By Mardi Michels
Food tours when I travel. I’m a huge fan! You might remember, from Paris alone, this tour by Flavors of Paris on the Left Bank, the Context Paris Chocolate Walk, the Context “Bobo Palate: New Trends in Parisian Cuisine“, the La Cuisine Paris “Sugar Walk” of the Marais, the “Bellies on Foot” tour, again from La Cuisine Paris), or the Urban Adventures “Secret Paris” tour.
When I was planning this summer’s trip to Paris, I was excited to see a couple of newcomers (to me) to the Paris walking tour scene – local companies like Localers. I am not sure how I came across their site but the amount and variety of tours they offer in France certainly had me lost in the site for the better part of an hour. I was honoured when Romain and Thomas from Localers invited me to join one of their Paris tours this summer and suggested they choose something in line with my interests (err… food!) which is how I found myself on the Eiffel Tower food tour last week.
Pitched as a gastro-historical tour of a carefully selected group of merchants and artisans with a passionate young French chef as our guide, the tour promised a behind-the-scenes tastings at artisanal food merchants, including foie gras, wine, macarons, patisseries and a private wine & cheese workshop at a “fromagerie” when the shop is closed, it sounded right up my alley!
Our guide was Maël, a chef who was raised in Brittany but who now lives and works in Paris. With experience everywhere from Michelin star restaurants to the set of a French television show where he worked as a culinary assistant, Mael also has a degree in history and sociology from the University of Rennes and loves to share his knowledge of the history of Paris and French gastronomy with foreign travelers. On my tour, he did a great job of “reading” the group and tailoring the information he was sharing to our various interests.
What I really liked about this tour was that, while there was definitely a food focus, it was not just about the food. Maël also shared information about history, architecture and art, so there’s definitely something for everyone to learn about!