A trip to Paris warrants that a few things be on your to-do list – a stroll around the Champs-Élysées, a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower, and a ride down the Seine on the Bateaux Mouches are popular must-dos. A food tour of sorts is equally important. Macarons and hot chocolate at one of the many patisseries that line the city’s streets, or indulging in delicious French cuisine – here are five ways on how you can make the most of your culinary journey through Paris.
Dine with local Parisians
Want to eat in a Parisian home? You can, thanks to several food enthusiasts who regularly host groups of individuals to sample authentic Parisian fare at their homes. The Parisian Kitchen, started by Benedicte Mesny is one such venture. Mesny’s convivial home setting is apt for a leisurely lunch. Start off with a trip to the local market to pick up some fresh produce, and then make your way over, as you learn to cook and enjoy French classics. You can sign up for a cooking or pastry class, with dishes such as the salmon tartar, a traditional vegetable tatin pie, chocolate soufflé, or, French macarons.
EatWith, earlier VizEat, is another offering, where you can book yourself a spot for a meal at a local Parisian’s home.
Indulge in bistronomy
Paris may be home to several Michelin-starred restaurants but you don’t need to break the bank to sample great food. The city’s bistro culture is popular for a reason – think, well-known chefs serving plates of refined, trendy food, using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. And at more affordable prices than Michelin restaurants.
Le Chateaubriand is popular with locals for its seafood and desserts, offering a tasting menu that’s seasonal and changes almost daily.
Jones, is another spot that’s gained recognition for its cool vibe and selection of small and large plates, while, Porte 12 and Chez Michel serve traditional French cuisine. The wine lists here are pretty good too.
Get your fix of vegetarian and vegan fare
You’d be surprised at just how much vegetarian fare Paris has to offer. 3-star Michelin chef Alain Passard‘s restaurant, Arpège, is known for its homage to organic, fresh produce. A highlight here is the all-vegetarian menu that’s said to be worth the indulgence.
You even have vegan cheese shops and artisan chocolatiers. Head to Jay & Joy at the 11th arrondissement, where you can sample a wide range of organic, dairy-free cheese, yogurt and cheesecakes.
You can’t really leave France without sampling some show-stopping desserts. At the VG Patisserie, you can delight in vegan croissants, brioche, pain au chocolat, and a selection of classic French patisserie, such as the Opera and St. Honoré.
Chocolate lovers can head to Ara Chocolat in the 9th arrondissement, for vegan, artisan chocolates. There’s a whole selection of pralines, spreads and chocolate bars to choose from.
Gourmet culinary tours with locals
Walking tours are some of the best ways to soak in the sights and sounds of a city, and see it from a local’s perspective. Whether you want to join a culinary storyteller as (s)he takes you on food tours and wine tastings through Paris’ neighbourhoods, or explore its cheese shops and local food markets, there are several themed itineraries to choose from, depending on your interest. Paris a Dream, offers several guided tours covering different Parisian districts – from secret gourmet spots, to visiting a boulangerie for fresh baked goods, right down to wine and champagne pairings.
For those looking for something a little indulgent, Original Food Tours offers a chocolate and patisserie tour with tastings and afternoon tea.
A picnic lunch at the Eiffel Tower
There’s nothing quite like this inspiring monument, and if you are willing to brave the crowds at the Eiffel Tower, you might as well make the most of it. Stop by the 58 Tour Eiffel on the first floor, where you can opt for a picnic lunch, packed together in a chic basket comprising seasonal menu specials. The views are a bonus.