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Newsletter #79: August-September 2007

Paris door

IN THIS ISSUE:

* Heather’s News
* Shopping: Rent a Gucci Bag
* Shopping: Vintage Lingerie Stand Closes
* Shopping Online: Girly with an Attitude
* The Blog: Chanel, Rock Music, & Stars in Paris
* Dining: New Reviews
* Nightlife: Tango, baby!
* Getting Around: Vélib’ Bikes, Part 2
* Naughty Paris : Postcards and a Novel
* Naughty Nightlife: Régine’s is Back
* Speaking of Naughty…
* Outdoors: Come Run with the Hashers
* Arts & Entertainment: Another Online Guide
* Nightlife: Closings & Name Changes
* Sightseeing: Gobelins Tapestry Manufacture
* Sightseeing: Tours in a Historic 2CV
* Bidding for Good: Win a Tour!
* Heather Needs Help
* Heather’s Tours and Vacation Planning

* Heather’s News *

Brrr…current weather is chilly and cloudy. That’s actually an improvement over most of August, which has been cold and wet. I never made it to Paris Plage, which, I believe, had only two sunny days this year. Bummer for all of you who booked the more expensive hotels for the air-conditioning alone! Even July was a mixed bag of cool and wet, with a few sunny days here and there. I spent most of the past two months doing photo shoots for the Naughty Paris Guide and working with the book designer on the layout and “look”. Exhausting work, these guidebooks! With so much work to do, sometimes it’s a relief when it’s not too sunny outside. For visitors, it means that the museums, restaurants and hotels without a/c were actually enjoyable. For those of you coming in September, be assured that it’s often one of the sunniest months of the year! After such a cool summer, we may even get a little Indian Summer heatwave…it’s happened before! Until then, don’t forget your cardigan and rain boots. 😉 –Heather

* Shopping: Rent a Gucci Bag *

Or a Céline bag, or the latest Dior tote…renting expensive and trendy bags has been around in the US for awhile, but it’s still new in Paris . For the fashion conscious on small budgets it can be a great way to have the latest bag without making a huge investment. Or to even test drive a bag for €30/month to see if you really can live with it before shelling out €2000. The two I’ve found so far are www.sacdeluxe.fr and www.feelchic.fr.

* Shopping: Vintage Lingerie Stand Closes *

Vintage lingerie just got harder to find. One of the best sources was the Nuits de Satin (www.nuitsdesatin.com), which had a shop at the Marché aux Puces in St-Ouen/Clignancourt. Now they have only new models in their Paris boutiques, and the vintage lingerie is kept in a “museum” room only accessible to professionals. Total bummer. You can still find some vintage corsets and underthings at Delphine B. (Marché Vernaison, on the main street at 137 Rue des Rosiers, St-Ouen) and Francine Dentelles (Stand 121-123 and 140 bis, allée n°7). There is also some things at the Marché Delphine on rue des Rosiers, particularly upstairs at Falbalas (stand 284-285).

* Shopping Online: Girly with an Attitude *

I love the cheeky phrases stitched into the dainty blouses at Lochers’ website. All in English, made in Paris: www.lochers.com

* The Blog: Chanel, Rock Music, & Stars in Paris *

If you haven’t been on my blog recently, go have a peek at July and August posts, including: photo blog on the 5th annual Rock-en-Seine music festival, how I almost became the proud owner of a mint-condition, white leather Chanel trench coat for €1800, and the summer star-sightings around town. www.secretsofparis.com/heathers-secret-blog/

* Dining: New Reviews *

Check out my latest dining reviews for Ginger (chic Thai-Vietnamese), Le Nemrod (typical Paris brasserie), Chez Ramulaud (old-fashioned bistro), BioBa Café (organic, healthy café) and the BC (gourmet nibbles for rock fans): www.secretsofparis.com/latestdiningreviews

* Nightlife: Tango, baby! *

The regular tango nights on the banks of the Seine (at Jardin Tino Rossi, 5th, Quai St-Bernard) have been somewhat interrupted by the rain, but you should be able to find them out there most nights until the end of September. For other tango events, classes, concerts and balls, check out this site: www.mephisto-tango.com

* Getting Around: Vélib’ Bikes, Part 2 *

So on the dry days, I’ve been getting around town by Vélib’ bike, the city’s latest public bike program. Sometimes it’s so quick and easy I almost feel guilty. Sometimes there are no bikes to take, or no free spaces to return a bike, so I end up circling to nearby stations. Only once have I had a technical error and was unable to get a bike (I called the hotline, they said my card would be fixed within an hour). Unfortunately, if you don’t have a credit card with a microchip you won’t be able to get one. I used my credit card to get my friend a bike pass for the day, at just €1 (and if she doesn’t return the bike I get charged €150), which is fine if you trust your friends! Other glitch is that the bikes seem to only be available until 2am , then they all are on “red light”, meaning they can’t be checked out. That’s not cool. What about all of us who stay out past the last metro and don’t want to stand in a long taxi line? Hmph. Hopefully they will change that. The bikes are, so far, very popular. And it’s only August! Most of the Parisians will be back in town Monday, so we’ll see how well the drivers acclimate.

* Naughty Paris : Postcards and a Novel *

While working on the guidebook (yes, that’s a disclaimer!), I found some adorable “naughty Paris” vintage postcards that you can order online: www.galiaemporium.com I also discovered that Jina Bacarr, author of the erotic novel “ Blonde Geisha”, came out with a novel about being an artist’s model in Paris called….”Naughty Paris”! www.jinabacarr.com And she’s not even the first to use this title. There is also a Taschen photo book called “Naughty Paris: Erotic Photos of the Twenties”. I like to think that third time’s a charm, so I’m not going to change the guidebook title. ;~)

* Naughty Nightlife: Régine’s is Back *

Most of the clubs that closed over the holidays are reopening this weekend, including Régine’s, which hosts the Thursday night “Bonheure des Dames”, a free, ladies-only night with food, cocktails, and male dancers. Yee ha! www.bonheur-des-dames.com

* Speaking of Naughty…*

Don’t miss the photo blog out takes from last month’s Naughty Paris photo sessions! Ten days, thirty-five locations, five models and way too few hours of sleep: naughtyparis.blogspirit.com

* Outdoors: Come Run with the Hashers *

Last night I was at the Resto du Coeur (mobile food kitchen
) and ran into a volunteer who I usually only see covered in mud and drinking beer. Yes, it was Alka Seltzer, GM (Grand Mattress, of course) of the Sans Clue Hash House Harriers (aka the Drinking Club with the Running Problem). It has been far too long for me and my sidekick hashers ButtSniff and EasyRoll (aka Pedro and Lena ), so I promised I would come to this Sunday’s run. Weather should be perfect for a run through the forest, non? Come join us at Garches station just outside the Parc de St-Cloud (from Gare St-Lazare, about 20 minutes outside Paris ) at 2pm sharp, this Sunday, and tell them Animal Lover sent you. schhh.free.fr

* Arts & Entertainment: Another Online Guide *

I found a great source of arts and entertainment news about Paris at a site called “A New City Guide”. Check them out: www.anewcityguide.com/paris

* Nightlife: Closings & Name Changes *

After 18 years, the China Club has closed its doors for good, sadly. It was a great venue for live music and just lounging about (can’t say I ever dined there, though) and was almost always packed (chinaclub.cc). Their sister restaurant-bar, Le Fumoir, is still open (lefumoir.com). Over on the banks of the Seine at Quai François Mauriac, the Guinguette Pirate has changed its name to the much easier-to-spell Cabaret Pirate (and cabarets are just so hip at this moment, non?) Check out their exciting fall schedule online: www.cabaretpirate.com

* Sightseeing: Gobelins Tapestry Manufacture *

After 400 years, the Gobelins Manufacture finally got a facelift. The brink and carved stone tapestry manufacture now looks like new (it’s right across the street from me, so I’ve watched them clean it all spring). There are still artisan weavers creating tapestries (usually for French embassies overseas). You can tour the grounds and watch them at work Wed and Sat at 3:30pm and 5pm. There’s also an exhibition on the 400-year history through September 30, open Tues-Sun from 12:30-6:30pm (€6 for the exposition gallery, €10 to also visit the manufacture, Tues-Thurs at 2pm and 3pm). Here’s a link to the history (click on the US flag): manufacturedesgobelins.fr

* Sightseeing: Tours in a Historic 2CV *

If you want to be driven around Paris for some sightseeing in old-fashioned style, check out Paris Authentic: www.parisauthentic.com They give tours in the old 2CVs, with an open sun roof so you can stand up and take photos (we’ll pretend that you can keep your seatbelt on while standing!) Commentary in English with a “Frenchy” accent (that was Sébastien’s own description of his English abilities). You can reserve a tour or just see if one of their cars is parked and ready on the Place de la Concorde. Reasonable rates, tell them Heather sent you!

* Bidding for Good: Win a Tour! *

Secrets of Paris is donating a half-day tour and a “Naughty Paris Guide” for the auction supporting the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association (PCOSA). The auction begins September 1 via Bidding for Good (www.biddingforgood.com). Stay tuned, and check into their site: www.pcosupport.org

* Heather Needs Help *

Okay, I give up. Too many things to do and only one Heather! I’m now officially looking for a part-time assistant/intern to help keep this office running smoothly. Perfect for a student with lots of energy! Ideally, looking for someone who is bilingual, knows how to get around Paris , likes dogs, and very efficient! Send me an e-mail.

* Heather’s Tours and Vacation Planning *

Coming to Paris and want to make the most of your trip? Don’t have any friends here to show you around and give you the lowdown on all of the best places to eat, shop and go out at night? Read about my custom tours and vacation planning services on the Secrets of Paris website:www.secretsofparis.com/customtours/

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  • I stumbled onto your site while surfing for paris…a francophile, oui!Have been enjoying your insights and info.I come once a year and have a great,on limited $ budget. I was there in Oct of 2007 and had fabulous fall weather, and pics to prove it.Weather was in the 70’s!…glad I missed the kind you mentioned in your news letter.Merci,gracias, etc from San Francisco, Ca,Jacquelyn Goudeau ( je parle un peu lu francaise…but I get along famously!)