Visit Paris with my friend Tara as your guide and experience the city like a true Parisian
I’d like to introduce you to Tara-Georges Flynn. Tara and I met through a mutual family friend when we visited France in early 2019. After a quick introduction and shared hugs at the Eurostar, we dashed off to the metro where he instructed us to purchase daily passes for our stay in the city.
Little did we know we’d be in for a whirlwind of adventure over the next few days. Visiting several arrondissements where we were shown so many beautiful landmarks like the Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, and the Arc De Triomphe. Eating delicious Parisian cuisine at some of his restaurants where we were received like family. Reflecting and projecting in the wee hours of the morning overlooking the city at the top of the hills in Montmartre.
Our trip to Paris was more like a reunion with family. Tara even took me to find my clear Eco Style gel (because as we know, us girls need what we need, when we need it). Tara’s love of the city, coupled with his impeccable knowledge of Paris’ history and meticulous planning (he’s very much a Virgo) provided us with an unforgettable experience that I could have never imagined would be my first encounter in the City of Light.
When I think of Paris, I think of Tara.
Meet Tara, your guide for visiting Paris the right way.
Bonjour tous le monde. Hello everyone. My name is Tara-Georges Flynn!
I’m a Franco-American (French/USA) dual citizen of France and the United States, born in Paris between the world-famous suburban movie studios of Paris in Boulogne-Billancourt, and the PSG soccer club Parc des Princes located in the 16th district.
On my mother’s side, I am French and Italian from Firenze, Toscana. And on my dad’s side I am Irish from O’Flynn in Northwest Ireland, Canadian from Hespeler Ontario and American from iconic sunny southern California – specifically the Pacific Palisades in LA.
I grew up in the South of France in Antibes, Southwestern France in the Lot (46) department town of Martel (Dordogne River Valley), Southern California in beautiful and historic Rustic Canyon – also known as Uplifters Ranch which was a famous “secret” location for great parties during the prohibition days. After being away for 17 years as a child and teenager, I made my way back to Paris and became a full-time citizen to finish the last two years of high school at the American School of Paris (ASP) in the very chic suburb of Saint-Cloud near Versailles.
Since graduating from ASP I went back and forth between Paris, where I’ve been a full-time resident and have acquired Artistic Headquarters. Currently, I reside in the 3rd district and LA. When I’m not in either of these locations I’m spending time in Canada, either in Toronto where I have over 450 Flynn cousins and Flynn clan members, or Montreal.
I’ve traveled to many countries from India to Jordan, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, The British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Jerusalem (in Occupied Palestine), The West Bank, Gaza Strip, Mexico, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, and Guadeloupe, just to name a few. I am an adventurer world traveler who has taken full advantage of my two passports. Next on the list are Cuba, Tanzania, Egypt, Thailand, Vietnam, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Namibia, Belize, Brazil, Bali, and Australia.
So I do like to explore different parts of the world, but the two cities in the world I know best are Paris and Los Angeles. It’s here that I am a natural compass in no need of a map or GPS.
Why Tara decided to create a different kind of travel service for people wanting to explore Paris.
I created my travel service LOST IN PARIS in 1998, as a way to give non-Parisians the feeling of being real Parisians for a few hours, a full day, or several days when they go discover the essence of the city with me. I show them how to use their feet, eyes, energy, and public transportation including buses, RER, metros, and tramways – not via a car or tourist bus. I will, however, give one exception to the riverboat tours which are a nice way to see Paris via the river Seine which is the central artery of the city.
I tend to do a sort of “a la carte” system inquiring first with clients to find out what kind of things they like, foods they enjoy, and ambiances they’re looking for. I also ask them about any food allergies, physical walking issues, or medical issues they may have in case of steep areas like Montmartre or Parc de Belleville.
The idea to explore Paris on foot and via public transport is that you need to take the time to look all around you. It’s a city full of surprises and mystery. I always say it’s like living within a painting full of little details and surprises, notably with buildings, architecture, pop art, street art, odd stores, street performers, and food delicacies. You can’t do that in a packed tourist bus spewing diesel fumes plowing down streets at 50 kph.
Question: What is your favorite season in Paris?
That’s an easy one: SPRING. There is no better time to be in Paris than in April and May. It’s not too hot and not too cold. Visitors can enjoy practically perfect conditions although it does tend to rain a lot, so be prepared with rain gear. Paris is on the same longitude line as Seattle so we get over 200 days of rain per year. The trees are in full bloom, the harsh winter days of gray and freezing temperatures are behind us, and the entire city is in rebirth mode. The people are out along the Seine and Canal Saint-Martin, the outdoor cafe patios are full and the spring air (yes, it’s pollen-filled, so allergy-sensitive beware) but spring is an always welcomed rebound after a brutal five month thermal-shock.
Question: Do you have a favorite arrondissement?
1: The 7th (honorable mention to the neighboring 6th and 5th nearby), which is situated in the heart of the left bank and is known for its large streets and avenues, notably around the Invalides and Ecole Militaire. It has some of the best shops and restaurants, a wonderful outdoor market on Wednesday and Saturday, and Rue Cler has THE best Italian deli in Paris called DAVOLI 34 Rue Cler, which is amazing take-out only. Be prepared to lay out the dough but it is well worth it.
2: The 4th (honorable mention to the 3rd where I live) Situated in the Marais and the historical epicenter of Paris, this is where it all began in the Roman days 2000 years ago. The city of Lutece as it was known as before the tribes of the Parisis in the middle ages made the switch from Lutece to Paris.
The 4th is known for its small quaint streets, its Jewish neighborhoods and delis, and its street vendors on Rue des Rosiers that battle it out over Fallafels sales. My personal favorite is CHEZ MARIANNE with the red awning situated at 2 Rue des Hospitalières Saint Gervais, where I’ve been getting the best falafels since high school.
The 4th is an amazing labyrinth of small streets notably around metro Pont Marie on Rue du Figuier, Village Saint Paul, Rue Charlemagne, and rue des Beautreillis. #17 is the building where Jim Morrison died in 1971 on the 5th floor in the bathtub. Numerous churches are worth the detour as is the amazing FREE museum on the history of Paris called Musee Carnavalet. Notre Dame cathedral is located in the 4th but is sadly closed until 2024 due to a horrific fire on April 15th, 2019 that ravaged its rooftop and interior.
#3: The 18th (honorable mention to the 9th and 2nd) The 18th is home to the iconic Village of Montmartre, the Village of Abbesses, Rue Lepic, (Vincent Van Gogh lived with his brother Theo at 54 Rue Lepic for a while), and The Moulin Rouge. The 18th is pretty unique. I lived there for 6 years myself. It’s amazing how different it is from the rest of the 19 other districts.
One, for its cultural diversity and its unusual streets. Some are very wide like Boulevard Barbes, and some are tiny pedestrian ones like Rue Du Chevalier De La Barre which begins as a staircase from Rue Ramey and leads you all the way up to the back of the byzantine style church the sacred heart. Montmartre has one of the oldest churches in Paris going back to the 11th century called Saint Pierre de Montmartre. The oldest church in Paris is Saint Germain des Pres in the 6th which dates back to the year 67.
A word of advice: Going from Place Pigalle is a very cool little bus 100% electric line #40 that takes you up all the way to the top of the mountain.
Another word of advice: Montmartre and the 18th are a favorite playground for thieves and pickpockets, so keep a close eye on your phone, bags, and wallets as the marvels around you can be a distraction that can lead to total hustles… BEWARE!
Question: What do you most love about Paris?
EVERYTHING. Okay, I’m joking, but it is a fascinating epicenter of culture, art, food, movies, history, people and emotions. I have serious issues with the weather, notably in winter where it can be a high of four Celsius and rain all day in November when winter isn’t even official until December 21.
No matter the weather, it’s a wonderful city to meet interesting people from all over. It’s like living within a painting and there are some of the best food and wine in the world here. Not to mention the art with world-class museums, and over 197 churches and 37 iconic bridges overlapping the Seine River. Paris has one of the highest concentrations of movie cinemas in the world with 88.
Question: If someone had 72 hours or 3 days to spend traveling through Paris, what would you recommend they MUST SEE and check out during these 3 days?
That is a very difficult question to answer as there is so much to see and do!
Day 1: Get yourself to the nearest bakery, grab some croissants, and go sit at a cafe to order a double espresso or a Grand Creme which is like a cappuccino. Have a map of the city handy and plan wisely. Break it up into 3 parts: center 1 through 9th; mid-range 10th through 12th; outer edge 13th through 20th. Every arrondissement has its unique feel and personality. It’s tough to tell someone to go here or there without really knowing what they are looking for.
I would start in the center at Notre Dame, go see Place St. Michel in the 5th, the Latin Quarter, and Place de la Sorbonne University. Hop on the E 63 bus towards Place St. Sulpice, then move on. Also, on the 63 is the very chic Bac St. Germain area. Nearby is a nice museum called The Musee Maillol at 61 rue de Grenelle. It’s a sure value for a good exhibit and not too big. Also not too far away is the Musee Rodin @ 77 Rue de Varenne in the 7th.
Walk down Rue du Bac to the river cross the Royal Bridge and you will see the west end of the Louvre going on and on eastward. Eventually in the center lies the 30-year-old glass pyramid. If you take the 69 bus from the Louvre Pyramid area towards Champs de Mars it will take you straight to the Eiffel Tower. I don’t recommend waiting 3+ hours to get through security and tickets and taking elevators to go up the tower only to get to the top in a wind storm and have views of Paris with no Eiffel Tower.
Instead go to the 14th district to Metro Montparnasse Bienvenue (lines 4, 6, 12 and 13) or take bus 92 from Ecole Militaire towards Gare Montparnasse to go to the 59th floor panoramic view of Paris for a 5 minutes ticket line and an elevator ride to the 56th floor. Then you walk up the final 3 flights to the wind-protected outdoor terrace. Here you’ll see a stunning view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower without the hassle. This way you’ll get Paris WITH the Eiffel Tower in your pictures.
Another gem to see in the 5th is e Arenas of Lutece. It’s a 2000-year-old Roman gladiator arena now turned into a park on the left bank. Take line 7 to stop Place Monge. Take exit Rue de Navarre to see this historical location.
Also, there are many amazing parks like Tuileries Gardens in 1st Parc Monceau in the 8th, Luxembourg Gardens in 6th, Butte-Chaumonts in 19th, Montsouris in the 14th, Georges Brassens in the 15th, and Andre Citroen in 15th are worth noting.
Day 2: I would try to see the Arc de Triomphe on top of the Champs Elysées, an exhibit at either Grand Palais in the 8th, or Musee d’Orsay in the 7th. For shopping go to the Galleries Lafayette and Printemps department stores in 9th on Boulevard Haussmann. Go check out the Bastille district in the 11th with its many bars and interesting little shops. Not far from there in the 4th is the legendary place des Voges and shopping street Rue des Francs-Bourgeois.
Day 3: I would check out Pigalle and its quaint bars and music shops, go to see Abbesses in the 18th, and of course go up the funicular train up the hill to Montmartre, or take the 100% electric 40 bus. The night view of the monuments is pretty amazing. Other notable things to do include taking a walk on Ile Saint-Louis in the 4th and get Berthillon ice cream. This, by the way, is the oldest and BEST ice cream maker in Paris.
It’s been open non-stop at the same location since 1947 (Berthillon opened in 1954.) It’s called RAIMO. The quality is unbelievable and the hazelnuts are from the Italian piedmont mountains (noisette du piemontItalian). It’s located in the 12th metro line 6 and 8, stop Daumesnil Place Felix Eboue. RAIMO is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 8pm located at 59-61 Boulevard de Reuilly in the 12th. I know it’s out of the way of the center but once you get there you will be amazed.
Question: What are your top restaurants in Paris?
- The oldest restaurant in Paris is Le Procope dating back to 1686 is located at 13 Rue de L’Ancienne Comedie 75006 Paris.
- For The BEST Italian food in Paris again the 12th is mentioned: PASSERINI. 65 Rue Traversiere 75012 Paris.
- For French Food that’s been open since 1854 go to AU PETIT RICHE located at 25 Rue Le Peletier 75009 Paris.
- For Amazing Lebanese food: AL DAR located at 93 Avenue Raymond Poincare 75016 and also 8-10 Rue Frederic Sauton 75005 Paris
Notable in my hood is CHEZ l’AMI LOUIS 32 Rue du Verboit 75003 Paris where President Chirac took then-president Clinton for dinner.
BRASSERIE LIPP is great for amazing winter food like sauerkraut located at 151 Boulevard Saint Germain in the 6th.
LA COUPOLE located at 102 Boulevard du Montparnasse 75014 Paris where Ernest Hemingway used to hang out.
For great Japanese food go to ENISHI owned by nice Kyoto people I know located @ 67 Rue Labat 75018 Paris.
For great Japanese Ramen go to HOKKAIDO at 14 Rue Chabanais 75002 Paris
or KODAWARI RAMEN at 29 Rue Mazarine. You will feel like you are in Hong Kong
LE CHASSEEN Located at 6 Rue Crozatier 75012 Paris is owned and operated by my old pal Olivier Greco.
GUMBO YAYA for Southern comfort food is owned by my pal Lionel is at 3 Rue Charles Robin 75010 Paris, especially if you love fried chicken that’s finger-licking good!
For amazing Lebanese Shawarmas go to AL DAR as noted above.
For Greek sandwiches and Kebab check out GRILLE at 15 Rue Saint Augustin 75002 Paris.
And for the real adventurers, my Sunday favorite after softball is NAAN STOP at 260 Rue de Charenton 75012. They serve Indian bread sandwiches made by Tunisians with, meat, vegetables, and sauce of your choice. It’s not a fancy joint but it’s always packed because their sandwiches are delicious.
And there you have it. There’s more but the list would just be too long.
Question: Many people view Paris as the city of love or the city of lights, but as a local what does your city represent to you?
Paris first off will always be considered as home to me. It’s HUB #1 where it all began. HUB #2 is LA and HUB #3 is Toronto.
It’s where I feel most at home in a city along with LA. If only Paris had LA weather it would be perfect. It’s a place where I learned to develop from a boy into a man, it taught me street smarts. (But so did hanging out in the LA hood with Joe on 36th Street and Budlong at Exposition Park by the LA Memorial Coliseum.)
Paris taught me about art, culture, and the respect of others from far away lands. It’s an amazing city and environment to grow up in. It teaches you how to travel and be very independent, as it houses the 2nd oldest underground rail network in the world with 16 Metro Lines and close to 100 bus lines, along with Tramways and 5 express train RER rail lines.
Question: What inspired you to start LOST IN PARIS?
Well, it’s pretty simple.
First, I was getting sick and tired of hearing mainly from Americans and other English speaking folks that Parisians were rude non-helpful jerks. I don’t like hearing that and nothing could be further from the truth, so I decided to find a way to change that bad rep.
I wanted to educate people in a friendly way to navigate Paris and discover it in a pleasant way that gave them the feeling of belonging.
Second, since I know the city so well I figured my knowledge should be shared with others even if they don’t live here.
Third, it was a fun and creative way to meet people from all over the world and share with them the joys and secrets of the original City of Lights.
Question: How can someone schedule a tour with you via LOST IN PARIS?
It’s simple as I’m pretty old school. I work via word of mouth through friends and their recommendations. I don’t have a website, but you can reach me via TEXT or CALL my US number that works in France at 1 (323) 375-7777 or contact me on my French numbers + 33 (1) 42-78-98-84 for the office landline or on my cell +33 (6) 86 74 73 66 where you can SMS me or send me an email with subject LOST IN PARIS to firstname.lastname@example.org
And there you have it. I hope this covers enough to get you as excited to visit Paris as I think you should be.
Best from Paris,