I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I love being a tour guide. I get to meet people from all over the world, take them to incredible sites, and tell them fascinating stories of French history. Since I adore French history, it’s kind of the perfect job for me. That being said, France is famous for so much more than its history. In particular, French food and wine are renowned the world over, and visitors to France often want to experience this part of French culture as well.
While I would love to be the one to share it with you, I’ve long since decided that I’m not the right person to be teaching others about French cuisine. Mostly because I’m the person who once set fire to pasta while attempting to cook, so let’s just say that my culinary skills are less than desirable. Thankfully, there are many other incredibly talented people in Paris who lead food tours throughout the city. I’ve been on a few of them over the years, but last week I went on one that was easily my favourite.
Memories France is relatively new company, having been founded in 2017. Currently operating their third season, this company is run entirely by people living and working in France. Their tour philosophy is that your time on holiday is precious, and therefore they strive to ensure that your time with them yields only the best possible memories. Definitely a mantra I can get behind. I joined them for their Tour de France food and wine tour, and it truly was an unforgettable experience.
For one thing, I was completely blown away by how much I still have to learn about French cuisine. For example, did you know that the croissant actually originated in Austria? I do. Now. But the tour was so much more than just fun facts about food. Our wonderful guide Ferit (yes that is his name and yes he has a wonderful sense of humour about it) took us through the history of not just the neighbourhoods we walked through, but how the food we were sampling played into that history. We visited the oldest boulangerie in Paris, a chocolate shop that is over 250 years old, one of the top ranked bakeries in all of France, and one truly spectacular cheese shop. There was even an opportunity to sample the next step in the evolution of food, but I’ll save that as a surprise for you to discover.
However, what truly set this tour apart from all the other food tours I’ve taken in Paris was the lunch at the end. After gathering our supplies throughout the morning, Ferit led us to one of the trendiest wine bars in the Les Halles neighbourhood. So trendy in fact, that even on a Tuesday night this place is usually packed. However, in keeping with their mantra of providing truly unique experiences, Memories has arranged special early access for this tour. This means that instead of fighting for space, you get to enjoy your lunch and wine tasting in private before the bar opens to the general public. Believe me when I say it was a fantastic way to end the tour.
Perhaps someday I will learn how to cook without burning the house down and I will feel ready to lead food tours myself. But in all honesty, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Sorry Mom. So in the meantime, I will leave food tours to the experts like Ferit and Memories France. Their Tour de France food tour was an amazing way to discover the city, and it gave me a whole new appreciation for the love, care, and craftsmanship that goes into creating the food for which France is so famous.