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

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

Volunteer Opportunities in Paris: Get Involved!

France Bénévolat
This website is one of the best for volunteer opportunities in France, with over 300 listings for Paris alone. This one is only in French, as most of the volunteers must be French-speaking. They list all kinds of positions, from coaching sports teams to working with handicap children to admin work for Reporters Without Borders. 

WICE
WICE is an anglophone cultural organization that's been around since 1978. They offer courses and programs ranging from Visual arts to Food and Wine, and Languages. WICE has a wonderful work environment and gives you a great amount of flexibility and many opportunities to meet new people.  Contact volunteer@wice-paris.org for more information.

Espace Bénévolat is an ideal place to start for English-speaking volunteers. This group is a sort of volunteer portal where you can find out about all of the volunteer opportunities available by location, type of activity, or type of charity. Armelle Lévy-Collin is in charge of the English-speaking volunteer opportunities, as well as the special projects for the 18-25 year old volunteers. Contact her directly at espacebenevolat.anglophones@gmail.com
 
Je Veux Aider also makes it super simple to find out how you can help, starting with three donation categories: time, money, and “other” (like used clothing or computer donations). You can find, using their search system, volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood for health, education, children, international, social, environment, etc. Sign up for their newsletter to keep up with opportunities throughout the year.
 

The “Restaurants of the Heart” are soup kitchens and grocery distribution centers located throughout France. Founded by the late comedian Coluche in 1985, this popular charity is known for its spirit of solidarity and good humor. As a weekly volunteer at one of the mobile distribution units, I can say that the Parisians I’ve met here are nothing like the grim, cranky, cynics you see on the metro every day, LOL! They are always looking for volunteers with regular availability.

SOS Helpline
A free and anonymous helpline for the English-speaking community since 1974, SOS Help is always in need of volunteers to help with the phone line as well as office administration. Training provided.

Orange RockCorps
This is a fun one: donate your time to charity in exchange for free tickets to music concerts.  It's targeted to young people of Generation Y (born between 1978 and 1994). 

The American Church of Paris
The American Church keeps the English-speaking community informed of volunteer opportunities and humanitarian needs throughout the year. Those of you who don’t speak French may want to start here.

Croix Rouge
The French Red Cross is a huge organization with many activities throughout the country. They sell holiday cards, organize toy drives, collect donations for particularly urgent international disasters (like Hurricane Katrina or the Pakistan earthquake). They also give regular first-aid and CPR certification classes in Paris for €60. They are always looking for volunteers for everything from organizing book or clothing collections to office assistance and first-aid response teams. They even send professionals on international missions (helps to speak English and have 6-9 months availability). They are currently recruiting young people 16-25 for their “Service Civil Volontaire”

Secours Populaire Français
One of the most active charities in France, the Secours Populaire is similar to the Red Cross, with a focus on humanitarian projects within France in the fields of education, health, emergency aid, and human rights. They have a huge Père Noël campaign at Christmas (you’ll see the “Green Santa helpers” around town). They’re looking for volunteers of all ages (they even have a program for young children).

Secours Catholique
A charity created by the Catholic priest Monseigneur Rodhain in 1946 after the horrors of the occupation during WWII. Today the organization is one of the largest in France, with local and international humanitarian projects. They recruit regularly for short and long-term missions in France and overseas. In Paris they are currently looking for dynamic volunteers to accompany at-risk children (a sort of Big Brother/Big Sister project), to welcome people at their soup kitchen on weekend evenings, and technical assistance with the annual directory.

Tout le Monde Chant Contre la Cancer
A non-profit French charity that helps children and families affected by cancer by raising money for research and organizing special events (such as toy distribution in hospitals at Christmas, gala concerts with French stars, vacations for the families and “make a wish” style gifts for the kids, such as a trip to Disneyland). They always welcome donations, but if you live in Paris and speak French and are looking to volunteer your time and expertise, check the website for current openings. 

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