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DIY Food Tour - Paris


My friend and I will be spending 8 days in Paris this December. We both love food tours, but I'm getting the feeling that she needs to be more budget-conscious than we have been in the past. For that reason, I'd like to put together our own DIY food tour.

If you have any favorite shops (not full-on restaurants), please share. We're both very open, so anything goes - bakeries, chocolate, meat, cheese, coffee - anything you can think of.

Also, if you can recommend anything that would be particularly special during the holiday season, that would be great!

Location is not important, as we'll be all over the city.

Thank you.

Posted by
2168 posts

You can find excellent recommendations for all of these categories on David Lebovitz's blog.

Posted by
8293 posts

Fauchon, the ultra upmarket grocery at Place de la Madeleine. Bought some butter there once. The butter was a huge pale gold mound, maybe 18 inches high and the dairy guy took what looked like a cleaver and lopped off exactly 500g. Very impressive and the butter was divine.

Posted by
64 posts

Thanks, Norma. I remember Fauchon from my first trip to Paris (20 years ago). I look forward to visiting again - wonderful store.

Janet, this blog is great. I'm going through his recommendations now. Thanks.

Posted by
411 posts

We went to visit Jacques Genin’s boutique in the Marais on two different trips to Paris. There is a small tea room inside, and his chocolates and caramels are truly wonderful. We actually met him both times - once on the sidewalk (July), and the other day he was working up in his laboratory on the second floor (Feb.), It was fairly easy to get a table in the tea room in the winter months, and I would recommend taking a break and doing that. His pastries are made in house and it was a really nice experience. The newer location in the 6th or 7th did not have a tea room three years wasn’t as much of a treat to visit that location compared to the Marais one, in my opinion.

I second David Lebovitz as an excellent source of recommendations.

Pierre Herme on Rue Bonaparte is beautiful and delicious. It was amusing to me to see the tiny clear PH stickers stuck to a bench by the Saint Sulpice church...clearly many people bought a pastry and enjoyed it by the fountain!

The Nespresso Boutique on Rue Bonaparte was an eye opener for us! It was like a museum for coffee! If you use Nespresso at home, you should definitely check out the boutique. It’s less expensive there than it is to ship it to your house. They have a tasting room at the back and will make you anything you’d like to try. It was a surprisingly elegant and fun experience… Enough so that we sought out the Nespresso Boutiques in Lucerne and Barcelona in subsequent trips!

Have fun!

Posted by
2349 posts

You can certainly go to a street market or a market street and look and buy. I love to do that. However, I don't always know what I'm buying and a tour would help there. You can buy a few pieces of cheese and some pate only to discover that you hate it. Or you're intimidated by the language. Should you cook that sausage you just bought? A tour can give you context and information. I also have balked at the price of some of them and just done it on my own.

The only food tour I've done is the Paris Walks chocolate tour. It's worth the money. You get to eat a lot of chocolate.

I've probably spent as much money on my own in markets as I would on a tour. Considering that some items I didn't like, and sometimes I buy more figs than a person can reasonably eat, I probably have consumed 80% of purchases. It's a lot of damn fun.

We spent most of a Sunday at the Richard Lenoir market near Bastille. One of the best days of the whole trip.

Posted by
2047 posts

Take a look at Patricia Well’s book on Paris. It gives many great ideas for bakeries, markets, food stores etc. I studied it before my trip to Paris and put together my own food tour.

Posted by
796 posts

Great suggestions already. I love open air markets for food and scarves. Grenelle is one of my favourites, under the metro where it is above ground neat the Motte Piquet Grenelle metro. President Wilson market is also lovely, it starts near the Iena metro neat the big gold flame that now is a tribute to Princess Diana as she perished near there. Several times as I left the market I headed towards the Bir Hakim bridge along the same street as the market passing great high end places like the Shangri la hotel. Both these are close ish to the Seine where you can eat what you purchased.

Monge and Bastille are also great markets. Rue Mouffetard is a lovely market street, there is high end chocolayhere too. There are so many parks, big and small, to picnic.

Enjoy Paris.

Posted by
135 posts

I recommend the book "The New Paris: The People, Places & Ideas Fuelling a Movement" by Lindsay Tramuta. My only caveat is the font size they chose to use - it's teeny, tiny - maybe a 4? But it does mean there is a lot of fantastic information in the book and some lovely photographs. I have Patrica Wells book and I must say Lindsay's is much more my style - fresher, more modern and very inspiring. I also just took a book out of the library today: "The 500 Hidden Secrets of Paris" which has quite a few interesting ideas. The book lists 120 places to eat or buy good food and 45 places for a drink amongst the secrets. I haven't had a chance to peruse it in depth but it might fit the bill - although, the font is equally tiny. You might want to check the websites for the food tours as they often have lists of recommended places.

Posted by
784 posts

This might be of interest to you. It is a passport with coupons for tastings at more than 25 different artisan food shops in 4 o 5 areas of Paris. 6 tastings is 35€ and 12 are 45€. In addition to the tastings, you have opportunity to visit with the entrepreneurs. It is also a good way of seeing neighborhoods you may not otherwise get to.

Posted by
4684 posts

As well as Genin and Herme, two of my favourite Paris chocolate places are Jean-Charles Rochoux, at 16 rue Assas in the 6th, and Richart, with shops at 27 rue Bonaparte in the 6th and 258 Boulevard St Germain in the 7th (although the firm actually comes from Lyon).

Posted by
64 posts

Thank you all for the recommendations. I use an interactive map to help plan my trips, and was able to add pretty much everything to our tentative plans. I'll be sure to check out the books and continue perusing the sites, too.

Wonderful suggestions! Thanks again.

Posted by
113 posts

La Grande Épicerie in the basement of the Bon Marché (corner of Rue des Sèvres & Rue du Bac) is huge & has lots of individual departments where you can select cheeses or breads or meats (including a huge fridge with fois gras selections), a produce section with more tomato & mushroom options than I’ve ever seen, plus a million other things. Stop in the International aisle if you want to get a laugh (or cringe) at the American section. Worth the visit.

Just up Rue des Sèvres towards Blvd. Montparnasse is my favorite cheese shop: Quatrehommes! Try the Napoléon cheese (small Pyrenees producer) or the Coeur de Roquefort. OMG!

Love your idea of a DIY food experience. Paris is definitely the place to do it!

Posted by
64 posts

Gretchen - I use Sygic maps. It's not perfect, but I always find it a useful tool for planning my trips.

Lisa - I will definitely add La Grande Épicerie and Quatrehommes to our itinerary. Looks wonderful - thanks! I think the DIY tour will work well for us this time. I've done the guided ones all over the world, but there's just too much to eat and drink in Paris! I'd want to do about 10 of them! :)