When I first stumbled across A French Frye in Paris some eight years ago, Corey Frye had just married a French girl and moved to Paris. His love for the city and perpetual sense of wonder were infectious — and I related to his earnest (but sometimes ill-fated) attempts at learning French.
“My husband and I are coming to Paris,” I wrote Corey one day, “and we’d love to meet you.” I was apprehensive because I’d never before met an internet friend in real life, but Corey put those worries to rest. He was delightful.
In addition to being a wonderful guide, Corey is a serious foodie. Here’s one of the first meals I shared with him, on the rue des Barres.
He was teaching English in those days, but spent every spare minute wandering the city and populating what he then called his “Goonie Map.” It was a treasure-trove of historical wonders, and his gift for storytelling brought each of the spots on his map to life.
On one of our strolls Corey showed me several remnants of the defensive wall king Philippe Auguste built around Paris between 1190 and 1220.
His knowledge seemed to grow exponentially between my yearly visits, and soon he was guiding paying customers through centuries of history in Paris’ tangled streets.
This ornate balcony adorns one of the luxurious private homes built on the Île St. Louis after the creation of the man-made island in 1614.
Corey paused during another stroll to point out an inauspicious-looking storefront, and then led me into the medieval crypt that is being excavated and restored below street level.
Did I mention that Corey is also a foodie? He chose Café Breizh at random for a break — and it turned out to (reputedly) serve the best crêpes in Paris.
… and here we are again, at Au Vieux Paris D’Arcole, which is reputed to be the oldest restaurant in Paris.
After ingratiating ourselves to Frédéric, the manager and host, we got a tour of the wine cellar.
Since then I’ve had the privilege of taking several walks with Corey, both informally and as a client. And although he now knows the city intimately, he’s never lost the wonder or curiosity that made his blog so irresistible all those years ago.
We never fail to avail ourselves of an open courtyard door to explore the interiors, like this old building in the Marais.
I also took Corey on an off-road adventure in the cellar under my apartment building.
In fact, his curiosity has led him to create an entirely new experience that (to my knowledge) no other Paris tour guide is offering: free, live weekly walks through the City of Light. His episode a couple of weeks ago about the Palais-Royal yielded some eyebrow-raising facts about the young Napoléon Bonaparte.
Because I’m a crazy Francophile (and a big fan of Corey’s) I also signed up as a sponsor on Patreon, which grants me handy maps of each week’s itinerary, access to post-walk online chats, and other perks.
But you don’t have to be a crazy Francophile to enjoy Corey’s weekly walks. If you have even a passing interest in Paris, you’ll enjoy watching past videos on YouTube or catching his live tours on Facebook.
I’ll sign off today with a huge thank you to Corey for his friendship over the years, and with a tip of the hat to his success — for many more years to come.