Whether it is through seeking out local restaurants or taking cooking classes, I think it’s become abundantly clear that food is a large part of what I enjoy most about travel. No matter how many times we visit a place, I try to put at least one food or wine experience on our itinerary. In the last year, we’ve spent about three weeks in France, and I have worked really hard to find wine and food tours in Paris (and beyond) to further expand our palates when it comes to French food and wine. These tours have made us more adventurous in terms of trying to find the best version of some of our favorite food in Paris and helped us find better restaurants in Paris, too.
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Food Tours in Paris by Neighborhood
Marais Food Tour in Paris
If you are looking for an introduction to French food, I recommend starting with this Marais food tour. This tour starts at the Marché des Enfants Rouges with a cheese and wine tasting. This small market is a great place to come back to for an easy meal, too. Not only is there plenty of fresh food, but there are several small restaurants in the market that smell amazing.
After tasting some of the savory cheeses of Paris, we headed out to a few shops throughout the 3rd arrondissement for a few sweet treats, including filled choux pastries, macarons, and chocolates. (Don’t be afraid to try unique flavor combinations. This is the perfect, low-stress time time to do it!) The other thing I really enjoyed about this food tour is that we visited a few stores that made items that we could bring home and enjoy tastes of France all year. (These tasty souvenirs got us through 2020 when we couldn’t travel!) Our tour wrapped up with falafel at one of Paris’s famous falafel stands and a stop at a Corsican restaurants where we tried a couple of traditional Corsican dishes.
There is no shortage of food to try on this tour and it offers a good mix of sweet and savory foods to try. It’s also extremely filling. You’ll want to skip breakfast and plan for a light dinner when you schedule this.
Montmartre Food Tour
If you are interested in learning more about Montmartre, this food tour does a great job of introducing you to the local restaurants in 18th arrondissement. While I think the Marais food tour balances fresh foods and foods you can take home, this food tour of Montmartre includes plenty of local restaurants and cafes. This tour is more focused on pastries than the Marais food tour is, but you’ll still have the opportunity to try a few savory treats, French cheeses, and some wine as well.
This tour also provides a lot of context and history of the area around Montmartre. It starts near the Moulin Rouge, visits Sacre Coeur, and ends at the Place du Tertre. The views of Paris from this tour are absolutely outstanding.
If you want to level up your Montmartre food tour, I recommend taking this Montmartre food tour with a Paris chef.
French Wine and Cheese Tastings
Cheese Tasting in Paris
If you love cheese – or you want to learn more about French cheese, I cannot recommend booking this cheese tasting in Paris with Alex. No one loves cheese more than Alex. While this is a wine and cheese tasting, it’s clear that Alex’s passion is to help you better appreciate French cheeses. The wine is secondary to this tasting. This cheese tasting is in a small restaurant in the Latin Quarter, which is closed during the tasting. Alex leads you through how cheeses are made, teaches you how to change the flavor profile of certain cheeses, and provides more insight into the various techniques of how cheese is made. I’m not a huge cheese person, but Alex introduced me to butter from the Normandy region of France. Butter is not butter. I had no idea. I was never a bread and butter person until I tried Normandy butter. Our next trip to Mont Saint Michel will include Saint Malo for Brittany butter.
What I love most about this cheese experience is how fiercely passionate Alex is about cheese. He is wildly passionate. I’ve never met anyone who feels as strongly about cheese as Alex does. He genuinely wants to improve your culinary experience in Paris and is open for questions and happy to make recommendations. While he did have the wines and cheese available for purchase, it felt secondary to the knowledge he was sharing with us.
I am a French cheese novice – but I loved how Alex had us try cheese with fruits, olive oil, nuts, spices, and more to better understand the flavor profiles. Tom is quite a bit more adventurous with cheeses and he definitely loved this cheese tasting experience in Paris.
Wine and Cheese Tasting in Paris
I’m a novice to French wines. Yes, we’ve done wine tasting in Alsace and bring those wines home regularly, but I don’t know much about other regions. As a result, I LOVED this wine tasting in Paris with Erwan. I loved it so much that we’ve done it five times and are ready to go back a sixth time. Erwan has a small wine bar in the 15th arrondissement (behind the Eiffel Tower and the Champs de Mars) and he runs an incredibly thoughtful wine tasting. It’s set up as a small group tasting which facilities great conversation.
We learned how the French refer to wines by region, city, and then the grape, which is why French wine lists seemed so daunting. Once we realized that, everything made so much more sense in the restaurants. We tried five different French wines and five different cheeses from various regions of France. I was surprised to learn that most regions produce both red and white wines, and we tried both. All the wines are available for purchase and are very reasonably priced. We even tried a Grand Cru that was only 22 euro!
Erwan provides a list of the wines and cheeses that tried, which proved very useful when we were at the grocery store. We purchased a couple of bottles of wine from Erwan to take with us, and I would happily book another wine tasting to learn more about wine from him. (He also ships to the US.)
Cooking Classes in Paris
Baguette and Croissant Baking Class in Paris
I know what I’m about to say is blasphemous because one of my friends makes fun of me all the time for this revelation. I didn’t even know I liked croissants until we took a baking class in Paris. (I’ve been a huge fan of the baguette since I studied abroad though.)
This baguette and croissant class in Paris takes place in a small bakery in the 14th arrondissement near Montparnasse. The bakery is run by an award-wining chef (who is gluten intolerant) and he will lead you through the process of creating croissants, pain et chocolat, and baguettes. The best croissants take THREE DAYS to make. (I made these at home during Thanksgiving 2020. When my dough expanded to Texas proportions, Chef Didier was happy to help me troubleshoot over Instagram.
This class is taught in French, but you will have an interpreter. Chef Didier is warm, welcoming, and delightfully funny. He will happily let you practice your French skills (a little practice never hurts anyone). This is a great way to practice your French – both listening and speaking – because everyone is so very kind.
Bonus: You’ll take home a few fresh baguettes and the recipes to use at home. Fresh baguettes do not last long at all, so I recommend picking up some wine and cheese on the way back to your hotel to enjoy later that same day.
Book a baking class in Paris
Take a Class at the Ritz Escoffier
Taking a class at the Ritz Paris Escoffier has been a must-do in Paris item for me ever since we had the Buche du Noel at the Ritz Paris at Christmas in 2019. Ever since then, I try to include a trip to the Ritz Paris (and now also the Ritz Comptoir) to try more of the incredible pastries.
I’ve taken a full-day French pastry basics class at the Ritz and it was the most incredible thing I’ve ever done. With a Ritz Pastry chef and the assistance of an interpreter, I learned to make a pear and almond torte, choux pastry filled with homemade caramel and Chantilly cream, and a Black Forest cake. It was INCREDIBLE.
The Ritz pastries are works of art, and I expected this class to be intense. The recipes are in-depth and creative, but they aren’t TOO technical. Thankfully, the staff does an incredible job of making pastry-making approachable and “easy.” Many of the recipes can be prepped in advance, so you don’t have to plan for an entire day of pastry-making at home, but it was a lot to manage in a single class! Honestly, I learned so many great tips from Antoine that I’m excited to use in my other baking.
One of the best things about the Ritz Escoffier is they offer a myriad of sweet and savory classes so you don’t have to just do pastries or chocolate. I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to do a 3-day or 5-day pastry workshop next. I learned so much in a single day that it’s impossible to imagine how much I could learn with a multi-day course!