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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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Calendar of Paris Events

October 8-12
The theme for the 81st annual Fête des Vendanges, the grape harvest festival, is Montmartre Fête les Poètes. Events include a parade, grape stomping, the food & wine tasting village, cooking demos, live music, and tons of other fun stuff. Check out the entire program, the online boutique (get your commemorative bottles of wine!) and other info about the festival here.

October 12 
Stock up on fall reading material for a handful of euros and support the English-language SOS Helpline at their Autumn Book Sale today from noon-4pm at Orrick Law Offices (31 ave Pierre Ière de Serbie, 16th, M° Alma-Marceau). Paperbacks €1, hardcovers €2, all categories for adults and kids, as well as bake sale items. Those who want to donate books can drop them off during the sale.

October 16-17
Blending culture with social, Sinfonietta Paris brings you an evening of Mendelssohn and Brahms exquisitely performed by a brilliant ensemble of young professional musicians. At the Institut FInlandais (Latin Quarter, 60 rue des Ecoles, 5th) from 8-11pm. Tickets €25 (wine and hors d'oeuvres included). The address will be mailed once confirmed; the performance on the 4th December is in the 17th; on the 5th December it's in the 1st. Register on the website; places limited. 

Secrets of Paris gives 10% of all tour fees
to the French food bank, Les Restos du Coeur

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Sunday
Jul092006

Wepler Brasserie

Brasserie Wepler
14 Place de Clichy, 18th
Tel 01 45 22 53 24
M° Place de Clichy

www.wepler.com

The Place de Clichy, a busy crossroads between the 9th, 17th and 18th arrondissements, is dominated by this historic brasserie which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1992. I just like going there because it's one of the few remaining non-chain places to eat in the big intersection (there are McD's, Quick, Léon de Bruxelles, etc.).

It has a small terrace (you'll be sucking car exhaust fumes if you sit out there), but I prefer the retro decor inside. There are huge murals on the walls, big booths and funky chandeliers...the whole atmosphere reminds me of the old Woolworths cafés (although this is much nicer).

The Wepler is air-conditioned, and once inside you can barely hear a peep of the traffic outside. I ordered a Croque Madame (open faced ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top). It's served on Poilaine bread with a roasted tomato, a bit of salad, basket of bread and all of the necessary condiments (mustard, S&P, olive oil). Everything is so well-presented I wished I'd had my camera. I even got a little carafe of water without asking.

The snack-type food (sandwiches, salads, soup, fries, etc.) is served 8am-1am. They also have a full Brasserie menu of seafood and traditional dishes like foie gras, oinion soup, Sole Meuniere, steak tartare, etc. Menus are €25, à la carte is about €40. My croque and a café crème cost me €11.20.

The bathrooms are more than adequate (particularly for a historic place). The service is polite, but as my friend who lives around the corner correctly pointed out, "a bit quirky". I think they're just good at amusing themselves, despite the clientele, LOL! Or maybe they're inspired by the winners of the annual "Prix Wepler" litterary prize for books that celebrate "audacity, excess, and a singularity resolutely apart from commercial literature". Read the list of past winners on the website.

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