About Secrets of Paris

Created in 1999, the Secrets of Paris is the oldest independent and locally-owned website about Paris in English, for both visitors and residents. Discover what you've been missing:

* Free Resource Guide
* 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

Through February 19
Skate on the Eiffel Tower! This year the ice skating rink on the first level of the Eiffel Tower is back, free for those who already have a ticket for the Tower, open daily 10:30am-10:30pm. Skip the line by taking the stairs, it will help you warm up, too! Skates size 25-47 (EU), sleds and scooters for kids, gloves are required. This year's theme is Ice Hockey, though it will be less brutal than the NHL!

January 11 - February 21
The annual winter sales, aka Les Soldes. Honestly, the rules about when and how sales can take place in France since the economic crise have essentially made the sales irrelevant. There are sales all of the time now (often called "promotion" or "7 Jours BHV" or something like that). 

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

Two-Hour Private Orientation Tours

First time in Paris? Let us give you a crash course orientation to the city. In just two hours you’ll learn how to use the metro, understand the general layout of the city in relation to its most famous monuments, get a brief refresher course on Parisian history from the oldest point in the city, and pick up tips and tricks to getting the best service in Parisian cafés and avoid the worst faux pas. And of course you’ll also have the chance to ask all the questions you want, especially the stupid ones you’re too polite to ask your hotel concierge. The two hours will fly by!

Living Like a Local? If you're staying in Paris for an extended visit of several weeks to several months we can give you an extended introduction to your neighborhood so you feel like a local from the start, including the best food markets, bakeries, closest post office, laundromats, convenience stores, banks, pharmacies, newsstands, and the most convenient public transportation links and anything you need to feel “at home in Paris”. For this orientation we meet you at your rental apartment before taking a stroll around your neighborhood, with information tailored to your specific needs and prior knowledge of Paris. 

How the Orientation Works

1. Contact us with your preferred dates and times and we’ll reply with a confirmation and payment link to book the tour. Want to book an orientation the day you arrive? Read this first: Zombie Tours!

Note: the best time to book an orientation is 1-2 months before your trip; we require at least two weeks minimum to book any tours. 

2. Once the payment is received (you’ll get an immediate confirmation), we will send you a short questionnaire that we ask you to fill out and return to us at least one week before your orientation.

3. Your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby at the agreed time and date for a two-hour orientation that includes:

  • Information about your hotel’s neighborhood
  • Introduction to the metro (how to get tickets, read the map, and get around)
  • A short stroll around the oldest historical center of Paris, the Ile de la Cité
  • Views of major landmarks such as the Louvre, Notre Dame, Musée d’Orsay, Eiffel Tower and Hôtel de Ville (City Hall).
  • A coffee stop in a Latin Quarter café to go over the city map, highlighting different neighborhoods and monuments worth visiting and going over tips on dining etiquette, avoiding lines, survival French and answers to any other questions or concerns you might have.

4. At the end of your orientation your guide can return you to your hotel, or give you directions on how to get back on your own from the center of Paris (Latin Quarter).

5. Enjoy the rest of your Paris trip sans stress, armed with the essentials needed to navigate the city with ease and savoir-faire!

 

Orientation Prices

- €150 (1 adult)

- €250 (2 adults)

- €350 (3-4 adults)

- €450 (5-6 adults)

Payments are accepted by credit card or PayPal. Kids under 18 are included for free with a parent, but the maximum group size for all ages cannot exceed six, or you’ll need to split into two groups with two guides. 

Refund policy: Tours cancelled by email (with confirmation) at least two weeks in advance can be fully refunded minus a €50 handling fee.

Included in your Orientation Fee

  • Metro tickets for the day of the orientation
  • Maps (city and metro)
  • Coffee break (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks)
  • A €50 discount when combining an Orientation Tour with any Secrets of Paris Private Tour, just ask when booking.
  •  The 20% Value-Added-Tax (VAT) required for all French service companies

 

Ready to Schedule Your Orientation?

 

Arrival Day Orientations – aka Zombie Tours!

Many visitors like to schedule tours the same day they arrive in Paris to “maximize time”. But please do keep in mind that trying to absorb and comprehend this bustling city after a long red-eye flight from North America might feel more like a forced march than a guided tour. You might be hoping your tour guide can keep you awake until your hotel lets you check into your room, but we tend to feel like we’re being followed by zombies when leading groups of glassy-eyed, jetlagged tourists in rumpled clothing and uncombed hair around Paris. If you’re not used to trans-Atlantic travel, it might be best to spend your first day just enjoying a leisurely Seine river cruise, and then hang out at a café terrace with the locals, people-watching for the rest of the afternoon. 

If you’re convinced you’ll be able to stay awake for a tour, we are happy to schedule a two-hour orientation tour no earlier than four hours after your flight arrives (ie if you land at 7am the tour can be scheduled anytime starting from 11am). We have this policy because delays are almost always a problem: delayed flights, lost bags, missed shuttles, taxis stuck in traffic jams, stomach sickness from the flight, etc. We have spent many long hours waiting in hotel lobbies for delayed clients, and unfortunately we cannot always accommodate last-minute changes in the time or date of your tour.

Feeling lucky? Let’s do it!