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Newsletter #5: March 2001

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***Secrets of Paris Newsletter #5: March 9, 2001***

* From Heather’s Desk *
Since we’ve managed to make it to #5 without any major tragedies, I thought I’d say hello and welcome! This newsletter is still in its experimental phase, so don’t be alarmed if the format changes slightly from issue to issue. All of your feedback has been lovely, keep it coming! And while it’s great to hear from my Mom that it’s the best newsletter in the world, a bit of constructive criticism from anyone I’m not related to would be appreciated as well. I’ve added my e-mail address up at the top, so send in any comments, questions about Paris, or even topics you’d like to see covered here (the less mainstream, the better). Don’t be strangers! -H

* Saint Patrick’s Day in Paris *
They call him Saint Patrice, but don’t let that turn you off. After all, you won’t be hanging out in any French bars celebrating this Irish festival, will you? My own personal recommendations: Connelly’s Corner in the 5th (just a few steps from Metro Censier-Daubenton), Le Galway Pub (Metro Saint Michel, on the quai next to Pizza Milano) or the newly refurbished Cruiscin Lan (rue des Halles, Metro Chatelet exit St. Opportune). All are guaranteed to be filled with a good combination of English and French-speaking Guinness fans. Get the lowdown on all of the Irish bars of Paris, along with Irish shopping, sports and events, on the Irish France website:

* A Taxi at 2am? Are You Kidding? *
I’m sure if I charted my colds on a calendar, they would coincide with late night partying in Paris during the winter. It’s not just the smoke, the stuffy bars, the completely inappropriate clothing (YOU try getting into a decent club with earmuffs on!), and my liquid diet. I’m sure it’s the lack of taxis between midnight and 3am. Standing in a long queue in the freezing rain is no fun. Calling doesn’t help, because they’re all busy. The Noctambus goes nowhere near my place (and even if it did, I don’t go anywhere near it without a pitbull at my side). The only solution is to try and Shanghai a taxi between taxi stands (helps if you’re female), or wait it out until 4am (I’m too old for that folks, ugh!). Bless the souls at the Batofar for making life easier for us night owls by providing a red doubledecker bus to take us home. During the week, there’s a single departure at 2 am, and at the weekend, there’s a bus every hour, starting at 12:30 am. The 45-minute circuit concentrates on the East of Paris: The Marais, Ménilmontant, Butte aux Cailles, etc. On the bottom deck, you can buy a range of drinks, or read a newspaper, to a backdrop of Indie music. Sounds like a cool place to hang out for a few miles, even if you’re not ready for the night to end!

* Another Idea for Early-to-Bed Clubbers *
Everyone who’s been in Paris long enough knows that all of the Parisians like to go out on Thursday nights (the young suburbanites and tourists stick to Friday/Saturday nights). Check out the live DJ Dimitry in a trendy Baroque-meets-Punk setting every Thursday night at De la Ville Café (34, blvd Bonne Nouvelle, Metro Bonne Nouvelle).

* For a Real Cinematic Experience *
The historic Max Linder Panorama theatre is a calm haven amidst the bustling Grandes Boulevards. With its 1930s decor, 18-meter high screen, THX sound and 700 seats on three levels, one might be able to excuse almost any bad film. But they even got that right. Very ‘art house’, you’ll find unknown films in their original version (not dubbed), sneak previews, and old classics and cult films revisited. Most films begin at midnight on Friday and Saturday. This Friday is the opening for the re-released film ‘The Exorcist’. Check their program for the 99ff Triple Features (usually a mix of pre-releases and classics) at 23, blvd Poissonniere (Metro Bonne Nouvelle) or at the website (sorry, only in French, but you can read the names and times):

* Travel Light *
I know how it is. Every time you manage to pack light for a trip, you still end up sitting on your suitcase in the end to get it closed. Buy a few too many bottles of perfume? Gifts for the family? Gorgeous prints from the Louvre? Save yourself a lot of hassle and don’t bring anything back from Paris. Order the gifts off this Museums of Paris website and have them all shipped home for you. No one will be the wiser, and you can relax and enjoy your visit instead of shopping for Aunt Bertha:

* I’m Sooooooo Sick! *
Really, I am. No amount of hot soup and tea with honey is going to fix this one. HUMEX to the rescue! When I’ve got a really bad cough, I use something called Exomuc to loosen it up. Sure, it’s not the same as going to Walgreen’s and picking out medicine like it’s a candy store, but French pharmacies have their plus points. If your French is bad you get to mime what you need (much to the amusement of normally sedate Parisians). If your French is good you can try talking the pharmacist into giving you something really, really strong (they’re allowed to give prescription strength medicines without a note from the doc). And I don’t care what the rumors are, I’ve never, ever been given anything for a cold that goes anywhere besides my mouth. Have any of you found the perfect French medication? Any good stories? You tell me yours and I’ll tell you how to get condoms without having to embarrass yourself to death by asking for them.

* Because You Deserve It, Baby! *
Some budget travelers spend their entire visit in Paris with one nervous eye on their wallet and another on the prices. Even some of you Parisian expats tend to forget to enjoy where you live once in awhile. You know who you are. Well this week I’m giving you permission to splurge a bit on yourself. No one has to know. In fact, if you run into anyone you know at the tres luxe Hotel Raphael, you can bet they won’t squeal on you. If you find the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz becoming a bit crowded, don’t miss the English-style bar at the Raphael. Dark wood paneling and soft red chairs to sink into with a champagne cocktail or a beer (just 45ff). On a decent day, you can lunch on their panoramic terrace overlooking all of Paris (just try not to look too smug about it, okay?)
Hotel Raphael
17 avenue Kléber
Tel : 01 53 64 32 00
Metro Kleber

* This Week’s Article at Suite101.com *
Okay, I like some French music. But I usually don’t admit it! In this week’s article, ‘French Music: C’est Pas Mal!’, get an earful of my opinions, and a few useful links to make your own decision. Long Live Serge!

Last Week: With so many bars, how to choose? A few of my favorite places for drinking in style, ‘My Paris Bar Picks’:

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