An INSIDER'S tour of the city & food that dreams are made of
Say “Paris” to a food lover and we immediately conjure visions of flavorful pâtés and terrines spilling out of the charcuteries, bountiful cases of unpasteurized cheeses you can’t legally bring into America, buttery croissants and crusty baguettes stacked in the baskets of artisanal boulangeries, old world cafés with outdoor seating and the immense pleasure of drinking Pastis on a summer’s eve while people-watching. Paris has long been a city bursting with reasons to fall in love with food. For centuries, those who appreciate food and wine have been drawn here. The first restaurant was founded here; café culture was birthed here, and even today, Paris’ markets are unrivaled. Whether eating ripe figs on the banks of the Seine, sipping a kir on the Boulevard St. Germain, or lingering over a dozen oysters on the half shell, Paris will capture the heart of any food lover.
Together with our special host Maisie Wilhelm from Palatine Culinary Concierge, an expert in Paris’ food scene, we’ll taste through the gastronomic history of Paris. Our tour will highlight the traditional methods juxtaposed with the current trends of Parisian food and wine. We’ll end with a few days luxuriating in the world-famous Champagne region, sampling its unparalleled wines.
Come along for our food-focused tour of Paris and Champagne. See these classic destinations through the expert culinary lens (and palate) of Zingerman’s Food Tours in partnership with Palatine as we explore the history and roots of French & Parisian cuisine, following the arc from old to new.
paris & Champagne 2019
Location - Paris & Champagne
Dates - October 18 - 26th, 2019
Travelers - 12 people
Price - $8250 Per Person
This trip is designed for experienced travelers with a passion for great food and wine, who are curious to learn more, through firsthand tastings and experiences, about the rich culinary culture and history of Paris and Champagne. We encourage open minds, adventurous spirits, and a deep passion for traditional foods and wines, and their modern-day evolutions.
Our guests are adults of all ages who enjoy walking and exploring places on their own as well as with the group. We keep the group small. Maximum 12 guests will travel with an experienced leader from Zingerman’s and our host.
Amazing food – all breakfasts, most lunches, and several dinners. We will enjoy traditional regional specialties made with local, fresh ingredients.
Behind-the-scenes visits with artisanal producers, local farmers, hands-on baking and cooking experiences.
A luxurious weekend in Champagne to learn the deep-rooted traditions of—and modern approaches to—the classic French wine.
A Zingerman’s tour host and our guides will be at your disposal at all times.
Transportation by air-conditioned private bus during the tour.
Hotel accommodations for 8 nights.
What’s not included?
Alcoholic beverages that are not specifically included in the itinerary.
A couple lunches and a few dinners, where you will get to explore on your own (suggestions provided!).
Personal spending money.
What about accommodations?
You will be staying in a clean, conveniently located and uniquely Parisian hotel with private bathrooms. There is a lovely hotel bar and restaurant with great outdoor seating should you find yourself a free moment to relax. The hotels of Paris are full of charm and amazing service but keep in mind that the bones of the buildings are centuries old, and the scale of the rooms is much smaller than in a typical American hotel, so space will be limited. Our hotel will have an elevator to allow easy luggage transfers to and from your room.
Bonjour! Welcome to Paris! Today we’ll check into the hotel. Upon arrival, you can relax, unpack or take a walk about the 10th arrondissement on the right bank, where we will be staying. In the late afternoon, we’ll meet in the lobby/restaurant of the hotel for an introduction and a small snack. We’ll also review the detailed itinerary for our Paris Old & New trip, and answer any questions you may have.
From there, we’ll venture out into our surrounding neighborhood for a walking tour. We’ll check out the local haunts and perhaps have another bite to eat along the way. After our walk, we'll make our way to our inaugural meal together at a classic Parisian bistro, kicking off our exploration of Paris’ culinary scene, highlighting the traditional and modern. We’ll take in the charm of old-world Paris with a meal that’s big on the classics.
After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, we’ll set out on our exploration of Parisian café culture. You may want to go easy on the caffeine this morning -- we’ll be having plenty of it in the near future.
We’ll have our first lesson of the trip—a traditional coffee “cupping” (dégustation) at one of the newer establishments to bring “third wave” coffee to Paris. We’ll talk about how actually roasting coffee beans in Paris is a highly unusual break from Parisian tradition; most cafés in Paris have bought coffee from one main distributor for many years, paying little attention to how it tastes. We’ll begin to explore the deviations between long-held traditions and modern-day Paris, which will set the stage for our entire program.
We’ll have lunch together with a master charcuterie chef. His family has worked in charcuterie since 1930. We’ll sit down with him to learn about terrines, pâtés, tourtes (meat pies), and more exquisite prepared foods essential to the French table.
Next up, we have prepared a special surprise for you with one of Paris’ best specialty pastry shops. We’ll discover both unique and traditional flavors—but just have a small sweet taste as we will be having an early dinner at an exciting restaurant bringing innovative dishes to Paris!
Today we’ll kick things off with a stroll through the Bastille market, with free time to amble through the fruit, vegetable, cheese, and meat stalls before heading to our first activity.
We’ll have a meeting at a new Bakery where we will focus on the new trends in Parisian bread baking, spending time with a team boldly forging their own way in bread. At their shop in the style of San Francisco’s Tartine Manufactory, we’ll take a trip through the history of baking in Paris along with a discussion about the new generations coming onto the baking scene, and the struggles and celebrations that go along with such a mission in a deeply traditional country and profession. After a light lunch together here, you’ll have free time in the afternoon.
We will meet at hotel and make our way to our dinnertime event -- a formal cheese lesson with an urban French cheesemonger. The owner-operator is doing something very special in this unassuming little cheese and wine shop! He was once a winemaker and found his calling many years back, switching to cheese. While here, we’ll tour a 17th century cellar, have a tasting of cheese, visit the cave d’affinage (aging cellar), and enjoy a cheese-focused dinner with a wine pairing.
Breakfast will be at the hotel this morning - then it’s time to don our baking toques!
Bread is integral to French culture, and the most iconic bread is the baguette; and we couldn’t bring you all the way to Paris and not teach you how to shape a baguette! We’ll spend the morning at one of the biggest and most renowned bakeries in Paris. While they aren’t focused on small batch production here, we’ll get a peak into an essential part of the Parisian bread landscape to see where most Parisians get their bread.
We’ll take a stroll through the Marais and talk about why this area is so important to the city’s history. We’ll explore some of the exciting ethnic foods of this district and touch a little on the local culture in this historically Jewish neighborhood. For lunch, we’ll be feasting on our feet as we taste delicacies unique to the area in one of the local shops.
After a brief rest at the hotel, we’ll have a very special meal cooked for us in one of Paris’ most beloved new lunchtime restaurants (opened just for us after hours), for a taste of modern French cooking by a husband-wife team of chefs, pulling on French technique with an international twist.
This will be somewhat of an early night...tomorrow we have an early wake-up call (3:30 am departure!).
Today we’ll wake up before the roosters! Departing at 3:30 am from the hotel, we’ll enjoy a special behind-the-scenes tour of the world’s largest wholesale food market, just outside of the city. This market moved from the legendary Les Halles in Paris’ city center in 1969 after outgrowing the space, and still, today helps to maintain the traditions of French food, spreading it around France and internationally. With a special guest expert guide, we’ll explore many of the abundant pavilions during this tour, including the fish market, the “triperie” (traditional butchery), the vegetable and dairy building, and finally, the fresh flower pavilion. This is a truly unique experience and not open to the public. After our morning tour, we’ll savor a “Rungissian” breakfast —we will share a meal at a café amid all the workers eating after their shift: tartine (baguette slathered with butter), light charcuterie… and wine! (It may be only 8am, but we’ll have been up since 3 am!)
You’ll have the rest of the day to explore Paris on your own. Perhaps you’ll want to take a nap after such an early morning or visit the Louvre or the recently opened Fondation Louis Vuitton, or visit one of the city’s newer food halls for souvenirs. Paris will be ready to welcome you however you choose, and we can advise depending on your inclinations.
*Tonight you’ll pack your bags as we leave tomorrow morning for Champagne!
We’ll start the day in Paris and make our way in a private bus to our hotel for the next few nights. This hotel has been opened in an old Maison now owned by a winemaker who is getting a lot of attention at the moment. The hotel is on the property next to the wine caves. There is a small spa on site which you will have some time to luxuriate in if you like!
There are fewer wine regions as famous and well-known as Champagne. We’ll take the next few days to dive into a rich history of this region, its grapes, and its people. We’ll explore the history of Champagne itself, dating as far back as the 1700s, and learn what makes the terroir from estate to estate so distinctive. During our stay, we’ll visit several producers of various sizes to learn about their methods and how land management can change from generation to generation. You’ll learn the difference between Blanc de Blancs / Blanc de Noirs, Cru, Cuvée, Vintage and Non-Vintage, able to talk to your local wine shopkeeper with confidence.
We will explore the city at the heart of the champagne region - the city of Reims - where we will visit the city’s food market before lunch in tandem with a lesson in Champagne from our special guest/wine expert, who will join us for the rest of our trip.
After lunch, we’ll venture out to our first Champagne tasting with a small producer who is doing big things. We’ll learn about their process, philosophy and land management, all while sampling the goods, bien sûr.
We’ll close out the day with dinner... and more champagne! All in the name of studying, of course.
After some time in the morning to relax (and perhaps enjoy that spa!) we will have a later start today, followed by a light lunch and a couple visits to Champagne houses to sample a variety of wines from different producers.
By now, we’ve tried a few of the finest selections they have to offer, we’ll hop back onto the bus to our final tasting at our own hotel. The crew there will take us deep into the cellars to learn how their method and land management compares to the other producers we’ve met. By now, you’ll be able to understand and recognize the artistry and craft that goes into the long tradition of Champagne production and recognize the grape varietals used.
After our personal tasting, we’ll enjoy a beautiful meal at our hotel kitchen, prepared by chef Stéphane Rossillon. This is a meal and environment you’ll not soon forget as you slip into bed that night dreaming of our days in Champagne luxury.
This morning, we’ll enjoy a nice breakfast at our hotel and head back to Reims to meet a local guide for a brief walk around the city center and a fascinating visit to the famous Cathédrale Notre Dame, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Following lunch in Reims at a local institution, we will have some free time to stroll around town before a farewell dinner in Champagne to close out the trip with a bang!
*Tonight you’ll pack as we head back to Paris in the morning!
Departing in the morning, we’ll pack our bags into the bus and take our final drive back to the city for an arrival in the afternoon. We’ll end our trip and say our goodbyes in Paris City Central. From there, you’re welcome to continue your own adventure or return home.
**One thing to note: this itinerary is the current plan, and things may change. We will make every effort to provide the tours and experiences that are described. However, the nature of the places we’ll be visiting — not typical tourist destinations — means that plans may change at the last minute. Also, you always have the option of skipping a particular excursion, but please note that we will be unable to make refunds for any missed meals or other events.