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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

December 6-14
The annual Féeries d’Auteuil takes place at the non-profit children's organization Apprentis d'Auteuil (40 rue Jean de la Fontaine, 16th, M° Jasmin or Eglise d'Auteuil) with a Christmas market, food stands, flea market, concerts, vintage carrousel and nativity scenes, from 11am-7pm. Live singing performances on St-Sun at 5:30pm. 

December 10-14
"Le Noël des Créateurs", highlights up-and-coming designers and artisans selling ther crafts "Made in France". Come for original and unique holiday gifts! You'll find 15 chalets along the Petit Ceinture (former railway) at Located at 83 boulevard Ornano, 18th (direct access to the Petite Ceinture through la Recyclerie, right outside metro Porte de Clignancourt).

December 20-21
The Village St-Paul (entrances along Rue St Paul, 4th) is having its winter brocante (flea market) this weekend, with outdoor stands in addition to the antique and vintage shops and other fun shops in the cobblestone courtyards. 

Through December 21
The newest musical comedy at the historic Folies Bergère is a high-energy burlesque show around the theme of love with dancers, acrobats, and singers performing French, American and British songs (many which you'll recognize in the preview below). Love Circus is the perfect alternative to the Moulin Rouge (including its busloads of tourists and high prices). Tickets €29-€84 (by seating area), no dinner included, discounts for booking online. 

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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