Paris food experiences are definitely an important highlight of any trip to the city and something most visitors put very high on their “things to do in Paris” list. From finding that perfect little bistro to learning how to make some French food yourself or from marveling at the stalls at an open-air markets to enjoying the simple pleasure of sitting by the Seine with some wine, baguette and cheese, there are many ways in which you can savor Paris gastronomy. Today there are more and more options for foodie experiences, so many that it can be hard to choose what to do. As such I’ve pulled together some of my favorite excellent quality experiences (that I’ve also tried myself) which give you almost a full and tasty day eating your way around Paris! Do you have a favorite Paris food activity or tour? Add it to the comments!
Make Your Own French Breakfast
Sure, while you’re in Paris you can easily slip down in the morning to the neighborhood boulangerie to pick up a piping hot croissant… but this mightn’t be so easy to do back home. That’s when La Cuisine Paris comes to the rescue with their fabulous Le Croissant & Breakfast Pastries class. This great school has been perfecting teaching the art of French cuisine for eight years now and offers a diverse range of classes and culinary experiences. During this well organized, hands-on class you learn step by step how to make France’s most famous breakfast pastries including the croissants, pain au chocolat, pain au raisins, pin wheels and cinnamon buns… and just how much butter actually goes into them! (Don’t tell your doctor!). Chef Eric was fun and cute, ah I mean … pedagogic. The fruits of your labor are then divinely enjoyed at the end over tea and coffee. La Cuisine also has a Baguette Making Class which I hope is also taught by the wonderful Chef Eric.
Why this one? Classes taught by excellent and entertaining professional chefs. Great central location steps from Notre Dame, the Seine and the Marais for walking off the pastries after the class.
Details: €99.00 / person including ample pastries and instruction sheet take home. La Cuisine Paris, 80 Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville, 75004 Paris.
Taste Your Way Across the City
Okay, okay… maybe you don’t want to have to prepare your meal. No problem. But you want to see the city and eat really incredible food at the same time? That’s no problem either! All you need to do is book a table on the Bustronome. Yes, you’ve got it a Gastronomic Bus! I would normally be completely against a speedy tour of a city by bus, but this is quite different. The goal is to marry truly gastronomic food of the same quality of a high class restaurant – with real tables, glasses, silverware and surrounded by the stunning sites of Paris you pass aboard this deluxe glass-domed bus. I recently tried out their new Gouters Parisiens, afternoon tea tour. This includes four to five savory and sweet dishes of exquisite quality, using seasonally ingredients and in generous portions (really enough for a meal). You can also experience the same high level on their lunch and diner tours. It’s a cool activity to do for locals, not just visitors to the city – I saw the city in a whole new light (and palate!).
Why this one? It’s the only fancy bus – cuisine tour around Paris. The quality is truly very high, like a restaurant on wheels.
Details: From €60.00 / person for the afternoon tea, prices increase for the lunch and dinner menus but remain affordable for the experience. You can book directly on their site: Bustronome. Departure near Eiffel Tower.
Or Get a Taste of the New Parisian Palate
Buses aside, I do generally get around the city on foot, which I consider the the best way to really take in Paris. That’s why I’m very fond of Context Travel’s New Parisian Palate tour which is focused on discovering (and sampling) what’s new on the Paris food scene, a topic getting around more these days thanks to Lindsey Tramuta’s book The New Paris. Specialized in expert-led walking tours in over 40 cities around the world, Context works with specialists in their field including art historians, architects, writers, musicians and more. So in the case of this walk, you’ll be led by a chef, sommelier or food writer. The walk takes place in the hip Upper Marais, home to the oldest market in the city, but also to some of the city’s latest culinary shops – perfect for the bobo Parisians who live in the area and don’t need to cook (or have the time) with so many fabulous shops in the area. Tag along and learn to eat like a cool Parisian yourself.
Why this one? Led by chefs and food writers. The tour doesn’t follow the mold of most of the other traditional food tours in Paris – be different! Hip area of the city to discover and hang out afterwards.
Details: €95.00 / person including ample tastings. More info here: Context Travel.
Become a Cheese & Wine Connaisseur
I’m also all about getting back to the basics, if done in the right way, that is in-depth. Wine and cheese just so happen to be two of my favorite French things so I may be a little biased in including a class on this in my list, however, many people do come to Paris for sampling as much of these two delectables as possible. Why not learn a little more about them during one of the excellent Wine and Cheese Pairing held at Cook’n With Class. During the two-hour class, a passionate sommelier will guide you in a discovery of five carefully matched cheeses and wines. We always tend to want to associate cheese with wine, this class gives you further tools to be able to do this on your own back at home while also being a fascinating and delicious experience! The cooking school has some other wonderful classes held both at their school on the edge of Montmartre and their school in the South of France, opened just last year. This year is actually a very special year for Coook’n with Class as they are celebrating their 10th anniversary… and we have teamed up for a great contest… in conjunction with an even more fabulous Paris sweepstakes that they are holding! Learn more about both of these here!!
Why this one? It’s a Sommelier-led experience. The small group sizes allows for more questions and interaction with instructor and the other participants. Plus, you’re on the edge of Montmartre… perfect for a tipsy romantic stroll afterwards (my suggested route in this article)!
Details: €85.00 / person including tastings. Check their site for last min offers and other specials. Cook’n With Class. 6 rue Baudelique 75018 Paris.
Or Make Your Own Wine
The big wine fan that I am, I couldn’t resist putting this in. One day I’ll have my own vineyard (which you can all come to visit), but in the meantime you can actually make your own wine, or rather a blend, during the fantastic Wine making workshop at Les Caves du Louvre. This unique wine experience center, located in historic wine cellars near the Louvre, aims to teach visitors to France about wine in a interacting and experiential way (more on them in my article here). One of these is by making your own! Led by a member of their staff, you’ll be able to design your own blend and personalized label. The workshop will also give you valuable insight into what it takes to make wine and the whole winemaking process. Plus at the end you’ll have your bespoke bottle to take home with you!
Why this one? Unless you want to give up a year to live on a vineyard (and hey, why not??), you can’t really make your own wine in few hours in France except for here. A fun and original thing to do!
Details: 75€ / per person, which includes one bottle of wine, and you can choose to add in more bottles at an additional fee. See their website for schedule and further details. Les Caves du Louvre. 52 Rue de l’Arbre Sec, 75001 Paris.
Carry on discovering food, wine and cocktails in Paris by perusing some of my other articles on the subject here.