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Newsletter #2: January 2001

vintage Paris photo

***Secrets of Paris Newsletter #2: January 19, 2001

For Visitors
To busy to plan your own Paris Vacation itinerary? Let someone else do it for you at the CometoParis website: http://www.cometoparis.com/

Ever wonder what the neighborhood really looks like for the hotel you’ve booked? This site has plenty of photos of almost every major neighborhood in Paris, and you can find and book a hotel through them as well: http://paris.cx/

For some pre-trip previews or post-trip nostalgia, tune into your favorite Paris radio station on the web at: http://radioparis.com/

If you don’t mind having strangers in your house, home exchanges are a great way to save on vacation costs. Sometimes a car is even included (and pets, too — no better way to look like a native than with a dog). There are plenty of similar sites, but this company has very high standards for locations, and lets you read the ratings and comments of former guests: http://www.digsville.com

This is What Those Taxes Pay For in Paris
The City of Paris is subsidizing all the city’s cinemas from January 31 through February 6. All seats at all movie houses are 18 FF if you attend the 18h (6 p.m.) showing. This is considerably less than the regular, full price (over 40ff in most cases), but get there early before the seats sell out!!

For Residents
Sooner or later, if you live in Paris, you find yourself wandering aimlessly around the ‘Sous-sol’ at BHV, looking for a particular screw, an electric cord, plant fertilizer — and not a sales person in sight. Well fear not, because now the good ol’ folks at BHV have started the Bricolo Café, which will attempt to mix food and home improvement (why not?) down in the Sous-sol. Twice a day, at 12:30pm and 4pm, beginners are welcome to sign up for free classes on all sorts of projects — and for the urban lifestyle, there’s even a snack bar. Perhaps you don’t need to learn how to wallpaper a bathroom, but it would be worth going if you could just get them to tell you where to find the glue!
Bricolo Café: Soul-sol au BHV, Metro Hotel-de-Ville

Literary Paris
Get all of the latest on readings, writing events, writing groups and classes, and English theatre in Paris by subscribing to Jennifer Dick’s Paris Readings Mailing List. Just drop her an e-mail at: fragment78@aol.com

Shopping Guides
The bi-annual *Soldes* are still going strong in Paris, but with so much to choose from, where to begin? Rest easy, someone else has already done the work for us!

FashionLive.com tells you where the best shops are to visit during the Soldes (but ignore their typo — the sales last until February 20): http://www.fashionlive.com/life/explore/soldes/soldes.html

Citivox’s bi-lingual site has lists of the best shopping in and around Paris: http://www.cityvox.com/shopping/0,15679,PARENGBOUCIT,00.html

Life Just Got Easier
Today is the opening day of the Paris EasyEverything. Created by the EasyJet group, this gigantic internet center is full of powerful, fast-connected computers which let you check your e-mail without waiting in line or spending your whole paycheck. I tried the one in Edinburgh this summer, and what it lacks in personality it makes up for in convenience. Located smack in the center of town:
37, boulevard Sebastopol
75001 Paris
Metro : Châtelet-Les Halles

Champagne Tasting
Maybe you’re a Champagne aficionado, or maybe you just didn’t get enough on New Year’s Eve. Head down to the classy le Dokhan’s Champagne Bar, in the Hotel of the same name, for their Champagne tastings with commentary (of course) by a French pro. Every Thursday night from 7pm until 8:30pm at 117 rue de Lauriston 75016. Individual flutes start at 50ff, bottles at 420ff.

Run Away and Join the Circus!
The First Annual International Circus Festival just finished up in Paris, but if you missed it, don’t despair. If watching the graceful horse trainers, goofy clowns and daring trapeze artists entices you, why not learn these skills yourself? Some people go just as they’d go to learn salsa or fencing. Others are training for a career in the Big Top. There are plenty of circus training schools in Paris:

The most prestigious and expensive is Ecole Nationale du cirque Annie Fratellini, which costs 4000-5000ff/year (about 6ff =$1), teens and adults only: 2 rue de la Clôture, 75019; Tel

For those just wanting to test the waters there’s Les noctambules, which costs 350ff for eight courses in various classes such as trapeze, acrobatics, or tightrope: 220 avenue de la république, 92 Nanterre Tel

Just for one day’s fun, get your trapeze or trampoline ‘Baptism’ course from Club Med World for just 25-35ff. Cours Saint Emilion 75012, Tel 0810 810 410.

Latest at Suite101.com
Learn all about Paris’s African American and French African history and culture in the latest Secrets of Paris article, ‘Exotic Paris Part II: African Roots’ at: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/4820/57863

Previously at Secrets of Paris: Looking for something different in Paris? The best sushi? A good kimono shop? An authentic Chinese market? Read the article, ‘Exotic Paris Part I: Asian Influences’ at: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/4820/56890

*Special ‘Asian Influences’ updates! Another great link and reviews for Japanese restaurants: http://www.in-paris.com/gb/gbrestaurant/restojap.html

*The Musée Guimet has just re-opened after a year of renovations, featuring an international showcase of Asian art. Over 45000 artifacts from Japan, Korea, Nepal, Tibet, and India. Between Jan. 25 and April 1, the museum hosts an exhibit of 150 objects from the Asia of Alexander the Great to Gengis Khan.

Are you a fashion addict? Read the latest Inside Paris article for my own interpretation of the latest French trends at: http://www.walkincloset.com/read/heather/index.html

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