery shows, children's activities, and music concerts and festivals of all genres. It's thorough yet succinct. Read through the black-and-white newsprint pages and you feel like you know exactly what's going on and where.

Unlike the internet, you don't have endless clicking through mazes of information, some out of date, cluttered with ads, blinking images and videos, and only partial listings. There is even, quaintly, a page of "Numéros Utiles" with emergency services, weather, traffic, airports, taxis, and pharmacies open 24/7. 

For some reason, it just seems more simple than Googling for this info and getting 7 billion results to sift through. In 1996 it was just 3 francs (about €0.45), and although the price has gone up and the little English section written by the TimeOut staff  is gone, it hasn't visibly changed at all since 1996. There is no website, but in one nod to modernity there is a free smartphone application if you're averse to shelling out €0.70 for the print version. 

To preserve some semblance of journalistic integrity I should probably mention the Pariscope's competitor, l'Officiel des Spectacles, is also still going strong (and has a website). But much like Coke vs Pepsi or Burger King vs McDonald's, once you pick the one you like, you never cross over to the other camp. 

Sunday
May172015

Secrets of Paris Photos of the Week

These photos were originally posted this week on my Instagram and Twitter accounts. Come follow me! 

On Wednesday I gave a tour of Paris to Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund. Adorable!

La Défenseur du Temps, in the Quartier de l'Horloge (north of the Centre Pompidou). It used to move every hour, but has been awaiting restoration for almost a decade now. See it working here including the actual sound effects.  

At the end of Crusoe's tour we stopped at a café with the best view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris!

I love foxglove! See here in full bloom at the Jardin de l'Hôtel de Ville

The artists of Lézarts de la Bièvre decorate the neighborhood with street art to celebrate the annual artist atelier open doors the second week of June (this year coming June 13-14).

Pain du Tigre, or "tiger bread" at the Huré Boulangerie, Rue Rambuteau.

The first wild asparagus spotted at the Marché Aguste Blanqui (13th) on Tuesday.

Potatoes from La Noirmoutier at the Marché Auguste Blanqui (13th).

Saturday
May162015

Hand-crafted Artist Pastels in a Hidden Boutique 

Despite being the oldest manufacturer of artist pastels in the world, there are many reasons why you've probably never heard of La Maison du Pastel. Like any true luxury item, these pastels are expensive and rare. And not because of marketing. These pastels are crafted with the highest quality ingredients, each one hand-rolled using the same technique the Roché family has been using since they started the company 1720.

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Friday
May152015

Travel with a New Kind of Companion

There’s so much to see and do in Paris that many people feel overwhelmed trying to experience it all. But my friend Cynthia Morris, an artist, author and creativity coach, has found the perfect way to capture and savor everything she loves about the city without feeling like she’s on a touristic marathon.

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Thursday
May142015

Self-Guided Tour of Edith Piaf's Paris

The singer Edith Piaf (1915-1963) is a legend in France, usually known by Americans for her 1947 hit La Vie en Rose and her defiant classic, Non, Je ne Regrette Rien. For the centennial of her birth the French National Library (BnF) has a major exhibition, PIAF, about her life, her music, and her loves. "An entire room just about her lovers?!" said my friend in disbelief as we walked through the exhibit. "Bien sûr!" You can even see the dress worn and the Oscar won by actress Marion Cotillard, who portrayed Piaf in the film La Môme (aka La Vie en Rose in the US). If you visit the exhibit, there is a neat little takeaway bonus: a free 10-page guide in English titled "In the Footsteps of Edith Piaf" which is a 4-hour, self-guided tour through Paris.

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Tuesday
May122015

Where to Donate Used Books in Paris


Whether you're moving overseas, into a smaller space, or simply in the mood for a bit of spring cleaning, Parisian bookworms looking to quickly unload boxes of books have several options in Paris where they can be donated to a good cause. In any case, don't just throw them out! 

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