Along with How to be Parisian Wherever You Are, I was gifted the fourth edition of The 500 Hidden Secrets of Paris shortly after I arrived in France. Needless to say, I felt more than equipped to face the city and its people head-on!
While the other book was more satirical than sociological, Hidden Secrets of Paris is a true guidebook, written by a born-and-bred Parisian. It contains 100 lists that consist of five place a piece, revealing everything from the best small museums, to the best charcuterie plates, to the best unusual places to grab a cocktail, to the best metro entrances!
Going beyond merely stating the name and giving a short description of the locale, author Marie Farman supplies her readers with the address, website, phone number, and even arrondissement number of the place in question. This makes it easy to both pinpoint the exact location, and get further details (though she’s so helpful and descriptive it’s hardly necessary!). She even goes the extra mile to put maps of the city’s right and left banks right into the book, so you don’t have to rely on Google Maps to get you to your intended destination.
Hidden of Secrets of Paris is advertised as being a book that helps visitors avoid tourist traps, and locals to get to know their city that little bit better. I personally find that it delivers on both. I’ve read it from front to back and found not only by personal favourite secret spots in the city, but brand new discoveries as well that have yet to disappoint. It’s become my go-to when trying to find a new place to check out, or to find the answer to such damning questions as “What are the most interesting stalls at les puces de Saint-Ouen?” or “Where can one find a beautiful tearoom?”.
A recommended read whether you’re a true Parisian, or merely passing by!