A wonderful way to get a look into life in France is by visiting local food markets. French Side Travel has a fabulous network of expert guides and professional chefs to show you the best of the each market along with regional and seasonal specialties. Read on to discover part one of the ultimate foodie experiences in France.
The Ultimate Foodie Experiences in France: Part One
Aix-en-Provence: Private Market Tour and Cooking Class
Immerse yourself into the Provençal way of life and spend a half a day shopping, cooking, and eating like a real Aixois. Aix-en-Provence has a rich history filled with numerous traditional foods. You’ll start your day learning more about this history. Then, you’ll head to the market held in a 700-year-old square where you’ll meet local producers and sample their varied specialties.
Learn how to choose the best produce before heading to a cooking school in the old town. With the assistance of the head chef, you’ll transform fresh, seasonal ingredients into a tasty three-course meal. You’ll learn about traditional Provençal recipes and infuse them with a modern flair. Simplicity, flavor, and fresh ingredients are the keys to family-style cooking in France. After the cooking is done, you’ll gather around the table with local wines to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Avignon: Private Market Tour, Cooking Class, and Wine Tour
Start the morning by meeting your local chef in front of Marché Les Halles, a covered market filled with fresh and colorful foods. It’s a favorite place to shop for both locals and chefs alike. Together, you’ll choose the best products to use during your cooking lesson with a focus on local and seasonal foods. Since you and the chef will design the meal together, you’ll also create recipe cards during the cooking lesson.
When the cooking is finished, enjoy an apéritif. You’ll learn interesting tricks and tidbits on food and wine pairings. You’ll sit down and enjoy lunch with the chef where you’ll have interesting and informal discussions about your experience and culture in France. After lunch, you’ll depart for an afternoon wine tour. In each cellar you visit you’ll discover the history of the estate. The owners will welcome you personally and lead you on a visit of the winery with explanations about the harvest.
Where to Stay in Bordeaux
The beautiful 5-star hotel was formerly a private 19th-century mansion. The decor expertly blends late 19th-century sophistication think moldings, ceiling rosettes, and ceiling heights – with modern flourishes. Located in the heart of historic Bordeaux, by the Place Gambetta and Cours de l’Intendance, the hotel is a perfect base from which to explore.
Each room has its own identity with customized decoration. However, two constant characteristics should be highlighted – an element of understatement to create a calming atmosphere and specially crafted furniture. Everything has been thought out down to the last detail.
The inner courtyard is a relaxing place to enjoy breakfast or an aperitif under a splendid magnolia. Hotel guests will have exclusive access to the restaurant. Discover a selection of top-quality seasonal products to delight your taste buds. Everything served is made in-house.
Bordeaux: Gourmet Walk and Cooking Class with a Professional Chef
The city of Bordeaux is best explored on foot, and our favorite tours always include food and wine. A professional chef will be your guide for this gourmet experience. You’ll start with a walk around Bordeaux where the chef will lead you to his favorite market. Discover an abundance of local specialties from Southwest France.
Take your pick among the fabulous foods to select your ingredients. You’ll then return to the cooking school for a class with lunch to follow. The chef will help you learn and master both simple and more complex French cooking techniques. Throughout the preparation of your starter, main course, and dessert you’ll get a fabulous overview of French cuisine. After enjoying an apéritif you’ll sit down to enjoy your meal, paired with local Bordeaux wines of course.
Burgundy: Gourmet Food and Wine Tour
Spend a full day discovering the various specialties of Burgundian cuisine and wines during the ultimate gourmet tour. You’ll taste it all including charcuterie, cheeses, macarons, chocolates, breads, pastries, and more. Depending on the season and on which day you visit, your expert guide will select a market to visit. It could be a local market in a village next to the vineyards, in Beaune, or the famous Halles de Dijon. In each place you’ll be sure to meet local producers and farmers.
Throughout the day, sample fabulous regional products including truffles, jambon persillé, gingerbread, cassis from Dijon, anise candies, chocolates, pastries, and, bien sûr, the famous Dijon mustard. The afternoon will be spent traveling through the legendary Côte de Nuits or Côte de Beaune vineyards. You’ll also see châteaux, former abbeys, Romanesque churches, and charming villages on the Grands Crus Road.
The best of the day will be saved for last. You’ll stop in a traditional cellar for a comparative Burgundy wine tasting including white and red wines and Premier Crus and Grand Crus. Your guide will show you how to pair the local products selected during the day with the wines.
Paris: Aligre Market and Montmartre Gourmet Walking Tour
You will have the opportunity to discover two of the most famous places for food in the City of Light. Your local expert guide will take you to the bustling and vibrant Aligre market, which has both indoor and outdoor components. You’ll experience an absolute explosion of colors and flavors. You’ll quickly see why it’s regarded as a foodie paradise. Take a moment to recharge with a coffee break à la française before continuing your visit to all the best food shops in the area, where you’ll of course enjoy tastings!
Your next stop will be Montmartre to discover more incredible food shops. You’ll visit the best boulangeries, pâtisseries, and specialty shops. Your guide will also point out historic and delicious restaurants, the famous Montmartre vineyards, and two mills. You’ll finish the tour at the base of Sacré Coeur, where you’ll be in a prime position to continue exploring Montmartre. Your guide will be happy to give you some more tips to make the most out of the rest of your day!
Where to Stay in Paris
This 5-star hotel was a former 16th century home in the heart of the Left Bank, built on the remains of a 13th century abbey. This delightful and discreetly luxurious boutique hotel has managed to preserve the intimacy of the private residence it once was.
Between its flowered courtyard and private garden, it is a haven of peace. It’s perfectly located in Saint-Germain next to many restaurants, boutiques and galleries.
On one or two levels, each of the 48 rooms and suites offers a unique atmosphere and is decorated with rich fabrics, some with original wooden beams, some with a more contemporary touch. Two rooms and two suites share a unique private garden.
Many options for families with various connecting options and single units for four people.
Each morning, the stunning vaulted breakfast room offers a rich buffet. To have a drink and unwind in front of the fireplace, try the lounge and its honor bar. Room service is available 24/7. Let the hotel pamper you in the Spa offering sauna, jacuzzi, treatments by Carita or keep in shape in the one of-its-kind vaulted fitness room.
We hope part one of the list of ultimate market experiences in France helps to inspire future travel. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!