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
* Travel Writing Workshops
* 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 July 31
The 22nd annual Paris Jazz Festival: come enjoy traditional Parisian and international jazz music in the Bois de Vincennes's Parc Floral. Entrance to the park is 6 €.

Through August 21
The 30th annual Fête des Tuileries funfair with carnival rides at Tuileries Gardens starts today, free entry, rides with individual tickets. Plenty of food stands, too!

Through August 27
La Nuit aux Invalides is an impressive sound and light show in the courtyard of Invalides highlighting the monument's history (Louis XIV, Napoléon, Charles De Gaulle), in English on Monday and Thursday nights. Tickets €18 (adult price). See the teaser video.

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 (342)

Tuesday
Apr052016

Another Parisian Bridge Liberated from Destructive Padlocks

This morning on my run I was thrilled to see a dozen municipal workers removing padlocks one by one from the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, formerly known as Passerelle Solférino (the pedestrian bridge connecting the Tuileries Gardens to the Musée d'Orsay).

You can see sky through the finished section on the left. They still had the other side of the bridge to liberate...but how to keep idiot vandals from adding more locks all over again? Unlike the Pont des Arts, the architecture of thin metal wires on the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor doesn't allow for the Plexiglas panels that prevent padlocks from being attached. 

If you're interested in more news about the destructive "Love Locks" that are ruining the beautiful historical bridges of Paris, check out the No Love Locks website. 

Saturday
Apr022016

The Golden Hershey Kiss at Pont de l'Alma

I was with some tour clients last week, and as we crossed from the Avenue George V and across the Place de l'Alma to drive along the Right Bank, one of the kids asks, "What's that golden Hershey Kiss?" "Oh, that's a replica of the Statue of Liberty Flame," I reply, explaining how it was a gift from the International Herald Tribune to Paris for its 150th anniversary back in the 1980s. "It's become a sort of memorial spot because Princess Diana's car crashed in the tunnel beneath it." 

Not this one, a replica of the Statue of Liberty flame seen peeking out over the Pont de l'Alma on the Right Bank.

The girl's grandfather then says, "Not that one, the big thing that looks like a gold dome across the other side of the bridge?" I turn around to see what they're talking about, and suddenly remember talk of the new Russian Orthodox Cathedral being built there. It has been an enormous construction site for the past few years, but last month they placed the first of five golden onion-style domes -- typical of Russian Orthodox churches -- that will grace the final monument housing a bilingual school, church and cultural center. As it's just a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower, it will be hard to miss this gilded addition to the Parisian skyline. And yes, before they added the cross it did indeed look like a giant golden Hershey Kiss. 

From the architect's website Wilmotte & Associés; the Russian Orthodox cathedral being built on the Left Bank. Only the largest dome is currently in place. 

You can see more images here on the architect's website. 

Tuesday
Mar292016

Visit a Historic Schooner on the Seine

Back in the fall Parisians welcomed a rather unique vessel on the Seine, the three-masted schooner La Boudeuse, constructed in Holland in 1916. The 46-meter ship with 13 sails has explored all seven of the world's seas and has a fascinating history:

"La Boudeuse » is one of the rare French three-masted schooners still in use and the only one to sail on long journeys on all the seas around the world. It is dedicated to the pursuit of discovery, adventure and science, in the spirit of the great maritime and land expeditions of the Enlightenment. For this reason, a certain number of writers, philosophers, painters, scientists and photographers are part of the crew.

The captain of « La Boudeuse » and the project initiator is Patrice Franceschi, sailor, writer, explorer, member of the French Society of the Philosophy of Science and Honorary President of the Society of French Explorers…"

Read more about the schooner and its world mission here

La Boudeuse was in Paris for the COP21 Climate Change conference, meant to leave in January for a new adventure. But for the moment it's still moored along Les Berges of the Rive Gauche in the Port du Gros Caillou (aka Quai d'Orsay, 7th), and the general public is welcome to visit for free every Saturday (unless noted on their website), hourly tours are conducted from 10am through 4pm. 

Monday
Mar282016

Time Machine Gimmick at Place de la Bastille

There's a new machine at the Place de la Bastille that promises to take you on an immersive virtual reality trip into the past to see the square as it looked in the 15th and 18th centuries when it was still dominated by the Bastille fortress. If you've got a working internet connection to pay the €2...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Mar192016

Technology and Expat Life in France: We've Come a Long Way

It’s hard for today’s American expatriates to fathom the lives of our forbearers who lived in France before the internet, commercial airlines, the telephone, or even the telegraph, completely cut off from their homeland for months at a time. When I first arrived in Paris as a student in 1995, France’s communications industry was suffering from a full blown identity crisis. They seemed both behind and ahead of the US, determined to modernize but only on their own Gallic terms.

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Tuesday
Mar152016

Dining in Paris: Yard, Freddy’s and Krügen 

I was invited to a dinner in Paris earlier this year by a travel writer friend of mine, Marcia DeSanctis, who lived in the Menilmontant district with her husband and daughter for many years before returning to the US. We ate at their former neighbor’s house, an amazing architectural space built entirely with recuperated and reclaimed building materials. What was once a parking garage was now a warm and inviting space of age-worn wood, marble, slate, and glass. I envied the working fireplace in the open kitchen. “You have to go to their daughter’s restaurant near here, it’s called Yard.”

Click to read more ...