Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class

Which Day Trips should You choose from Paris to a Wine Region 

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A sure way to break up the museum monotony is to take a day trip to the wine regions. You may be able to coordinate this with the same provider of your food tour itinerary will be a lot of fun.

If you choose to travel with an organized professional tour, they are usually all-inclusive. You will not have to worry about making travel arrangements, choosing locations, purchasing a tasting, or busting the language barrier during your visit. They can last 1 - 3 days. Prices will vary, so be sure to check a review website to find a good guide providing a superb experience. Your day trip should include chats with the vintner and meals with expert pairing. Here are some locations that you will want to visit.

wine region day trips from Paris

Loire Valley

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Also known as the Garden of France, the Loire Valley is a two-hour drive from Paris with easy access via high-speed rail, bus, and plane. With over 173,000 acres under vine, you’ll be under the influence of sparkling, white, rosé, red, and desserts. The main grape varieties include Chenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet franc, Melon de Bourgogne, Gamay, and Pinot noir. It’s always best to spend a few nights in any new place, Tours makes a great home base for your expeditions. In downtown Tours, just a short walk from the train station is the Office de Tourisme. Here you can inquire about private van tours to the surrounding chateaux.

In the Loire Valley, the charm of past centuries still attracts many visitors. As the most popular and largest city in this area, Tours is worth a stop. The renowned chateaux of Chenonceau and Chambord are located in the Loire Valley. Other villages to discover with ancient architecture are Amboise, Chinon and Loches. You will find authentic food plentiful on this journey back in time.

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Like the song Champagne Supernova, this is your chance to taste the wine of the kings. It is the land where Benedictine monk Dom Perignon pioneered a number of viticulture techniques in 1670. Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay are the primary grapes used in the production of this most legendary sparkling beverage. By automobile, supercharged Champagne is less than 2 hours of travel time from the City of Lights. At every corner of this bubbly region, clean sparkling beverage flows, like the Marne River that runs through its villages.

Home to the romance and lore of King Arthur and the Round Table, Troyes, Reims, and Épernay are cities that should be explored when considering which wine regions to visit. It goes without saying that no other sparkling wine can be Champagne, so you will not want to miss this opportunity to enjoy a celebration glass here.

Alsace Route

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Alsace has some of the most beautiful villages in France. The fairytale-like adorned doors and windows of shops and homes line the cobblestone streets. Located in the 10th arrondissement is the Paris East Train Station (Gare de Paris-est), one of the oldest and largest rail stations in Paris. Departing multiple times daily is the TGV: High Speed Rail Service, arriving at Strasbourg Station (Gare de Strasbourg) in just under 2 hours, traveling over 200 mph. A perfect starting point is downtown. You can walk or bicycle with your tour group through the magical quaint villages. Family vineyards are in great abundance. There are 6 white grape varieties: Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Muscat d’Alsace, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer. There is also a Pinot Noir red.

A wonderful walking town, Strasbourg, is filled with charming hotels, elegant restaurants, and friendly cafes. Bordering Germany lies the scenic Alsace Route, an area known for Sylvaner, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer. Popular villages to explore are Colmar, Obernai, Turckheim, Kaysersberg, and Eguisheim. Many winegrowers will be offering tastings along the way. Historically significant during World War I for its Battle of the Frontiers (1914), this area of Alsace-Lorraine was ceded and retroceded four times with Germany between 1871 - 1945.

Not to be missed, and just a 45-minute drive from the Strasbourg Airport, are the storybook villages of Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr. Ribeauvillé is one of the oldest medieval towns in Alsace. Riquewihr, which has a population of less than 1300 is a member of the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in France. This very spot is where the animators of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast found inspiration for the fairytale “little town” that Belle called home.


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Although a bit far, seven hours by car, or a scenic three hour TGV (high-speed rail) journey, a trip to Bordeaux will put you on the right track. This is the largest viticulture area in France, well known for its Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet franc and Malbec. Cognac, with a population just under 20,000, is ground zero for its brandy distilleries that produce 50 million bottles of the finest brandy on the planet. With its paved cobblestone streets, limestone houses, and breathtaking medieval castles to feast your eyes upon, Cognac and its neighbor a few miles away, Jarnac, is an interesting area of Bordeaux to discover. Bordeaux wines are created from a blend of grape varieties.

Traveling back in time, you will be immersed in classic cuisine and an elegant landscape in Saint-Emilion. Dating back to the 8th century, an hour from Bordeaux is this picturesque medieval village that is renowned for its macarons and fine wine. Soak up the classic French lifestyle, cafes and bars, magnificent hotels, and outstanding restaurants. It was designated a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1999. Saint-Emilion is comprised of 14,000 acres of vineyards and hundreds of chateaux. Dotted with internationally famous wineries, and a cottage industry of rare, hard to find wines, produced from plump, full-bodied Merlot grapes that dominate this area.

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

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More About Our Baguettes Classes

Getting a bit technical during our Baguette Class in Paris

The French baguette, actually probably better known as the Parisian baguette has beome a true symbol of French popular gastronomy. A true icon of French life even - look around and you will see the Parisians strolling back home with their baguettes under their arm. But if you are French why would you learn how to do this? You can buy a baguette at any corner of Paris for about one Euro a piece.  But in our Baguette Class in Paris  you will learn how do this from scratch. It is somewhat technical, but also full of tips and tricks. But when you leave, it will have not secret left for you. From the original mix to the famous "scarification" through adding water to your oven through baking, you will see and do it all.

Learning more during your Baguette class in Paris: Croque Monsieur Bread and Brioche

This class is like all our other baking or cooking classes: totally hands-on. So you get to practice from beginning to end - and to taste at the end. But not only will you learn how to make Baguette, but you will also learn to make two more types of bread: the French Croque Monsieur bread. The basis for the classic French bistrot appetizer. And in your Baguette class in Paris you will also learn how to make your own Brioche. Probably the most indulgent bread you will find in France - if not the lightest ...

And you might learn some history during your Baguette Class in Paris

While you will learn the techniques to create - and get to taste - three classic types of French breads, you will also learn some of the stories on the origin of the baguette. Just beware it is still being quite hotly debated. What is for sure though is that the Baguette is absolutely part of today Parisian's life. A classic you will be able to take back home with you.

More About Our Wine and Cheese Lunch in Paris

Cheese and Wine in Paris

The pleasures we can derive from French cuisine can seem endless.  However two of the best known and loved French gastronomic heroes are French cheese and wine. Whether we talk about a Brie which actually comes from very close to Paris, to a creamy Camembert from Normandy, or a Comté from the Alps, French cheese has a delight for all palates. And of course, French wines are even better known whether from Bordeaux great wines or Burgundy sophisticated whites – all of which enthral wine lovers.  Well, at our course on cheese and wine in Paris you will come to appreciate that although each is delicious on its own, properly matched cheese and wine together can make the experience of each even more enjoyable and an absolute delight.

How to pair French cheese and wine

Because not all pairings are actually what people expect, at Le Foodist we have decided to call these experiences 'Daring Pairings'. Maybe because we like to step out of the ordinary to challenge our taste buds, but really all we try to do is give you the perfect match fo cheese and wine in Paris.  So not only will you learn how to select the best wine to go with your cheese, but you will also learn what are the big cheese families in France – there are actually only five, and this is one of the keys to great pairing. In discovering all these pairings of cheese with wine you will be convinced that indeed two things together can be better than the sum of their parts.

It is important to have fun with pairing cheese and wine in Paris

Beyond the tastings though, we have found that the best way to help our clients remember and re-use their experience is to vary the way to approach both wine and cheese.  That is why during our courses on cheese and wine in Paris we share sensory games and many an anecdote to bring the produce to life in your mind as well as on your palate. Overall we will feature four excellent wines, one Champagne and demonstrate to you how best each combines with cheese, letting your taste guide you along with our teaching.

Understanding cheese and wine pairing while in Paris

While for many top Parisian wine stores and restaurant wine lists can be confusing and even intimidating, we believe that after our lunch learning how to pair cheese and wine in Paris, you will feel much more comfortable navigating all of those.  And we sincerely hope your knowledge will help you unlock a door to a whole new world of enjoyment of French wine and cheese pairing.  At every step of the way our sommelier will also share unique tips and tricks to understand wines better and how culture and wine are so related in France; hopefully enriching your own experience as well.

And they do not have to do with what you will find in those markets. They have to do with when you can go shopping there. Open Air markets are only open in the morning. Typically from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. And they are not open every day. As a matter of fact for the vast majority they are open either open every other day (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), or sometimes only twice a week. 

This is the case of the Bastille Market (Metro Bastille and Metro Bréguet Sabin )which is open only on Thursday and Sunday morning. We like to send people there because it is a very big market with over one hundred vendors. And it has a nice stand of Crêperie in the middle. Here you get a video of a lady preparing a crêpe there; and you can get that crêpe for only 3 Euros!
There is only one Open Air market open every day of the week, it is called Marché Aligre (Metro Ledru Rollin or Metro Faidherbe Chaligny) which happens on the eponymous street. It is an interesting market because you find all kinds of quality in that market – the good, the bad and the ugly. There is also a nice covered market in the middle of it called Marché Beauveau – sometimes called Marché Beauveau Aligre. On the contrary, Covered Markets are open every day, and not just in the morning, but also in the late afternoon. Typically from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

We are blessed with two markets close to where Le Foodist is located, so we can walk to a market every morning – sometimes it is the Maubert market, and sometimes it is the Monge market. Both nice with their own specififies. Last but not least, none of these markets is open on Monday. Do not sign-up for a Market Tour on Monday, you might never see that money again …

Choosing Ingredients in Paris

While all markets are different, they also have some things in common. First they work on specific schedules as explained before. But also you will find always at a minimum the following vendors: a Maraîcher – this is the name we give to people selling fruits and vegetables, a butcher, a fishmonger, a cheesemonger and a baker. Normally you will find several of each, with different levels of quality, organic or non-organic, local or not local (but mostly not local unfortunately).
And we explain how to recognize each of those of course during our Market Visits and Cooking Classes in Paris. But choosing ingredients can be daunting at first, because of the variety that is on display. A typical fishmonger will carry 20 different types of fishes, and as many shrimp and shelf fish varieties. A good cheese monger will easily carry up to 100 different types of cheese and obviously you could get over 100 different cuts of meat at a butcher (from the type of meat to the cut itself). And a normal Maraicher will carry between 50 and 100 fruits and vegetables as well.
This is what makes these markets so exciting – the variety of products, the beauty of their display, and the exchange you can have with most of the vendors. We give you tips though on how to make sure that exchange with the vendors go well – a few magic words, and everything will be fine!

Cooking in Paris

Obviously going to markets is nice, but actually knowing that you are going to cook what you find there is even more exciting. It is not uncommon for Parisians to buy a little bit too much food because they get so excited at the idea of cooking it all! But as most of us have hardly any space where we live, that can limit the enthusiasm sometimes. Because of the lack of space, Cooking in Paris can be quite different from cooking in the rest of France. And there are also dishes that are typically associated with regions which the Parisian will not cook at home – but taste when they visit friends or families in the various regions of France. However our kitchen has plenty of space, so we can cook traditional French dishes without a problem – whether they come from Paris or any region. And the most important part for us is to ensure that we share techniques much more than just recipes. As a matter of fact, we love to share a bit of the science behind what we do so people can better remember the “what” by understanding the “why”.

Sharing Stories

In November 2010, some experts from the UN cultural organisation, decided tha France’s multi-course gastronomic meal, with its rites and its presentation, fulfilled the conditions for featuring on the “world intangible list” of the UNESCO.
In this list you can find all kinds of cultural practices, including Mexico Day of the Dead festival for example. Importantly this is not suggesting French cuisine is better than other cuisines (even though we the French tend to believe that …). It is only saying that the gastronomic meal and what it entails is a very vivid cultural practice which people in France partake into on a very regular basis. That is why the same experts indicated that the French gastronomic meal is a “social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups”. And in that social custom, there are many parts: the attention we pay to the way we choose ingredients, how we pair wine with food, how many dishes we will present to our guests, how we lay the table, etc… But one big part of the cultural practice is that commensality (the fact of sharing the food) is always accompanied by sharing stories about …. Well, you would have guessed it, Food of course!
To us it is THE perfect example of how Food and Culture come together – actually we decide to share food is a considered a cultural practice. I would argue that it is true of all countries, regions, etc… As the way we relate to Food is such a big part of anybody’s identity. But as a result and to make sure you have the most genuine experience of French culture, after the a coking class in Paris at Le Foodist, you will share a gastronomic meal at a common table with your Chef and fellow participants to the class.

French Wine and Food Pairing

As mentioned above, one of the big cultural practices in France is choosing how to pair Wine and Food in general and Wine and Cheese in particular. We actually have a class which focuses specifically on this. As it is so important though, we always make sure we share white and red wines during our meals, chosen to pair well in our opinion with the food we cook. And being at the table together is a good opportunity to discuss about wine as well, with concepts such as “terroir” (to simplify, terroir means “what you do depends on where you are”) which are essential to grasp the way the French think about Food.
And all this will always go with a cheering “Santé” – which quite simply means, to your good health!

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