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

June 12-14
The Salon du Vinatge is always a fun event in Paris, whether you're shopping for clothing, accessories, vinyls, and home decor, or just to hear the retro DJ tunes and the festive atmosphere. Free entry, at the Halle des Blancs Manteaux (48 rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd). 

June 12-14
The Portes d'Or is a chance for all the artistic workshops in the Goutte d'Or (18th arrondissement) to open their doors to the public. Over 80 painters, sculptors, jewelery-makers and many others who live and work in the Goutte d'Or wish to share their creativity. Please come support the community and experience these unique productions. 

June 13-14
The artists of the 5th (Mouffetard) and 13th (Butte aux Cailles/Gobelins) districts knows as Lézarts du Bièvre open their studios to the public for two days, 2-8pm. Free entry. Info points and maps here.

June 14
Get out your fancy hats and picnic baskets for the annual Prix de Diane races at Chantilly Hippodrome (just 45 minutes north of Paris from Gare du Nord). Read more about the event here. 

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 (266)

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. 

Wednesday
May272015

Paris on Periscope

This is a short video of my friend Claire about her experience as an early adopter (and #superuser) of the cool new livestreaming app Periscope. The sound isn't great, but you can hear her better than the interviewer.

If you're on Periscope you can see Paris in all its glory on Claire's feed, @clairewad (she's a #superuser with over 3000 followers). She streams sunsets, walks along the Seine, and visits of Paris monuments and museums. You can see Paris through her eyes, ask her questions, and make comments (the screenshot here is from my inaugural peek on the Periscope). Unlike many "Scopers" who just broadcast without interaction, Claire is constantly chatting with her followers, answering questions and saying hello to each new person who logs on as she strolls along.

Claire is originally from New Zealand with a French mother, and has been living in Paris for 20 years (we've known each other for almost 19 of them!), so she really knows the city like a local. You can learn more about Claire and her Periscope tours on her website Paris with Claire.  

FOR PERISCOPE NEWBIES

Even though my dad sent me to computer camp when I was just 9 years old,  I'm always the last one to know about any cool new technology (still bitter Texas Instruments stopped making computers right after I learned to code my TI99/4a). If, like me, you don't know anything about Periscope, you can read What is Periscope? and Periscope: Four Ways It's Shaking Up Media. The free Periscope iPhone app launched a few months ago, and the Android version came out a few days ago. You log in using your Twitter account (they created the app). After that, it's a bit crazy surfing around and watching videos. I recommend figuring out how it works before accidentally turning your own camera on and broadcasting your morning face to the world. 

Tuesday
May262015

Where to Watch the Cannes Film Festival in Paris

You may not be able to walk the red carpet on the famous Croisette to watch the films in the 68th Cannes Film Festival, but you can see many of the films in Parisian theatres this week (May 27-June 7).

The films of the Director's Fortnight (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs) at the Forum des Images in Les Halles (1st) (program here) through June 2.

The films from Un Certain Regard are showing at the Reflet Medicis (5th) through June 7.

All films are in their original languange with French subtitles. 

Sunday
May242015

A Day at a Parisian Palace Pool

Photo courtesy Molitor

Sometimes it’s nice to escape the city for a day of relaxation, but the weather isn’t cooperative or you simply can’t get yourself organized enough to traverse the Paris périphérique. So what can you do right here in the city to feel like you’ve escaped the noise and crowds? Try a day poolside in one of the Parisian palace hotels.

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Saturday
May232015

Daytripping to Country Chateaux and Hiking Trails

If you’re in the mood for bucolic country hikes, medieval fortress ruins, and secluded château visits less than an hour from Paris, head to the Natural Regional Park de la Haute Vallée de Chevreuse.

Vallée de la Chevreuse, Château Breteuil, Château de la Madeleine

Just under an hour southwest of Paris by train, this protected regional park is rarely visited by foreign tourists (which is probably how the French like it), but has many excellent sites easily accessible by RER and the seasonal Baladobus, a shuttle that circulates every Sunday in April through October. Starting from the RER B station Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse, the Baladobus (€4 for a daypass) stops at several historic hiking trails leading to many unforgettable sites such as the 11th-century ruins of the Château de la Madeleine (with panoramic views over the valley and a visitors’ center), France’s oldest riverside mills, a house made of iron, charming villages hidden in wooded valleys, vestiges of the 13th-century Port Royal Abbey (now a museum), and the magnificent Château de Breteuil with its formal French gardens.

Note that you can also bring your bike and cycle many of these trails. Pack water and snacks (not much is open in the smaller villages on Sunday), and have an actual map in case your GPS reception disappears in the forest. All of the information is online in English with full descriptions of each trail, hours and prices for each site (you can also download the PDF leaflet).

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.  

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