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Newsletter #67: February 2006

vintage Paris photo


  • From the Editor
  • Nightlife: Man Ray is now…Mandalaray!
  • Nightlife: (Almost) Free Concert Tickets
  • Sightseeing: Rodin Museum Chapel Reopened
  • Shopping: Custom Belts and Buckles
  • Shopping: Cool T-Shirts
  • Eating & Drinking: Brunch or Tea at Hôtel Daniel
  • Fun Job!
  • Food & Drink: Night Delivery
  • Art: Original Photographic Prints
  • Practical Info: Free Toilettes
  • Accommodation: Cheap Hotel Website

* From the Editor *

Lots of exciting things happening this month, and February’s so short I thought I’d send out the latest newsletter before it sneaks past me completely! Here at the Secrets of Paris I’ve *finally* added a page for my 2006 tours to the website in an attempt to get the bugs in the text worked out before the new site design is implemented (any feedback welcome!). 

I’ve also started two new blogs (it’s just so easy these days…): the first one, Secrètes de Paris, is a bit of a photo tour where you can see what I’ve been up to around town (yes, the title is an attempt to differentiate it from the newsletter…un peu). 

The second is a very special blog, a sneak preview of our fun new guidebook (written with the help of partner-in-crime Carolyn Heinze ), “Naughty Paris: The Good Girl’s Guide to Being Bad in the City of Light ”.  Spread the word (to mature audiences only, s’il vous plait)!

And, as usual, don’t forget to visit the updated calendar of events.

A bientôt! – Heather

* Nightlife: Man Ray is now…Mandalaray! *

The Man Ray bar-restaurant-club, famously owned by Johnny Depp, John Malkovitch, Mick Hucknall (of Simply Red) and Sean Penn, has changed its name, but seems to have the same décor (a bit too close to the Buddha Bar, if you ask me) and same general lineup of soirées. One interesting night you may want to check out: Monday night is Opera Dinner, with the Merkevah Orchestra under the direction of Stan Renoult accompanied by soprano Elsa Tirel and baritone Shi Heng. On the program are classics from Rossini, Bach, Puccini, Bizet, Mozart, Dvorak, Haendel, Britten, Verdi, and Tchaikovsky. Have a look on their website for more information and menu prices. 

* Nightlife: (Almost) Free Concert Tickets *

There’s an interesting website called Sortir à Paris , which advertises a limited number of free passes for concerts. There’s a catch: you have to call the number and get the code. Of course, the call isn’t free, but it’s only about €3, a lot less than the €10-€20 for the tickets you’d get at the club itself. I finally tested it out this week (for the Dentelles Nerveuses at La Scène Bastille next Monday; tickets €12 at the door) and immediately received the confirmation e-mail that I printed out as an “e-ticket”. One thing to note: you’ll need to know French to understand the code given over the phone, since it’s a recording, not a live person.

* Sightseeing: Rodin Museum Chapel Reopened *

If you haven’t been to the Musée Rodin (Hôtel Biron, 79 rue de Varenne, 7th) since November, it’s worth stopping by to see the newly renovated chapel. After a long renovation, the neo-gothic chapel of the Hôtel Biron, partially demolished after WWII, is now open as a new temporary exhibition space. The renovation maintains the general historic “esprit” of the exterior (which was built in 1867), with a sleek contemporary interior. The first exhibition, which finishes on February 26, features an interesting look at the pedestals used to display sculptures. See the website for more info: 

* Shopping: Custom Belts and Buckles *

Someone was recently lamenting the difficulty in finding a decent belt. Either the strap is cheap or the buckle is stupid, or it’s just not the right size. So even though I’ve passed by the windows of the Marais boutique LOSCO (20 rue de Sévigné, 4th, tel 01 48 04 39 93) many times before, this time I thought I’d pop in and check out this belt specialist. The way it work is that first you pick your belt (all lengths, widths, colors, material) and then pick a buckle (organized by size and style, from basic to flashy). The straps are all made on site from top quality materials, and can be custom-ordered for XXL sizes. Average price is about €60,buckles averaged about €15. Hard to find quality and selection like this in any department store, especially at these prices! (second location at 5 rue de Sévres, 6th, tel 01 42 22 77 47).

* Shopping: Cool T-Shirts *

The one that first caught my eye as I passed by the window was one that said “I (cartoon of a burning car) Paris ”. I was in a hurry and had to leave town the next day so I took a photo and zoomed off. But kept thinking what fun Christmas presents they’d make for my friends back home. If you’re looking for some unique t-shirt designs, have a look on their website gallery or stop by the shop near the Marché Aligre. Alas, the burning car one doesn’t seem to be there anymore, but here are plenty of others! Warning: some of the logos may be offensive to people who can’t take a joke. If you’re against freedom of expression, you’re in the wrong place (FYI they also sell t-shirts to support “Sans Tambour, Ni Trompette”, a non-profit organization that promotes cultural tolerance). 

* Eating & Drinking: Brunch or Tea at Hôtel Daniel *

I took a tour of this hotel when it first opened about 18 months ago, and really fell in love with the cozy, private townhouse feel to it. The lobby is decorated like a living room with Chinoiserie wallpaper, fluffy chairs and sofas in satiny jewel tone fabrics, and Moroccan tables and screens. There’s a little restaurant and bar just off the lobby, same exotic décor, with room for about 25. I heard they were starting to serve brunch all day long, seven days a week, a rarity in Paris ! But I was more in a tea mood so I invited my friend Sylvia, who had seen the hotel on the cover of one of her decorating magazines, for afternoon tea. A pot of Mariages Frères for €7 and a selection of Ladurée pastries €15 in a beautiful setting is always a nice place to keep in mind for these cold and grey February days! Located just off the Champs-Elysées at 8 rue Fréderic Bastiat, 8th. Check out their reasonable lunch and dinner menus on their website

* Fun Job! *

Quit your life for 55 days. Get paid to travel and have fun, woo hoo! Found this ad in a Paris magazine and couldn’t resist having a peek. It’s a real job offer from the 55dsl clothing company. No dogs allowed on this little sojourn, but if any of you fancy yourselves the next big travel TV presenter, why not apply? If they send you to Paris , come say hi!

* Food & Drink: Night Delivery *

The company Nemo has been getting a lot of press for its unique food delivery service which only operates… 7pm-6am ! It sure is hard to get anything to eat during those hours without actually going outside (there are no 24-hour supermarkets in France , for those of you who didn’t know). This isn’t cheapo food either, but gourmet platters of meats, cheeses, tapenades, sandwiches, foie gras, and even booze (wine, Champagne , vodka). This service doesn’t come cheap, but keep the number handy…if your Valentine’s Date goes well you may need to order in some breakfast! 😉

* Art: Original Photographic Prints *

Looking for some unique art on a budget? This new site allows you to browse and purchase photos by talented young photographers, numbered and signed silver gelatin prints starting at 49€.

* Practical Info: Free Toilettes *

As of February 1, all 420 of the city’s public toilets (those found in metro stations, gardens, parks, etc.) are now free. They used to be 40 cents, which isn’t a lot of dough, but a pain in the bum when all you’ve got is a twenty euro bill, or worse, no cash at all! Now let’s all stop b*tching about our taxes (and the rest of you who don’t pay taxes in Paris, a nod to the Mayor Delanoë next time you pass the Hôtel de Ville).

* Accommodation: Cheap Hostel and Hotel Website *

Need a room in Paris for less than €50? Less than €30? Less than €20? If you think that’s impossible then check out the Hostel Club website. Just don’t bother looking for the hairdryer or minibar… 

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