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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

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).  

September 11-13
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). 

Click here to see the full calendar of events...

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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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