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Eating Europe Paris

We booked the Eating Europe Paris food tour, and boy, was it different. For one thing, it's now billed as Chef PJ's Montmartre Food Tour, and for another... well, I'll start by saying the 3 hour tour lasted ... 5 1/2 hours! Yes, the tour started at 11:00 (actually about 10 minutes later), and we broke up laughing and hugging at 4:30.

We were met by Chef PJ, who gave us a brief history of Montmatre and its relations with the city of Paris. Then we were off to the shops.

The first stop was at a small bakery where we had coffee and pain au chocolat. That was the last thing we had to eat or drink for about three hours. Not your typical food tour! Instead, at each stop, PJ talked about what was sold, where the proprietor sourced his or her goods, what made these products special, and what we should look for when shopping.

We visited 2 bakeries, a butcher's shop, a wine shop, and a cheese shop. Oh, and a chocolate shop, but that came later. Each of these shops was privately owned, and at least two of them were owned and operated by women. PJ did purchase about 6 loaves of bead and an assortment of cheeses at the shops.

He also threw in a couple of famous Montmartre landmarks, and kept us laughing with his stories of growing up in the neighborhood.

Finally, when several of us were seriously considering jumping ship so we could get something to eat, he opened the door to his own restaurant, Le Petit Moulin des Mauvais Garcons. Our places were already set, with escargot plates and utensils waiting.

We still weren't fed yet, though. We were given a quick lesson in wine tasting. He poured each of us 2 whites, for us to compare, describe, and rate. Then came the escargot, 6 each, which were among the best either Stan or I had ever had, and plenty of bread to sop up the juices.

Then came two more wines, red this time, followed by plates of delicious Boeuf Bourgognion, his own recipe, with at least three secret ingredients, one of which he refused to tell us.

Then came the cheese course, with four delicious and typical cheeses. The bread and cheeses were those he had purchased on the tour.

He then gathered us all up again, for the last stop, the chocolate shop, where everyone selected two different kinds of goodies.

There were several other surprises as well, but we're sworn to secrecy. "If you post what I gave you, everyone will expect it," he said, although I suspect this was just a well-rehearsed line.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience, well worth the €99 cost. My only grump was having been told to "come hungry," then having to wait hours for something to eat. I had skipped the pain au chocolat because of a food allergy; had I known there would be nothing else coming, I would have asked PJ to substitute something I could eat.

But it was a delightful day, with a small group (6 people; 8 had signed up but there we 2 no-shows), good food, a lot of good wine, and even more good tips about buying food and wine.

Highly recommended.

Posted by
1602 posts

Jayne, thank you for your report. Sounds like a great and interesting day. Good food, good wine and good companions. Can’t be better than that.

I plan to take the Julia Child tour when I’m in Paris, also a London Eastside tour. This tour is on next year’s plan. I bought an Eating Europe gift certificate when they were on sale last year to save 25%.

How did they handle food allergies? I’m very allergic to chocolate. Usually I just avoid anything with chocolate and don’t say anything.

Enjoy the rest of your Europe time!

Posted by
1304 posts

I've done quite a few food tours, including ones with Eating Europe, and I would not have been happy with this one.
For one, I get cranky and head achy when hungry, and trying different things at different places for future reference is a big selling point.
I would have had to bail, but happy you enjoyed it.

Posted by
5006 posts

Woofie, I honestly don't remember what I told them; I'm not exactly allergic, (I use that as an imprecise shortcut) but my body does not metabolize sugar properly. I can get woozy, disoriented, with slurred speech and headaches. My husband says it's like I'm drunk and hungover at the same time. Not fun.

LIZinPA, yes, that was pretty much my problem, at least to start with. I do think I'll get in touch with Eating Europe and suggest they warn people. A true diabetic or hypoglycemic person could be in serious trouble.

Posted by
8767 posts

Jane, we took that tour last week and loved it! We didn’t arrive hungry, so maybe that was an advantage, but I definitely would recommend this as a food tour that offers more than just feeding you.

Posted by
143 posts

Thank you for sharing your experience - it does sound like a great tour though one we’d pass on. We enjoy ones where there are samples at the shops, some sit and snack here and there- and 3hrs being led around talked at about food while hungry would be just too much.

Posted by
8618 posts

Do they allow/make substitutions for the snails?

I know many consider them a treat, but I cannot get past the garden pest image.

Posted by
837 posts

Oh Jane,
This sounds so much better than the Secret Food Tour of the Marais we took this week. Wish I could have a do-over!

Posted by
5006 posts

Joe32F, there was a place on the sign-up page to mention food preferences. And PJ was so accommodating and eager to please, that I think he would have found a work-around. Most of the people in our group had never tried snails before, and he good-naturedly urged them to try.

Posted by
7696 posts

I would have been disappointed in the format, not eating through the tour. lSurprised at the reactions of the tour members to the escargot. I love them.

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you so much for the details, Jane! I had just signed up for this tour and was wondering how much to eat beforehand. I have hypoglycemia so I have to be careful. This is so helpful. Now I'll know to have a high protein snack before we start. ;)