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:
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Through October 3
Don't miss one of the most magical events of the summer, the Candlelit Evenings at the Château Vaux-le-Vicomte, just an hour south of Paris by RER and shuttle. Visit the family-owned palace and gardens that inspired Versailles by candlelight, including dinner in the gardens (or bring your own picnic or book a table for a gourmet meal starting at €59) and a fireworks finale. Every Saturday evening, entry €19.50.
Through October 18
The 32nd annual funfair carnival, the Fête à Neu Neu, opens on August 30th in the Bois de Boulogne (Porte de la Muette, 16th, M° Rue de la Pompe). Open 4pm-midnight Mon, Tues, & Thurs; 2pm-midnight Wed & Fri; and noon to midnight Sat-Sun. Free entry, ATM, Vélib station, food tents and rides (tickets purchased onsite).
The annual Fête de l'Humanité is three days of live music (65 acts including headliners Manu Chao, Texas, and Juliette Gréco), debates (because the French love a good debate), arts and cinema expositions, a bal populaire, a book fair, and activities for kids. The main sponsor/organizer is the daily newspaper L'Humanité, whose motto is "Envie de Changer Le Monde" (The desire to change the world), so you can imagine it's quite a leftie leaning festival where politics, social justice and liberty are the main stars. This year it takes place in La Corneuve (northeast suburbs), and three-day passes are just €32 (€35 at the door; camping and parking also possible).
Paris is the perfect city for celebrating la vie en deux, with all of the requisite clichés covered:
La Vie Parisienne for a fun and sexy alternative show to the Moulin Rouge (en français).
Pinup Attitude for burlesque strip-tease classes with Sugar DaMoore.
Valentine's Bellies on Foot themed food tour with La Cuisine.
Valentine's Day on the Eiffel Tower with dinner, wine & cheese, or chocolate & Champagne.
And if you're already sick of red hearts and chocolates, get your tickets for the Paris Rollergirls vs Royal Windsor Rollergirls on February 16th. Because what's more Anti-Valentine's Day than a women's rollerderby match?
Ever been to a hair show? No? You’re not alone. You might not even know what one is. Enlighten yourselves this Saturday with “illuminata”, the first hair show organised by stylepixie English hairdressers right here in Paris.
The brilliantly hilarious British comedian Eddie Izzard sells out shows in Madison Square Garden and Wembly Stadium. But lucky for us, he's now performing his show en français in a tiny theatre in Pigalle through June 11. Don't miss the chance to see one of the greatest stand-up comedians of our time, up close and personal.
Secrets of Paris contributor Tracey Ellis reviews this one-woman bilingual show on the trials and tribulations of a young American woman in Paris...