My main reason for visiting Paris this year whilst I was in London was to ride on the EuroStar again and go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe as I missed out on doing that last year. Doing the AdT wouldn’t take all day, so I had plenty of spare time to do something else, and searching trip advisor, one of the highly recommended things to do was a food tour. I thought about it, forgot about it, and by the time I remembered to book it (the week before I left Australia) they were all booked out. You can find their website here.
The night before I left for Paris, I doubled checked the site again, and unfortunately two of the tours were still booked out, but there was a new tour available that did the Latin Quarter instead. I quickly booked it.
The meeting point was at the Luxembourg RER entrance near the Jardin du Luxembourg. I was an hour early and it was a cracking day weather wise so I just wandered the gardens for a while and soaked up the morning sun and the Parisian atmosphere.
At 11am Emmanuel was there at the meeting point with his orange umbrella, just as the booking site said he would be. After introductions, we were given a beautiful crossiant freshly baked from a boulangerie. The first thing explained to us was the importance of the boulangerie to French people and some of the rules around what can be called a boulangerie and what can’t.
After a few minutes we headed off. First call was a fromagerie where we sampled some cheeses, Emmanuel purchased some, explained many types of cheeses and formal French processes around their classification, and how many cheeses were preserved before the invention of refrigeration. After this stop it was off to a meat store where we sampled even more cheeses, some drinks, cured meats and foie gras. Everything was phenomenally delicious and the vendors and Emmanuel were more than happy to answer any questions.
The third stop was a pastry store where we had the most delicate and delicious macaroons I’d ever tasted. At the fourth stop the “secret” food was collected. I won’t spoil it for you, if you want to know what we were offered, you will need to do the tour.
The fifth stop was a wine store where we went down into the basement to sit around a small table, eat all the foods collected and discuss the life, universe and everything with Emmanuel. Great opportunity to learn about how quality food, how it’s cooked and served is so central to French culture, and get a French perspective on anything else you want to discuss. Seeing all the sites in Paris is fantastic but it’s equally great to meet a local who is passionate about food and French culture and talk about it. In many respects this part of the tour is even better than the food itself.
I would happily recommend this tour to anyone who has a passing interest in French food and culture and has a few hours spare time.