A culinary tour is a great way to get introduced to French culture. Food and wine is an integral part of French culture so much that frequenting restaurants and cafés has become part of the daily routine of French people. With so many restaurants in Paris, choosing one can be overwhelming. A culinary tour will help you get a local’s guide to restaurants in Paris and learn about French cuisine and culture. We had the chance to speak with John-Paul Fortney, the founder and guide of Culinary Tours of Paris.
Culinary Tours of Paris offers two culinary tours in Paris that combine great food and a walking tour of either the Montmartre or the Latin Quarter. They also offer an “aperitif” tour in the 18th and 9th districts of Paris and lastly a culinary tour in a nearby countryside.
John-Paul is an American expat from Missouri with a strong family connection to France. His passion for French cuisine and culture is clear as well as his desire to share this knowledge with others. John-Paul explained to us that the idea for his business came from dinner parties he and his wife would throw for a mixed group of Anglophone and Francophone friends. For each dinner party, they would select a region of France and cook a main course from this particular region for their guests.
Culinary Tours of Paris was developed from this passion for French culture and cuisine as well as John-Paul’s recognition that tourists were not eating well when visiting Paris. He identified two causes at the root of this problem: many identify Paris as the gastronomic capital of the world and thus believe every restaurant in Paris is great (which is not the case). And secondly, since many do not understand the menu, they are more inclined to select dished they know. John-Paul explained thus, “Our job is to make French cuisine more accessible by taking our clients to restaurants where locals eat and drink, explain what they are eating and why, and give them an idea of how diverse this one little country can be!”
The tours focus on simple authentic French cuisine that emphasizes high quality products: “We feel that French cuisine is best exemplified by having high quality ingredients and giving them the respect that they deserve! We look for restaurants that prepare the kind of food that one could find at home in France, whether it is charcuterie and cheese from Auvergne, crêpes and cider from Brittany, or pintxos from the Basque country. A lot of the dishes that we serve on tour are those that consist of relatively simple preparations, featuring the best ingredients accessible and made by someone who took their time to make the best product possible. In regards to wine, we feature predominantly organic, biodynamic, and natural wines, which we feel give the best expression of the terroir and embody the principles regarding food and wine which we try to respect on our tours.”
The tours in Paris showcase the Montmartre and Latin Quarter area. John-Paul chose these areas because they are both rich in French history which make for a great walking tour yet remain a locals neighborhood that allows for an authentic cultural experience for tourists. John Paul told us, “There are some restaurants where you see the same people almost daily and truly represent the pulse of the neighborhood”.
Reserve a culinary tour with Culinary Tours of Paris at http://www.culinarytoursofparis.com/ to have an authentic French cultural experience during your trip to Paris.
And to continue your local experience while in Paris, John-Paul recommends getting cheese, charcuterie, and wine from one of the many markets in Paris and having a picnic in one of Paris’ many parks or along the seine.