Food Tours of Paris
Paris is teeming with culinary delights both savory and sweet, and one can easily spend her entire travel budget eating her way around town. But for a unique insider’s view on what to devour in the City of Light, you’d be wise to try one—or both—of these food tours of Paris. Noon isn’t too early for wine, right?
Culinary Tours of Paris
Begun by American expat John-Paul Fortney and his lovely French fiancée, Julie, Culinary Tours of Paris mixes limitless cultural knowledge with enthusiasm for food. Over three delightful hours in Montmartre, we visited three restaurants for delicious and enriching courses at each spot.
John-Paul’s midwestern relaxed friendliness and Julie’s warm French hospitality set the perfect mood for eating your way around the neighborhood in which they live. As we walked around Montmartre, it seemed that every few steps we were stopped on the street with a hello from a friend of theirs in the quartier. With solid relationships with each eatery’s proprietors and anecdotes about their travels in France, John-Paul and Julie are uniquely qualified to instruct on the art of French eating, whether it’s your first time in France or you’re a seasoned expat. During long walks between courses, they shared their knowledge of the area’s past and present, pointing out buildings where famous artists lived and locations from the film Amélie.
Going on this tour is like having a best friend in Paris who just wants to show you all his or her favorite spots in the neighborhood. Combining local knowledge, art history, dining tips and amazing food all in one, Culinary Tours of Paris is one of the most comprehensive food tours of Paris.
This food tour lives up to its name in a three-hour yum fest around the untouristy Villiers area. Founded by two best friends with a passion for France’s best foods, it gives you an inside look at the crafts of local boulangers, olive oil vendors, wine and champagne shops and delectable pâtisseries. The tour I went on began with a behind-the-scenes visit to Boulangerie Nature de Pain, owned by pastry innovator Loïc Bret. We saw the bread boys in action and even got to cut slits in the baguettes that would later be sold to the residents of the neighborhood. After we watched the pastry chefs creating divine éclairs and galettes des rois, we sampled a sinful chocolate-on-chocolate éclair.
Later we visited a mom-and-pop traiteur, where we indulged in a taste of pâté and a rich quiche au fromage, laden with raclette and Emmentaler cheeses, then the famous cheese shop Androuet, where we were welcomed by a cheesemonger who has been in the business for 30 years. A tempting visit to an olive oil specialist was followed by a glass of Sancerre and a taste of our Androuet cheese at a wineshop where the owner insists on selling only from vineyards whose proprietors he has personally shaken hands with. Our wonderful day was finished with a champagne tasting and deceptively light treats at Aux Merveilleux de Fred, which sells only the little desserts made of meringue, chantilly and a nutty crust.
Our guide Michele led us from spot to spot, greeted by owners at each locale with boundless enthusiasm, humor and kindness. It’s Michele’s insider info and relationships with the proprietors that make this tour truly one-of-a-kind, and you’re sure to walk away with at least one yummy souvenir (not to mention a full belly and a one o’clock champagne buzz).
There are many food tours of Paris you can choose from, but these two, with equal parts passion and insider knowledge, are certainly the most enjoyable, offering the best bang for your buck.