About Secrets of Paris

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:

* Custom Travel Content 
* Free Paris Resource Guide
* Calendar of interesting Paris events
* Private Tours
* Monthly Secrets of Paris newsletter
* Secrets of Paris Videos

Read more about the Secrets of Paris here


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

Frequently Asked Tour Questions

Q: Can you book a hotel for me?

Nope. I review hotels for a living, so to avoid any conflict of interest I avoid booking rooms for guests. Also, only registered and insured travel agents can book hotels, flights, drivers, and shows for clients. I can give you information to do this directly yourself as a travel consultant.

Q: Can you recommend a hotel near the Louvre? Give us a list of budget bistros? Tell us where to go dancing? Suggest a few trendy clothing stores? Help me research an article about Paris ?

Of course I can! My travel planning and custom itinerary services are available here.

Q: Why can't you just answer a few quick questions for free? Surely it only takes a moment to recommend your favorite restaurant!

The short answer is that this is how I make a living, and I don't have time to work for free! I get dozens of information requests every week from tourists, students, people who want to come live in France, and even other travel writers looking for help with their research. The only people who get free advice are my friends, family, and former tour guests. If you're on a budget, there's plenty of free information and recommendations in the Resource Guide and Secrets of Paris newsletter archives, but you have to find it yourself!

Q: How do I reserve a tour?

Contact me to reserve your tour after reading through the types of tours we offer and pricing. All reservations require a credit card deposit (through PayPal) of €50-€200. We accept bookings one to six weeks in advance (at least two weeks for custom tours).

Q: What form of payment do you accept?

I accept credit cards for the deposit and cash for the balance on the day of the tour. Euros only, please (gone are the days when dollars could be used everywhere, alas).

Q: What is your cancellation policy?

Deposits are non-refundable, but can be used towards another tour depending on availability. If your guide has to cancel a tour, all deposits are fully refunded.

Q: Why can't you give a tour to my group of 20?

All of my tours are interactive in the old-fashioned sense, meaning I like to have a conversation with my guests, answering questions and getting to know each person. This isn't possible with a large group. Plus I can't take large groups into all of the little places that I think make my tours so special.

Q: What happens if the weather is bad?

Tours take place rain or shine, heatwave or snowstorm (which are, to calm your concerns, rare). I don't like to freeze, get drenched, or melt either, so be assured that I'm always prepared to adjust tours for your comfort and mine, whether it's ducking into the historic covered passages to escape the rain, an unexpected stop for ice cream to cool off, or warming our hands and tummies with a glass of vin chaud! NOTE: From November through March, all tours over two hours are done with a driver.

Q: What should I wear?

Whatever makes you comfortable, especially for the walking tours. If there's somewhere on tour that has a dress code, I'll let you know in advance. More importantly, try to carry as little as possible. No shoes in the world will help your feet if you're carrying around unnecessary weight!

Q: Why are your tours so expensive?

While not the most expensive tours of Paris, it’s true they are at the top of the range. There are several reasons for this. First of all, the guides are experienced professionals at the top of their field, many of them are also travel writers like myself. We are all fulltime residents (some born in Paris) who make a living in the tourism industry. This is our career and our calling, not something we do "on the side" or because we just moved to Paris and can't find any other job.

Second, there is considerable preparation time involved for private tours, including one-on-one communication between the guides and the clients during the planning process. For almost every tour, the guide meets the clients at their hotel; we don't make you try and find a "meeting point" in an unfamiliar city! We always go the extra mile for our clients to ensure their entire trip is memorable, not just the time they spend with us.

Finally, Secrets of Paris tours are part of the French limited liability company, Fleur de Lire EURL. Your tour price includes the hefty 19.6% Value-Added-Tax, and takes into account our somewhat considerable business taxes -- hey, someone has to pay to keep Paris looking good! Tour companies which are not registered to do business in France (or who do it "under the radar") are not subject to these taxes, and can therefore charge less.

 

 Note: I will be spending 2014 working on writing projects, and therefore have very limited availability for tours and consulting. I'm happy to recommend these freindly and talented partnersMerci for your understanding!  


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