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

June 4
The 16th annual Carnaval Tropical parade with 4000 dancers celebrating French West Indies cultures as well as other dancers from Brazil, China, Colombia and other nations around the world. They start at Hôtel de Ville at 2pm, up to Place de la République until 6pm. Come see the dancers and try out the exotic foods on sale! 

June 19
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 from previous years here. 

June 24-26
Solidays is one of the best summer music festivals in France. This event unites more than 150 musicians (including Cypress Hill and Keziah Jones) and 160,000 attendees every year in the fight against AIDS, and this summer is expected to be bigger and better than ever. Day passes starting at €39.  

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 (341)

Friday
Feb262016

Our Widespread Lack of Trust in Travel Writing 

By Secrets of Paris contributing editor Bryan Pirolli

Trust is a tricky thing when traveling. Between the stories from your cousin Kathy, your new Lonely Planet, and those endless lists printed from the web, it’s hard to know which sources get it right when it comes to a destination. It’s especially difficult for a place like Paris and its endless amount of blogs, books, and websites.

How can you actually trust anything you read? This was a central question in my PhD thesis at the Sorbonne (don’t worry, I’m not about to get all academic on you here). The answer, however, was relatively clear after an online questionnaire with over 230 people and multiple interviews with writers and tourists in Paris: Travelers don’t ultimately trust any single source.

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Monday
Feb222016

A Fun Fashion Week Event for Normal People

In case you missed all of the hype, Paris Fashion Week is March 1-9. Most of the city’s trendy bars, stylish hotels, and designer concept stores will be overrun by fashion bloggers, models and editors dressed in outrageous outfits that only the fashion world understands. Enjoy the street scene, because regular plebes can’t actually get into the catwalk shows. 

But if you want to check out a fun alternative, head over to L’Archipel a charitable association housed in an amazing 19th-century convent near Gare St-Lazare. Although dedicated to assisting single mothers, they also host many events for the general public to raise funds and awareness in the spirit of solidarity, including yoga classes, knitting workshops, concerts, Sunday brunch in the former nave, and a Saturday "troc" to swap clothing (men’s, women’s or kids), accessories, books, CDs, DVDs, etc. (you get a credit for the Troc Shop for every item you bring). 

On Saturday March 5th Singa will be hosting an inclusive Fashion Show at l'Archipel from 2-6pm, where anyone can participate as a stylist, model, DJ or photographer, with hair and make-up by beauty school students and a photo booth to immortalize your look (sign up if you want to participate). If you just want to watch, the actual show is from 3-4pm, and while waiting you can check out the Troc Shop (bring your used items if you want to trade) or enjoy an organic smoothie from the bar; open noon-7pm. 

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.

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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. 

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