Gourmet Food Walking Tours in Paris
Travelers from all across the world come to Paris to indulge in delicious, traditional French food. There are so many wonderful restaurants, shops, and markets all throughout the city, so first-time visitors can quickly become overwhelmed by options. Therefore, in order to get the most out of your culinary experience in France, you may want to embark on a food tour.
While some may balk at the prospect of being herded around Paris with a group of other tourists, spending a day on a food tour is actually a fantastic way to sample as much French cuisine as possible and find hidden gems. You can also choose specialized options that will show you the best chocolate, wine, or other goodies that Paname has to offer. Overall, embarking on a tour of Paris's gourmet food is one of the best ways to fully experience the City of Light.
Why Take a Tour?
Many travelers - especially those on a budget - may be hesitant to sign up for a tour due to factors such as cost and dislike of group travel. However, despite these minor drawbacks, a tour is by far the best way to taste all kinds of Parisian delicacies. Your local guide will be incredibly knowledgeable about food around the city, and they'll show you hidden gems that you may not notice on your own. Additionally, many tours are surprisingly cost-effective because the fee covers a number of items such as tasting samples or wines.
Guided tours are also great introductions to French culture, especially surrounding cuisine. Food is taken seriously in France, so you may be intimidated by ordering at a restaurant or shopping at a supermarket. However, if you decide to take a tour, you can ask your guide important questions while becoming more familiar with traditions surrounding French cuisine.
What to Expect
Each gourmet food tour will be different, but many will feature similar staples of Paris's culinary scene. You can also select specific tours that focus on a particular item or dish or on one of the features listed below.
Visiting a traditional open-air market is an essential experience for any foodie traveling to Paris, so many tours will feature some of the best that it has to offer. Many tour companies will connect with vendors, who will provide you with samples of their goods to taste. However, if you have your heart set on a particular market, know which days it's open and plan accordingly.
Boulangeries and Patisseries
Your tour will likely also stop at classic French bakeries and pastry shops, allowing you to sample classics like croissants, baguettes, and even macarons. If you fall in love with these shops, then you can take a focused tour or even a baking or pastry class.
Wine and Cheese Shops
Many tours also include a brief wine tasting as well as a stop in a cheese shop - or, if you're lucky, you'll get both at the same time. People travel from all over the world to indulge in France's wines and cheeses, so spending an entire day focused on these goods may be a worthwhile venture.
If you book a tour that includes a meal, you will likely stop at a traditional restaurant, but for the most part, your guides will likely point out some of Paris's best eateries along the way. You also may visit a caterer to sample a handful of traditional goodies.
Additionally, keep in mind that the contents of your tour will vary seasonally. Fewer open-air markets operate at full capacity during nasty weather, so a tour in December may focus less on markets and more on traditional Christmas dishes. You should, therefore, plan your trip and touring around what you want to see most.
Selecting the Right Tour
With so many tour operators in Paris, choosing the right one for you can be a difficult task. However, now that you know what a typical Paris food tour includes, you can more easily select one based on certain standards.
General or Specific?
First, you should decide whether you want to take a general tour of French cuisine or a more focused one. You can take a culinary tour of just about anything in Paris, but they'll primarily focus on:
- A specific type of cuisine (e.g. ethnic)
- A particular good or dish (e.g. croissants)
- A type of store or market (e.g. a bakery tour)
- An area or district of Paris (e.g. a tour of Saint-Germain).
If you're not sure what to choose, then you should probably participate in a general tour to find your niche. However, if you have your heart set on spending an afternoon tasting chocolate, then go for a focused tour.
What Does it Include?
Tours can be great ways to save money or major rip-offs depending on what they include. Many companies charge a flat fee that covers guide services and food samples, and some may even include a full meal and water along the way. However, be careful of tour companies that charge for guides and samples separately; you'll likely end up paying twice what you would normally pay.
Once you find a good tour company that offers the kinds of excursions that you're looking for, you can start evaluating different itineraries to find one that caters to your culinary whims. Is your heart set on visiting a market? Could you care less about patisseries? If so, then you can look at proposed itineraries and select a tour that suits your needs.
Finally, keep practicalities in mind when booking your tour. While it's an enjoyable experience, you don't want to blow all of your money the fanciest tour possible when you can opt for a walking tour of Paris's street eats. Additionally, if you have mobility concerns, you may want to steer clear of walking tours and speak to companies about finding the best options for you.
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