April has made me nostalgic for Paris. I'm dreaming of walking along the Seine, the parks and flowers in bloom, sitting at outdoor cafes, the food markets, the chocolatiers, croissants, baguettes, and pastries - I’m particularly partial to Paris pastries.
One can certainly spend a lot of time eating your way through Paris. For those interested in learning more, or even learning how to recreate those French delicacies, there are many classes and tours available for the food lover visiting Paris. You can get your hands dirty and create a classic French dish, learn the secrets to creating perfectly footed macarons, baguettes, or even croissants. And, if you'd prefer to stay clean and full, you can just eat your way through a guided walking (and eating) tour. There's something for every taste and every budget.
Here are some classes and tours available for the traveling foodie in Paris:
Ecole LeNotre - Macaron making classes, a wide selection of both savory and pastry classes and classes for teens 12 to 17 years old.
Le Cordon Bleu - My alma mater has both savory and pastry courses that vary in length from 2 1/2 hours to 4 days. They also have classes where parents can bring children, a special class brought about by the movie, Julie and Julia, which is dedicated to Julia Child, and they will customize classes for private groups.
Ecole de Cuisine of Alain Ducasse - Sweet, savory, and wine classes are offered at the cooking school of the world-famous chef Alain Ducasse.
Ecole Escoffier at the Ritz Carlton in Paris - The swanky hotel offers courses that last 1 hour to advanced courses that last 6 weeks. They also have courses for children, teenagers, and group and tailor-made courses.
Meeting the French - Gourmet, pastry and chocolate walks, dinners in Parisian homes, and in-home cooking classes are all available.
Context Tours Paris - Along with several themed walking tours, they offer a wide variety of culinary walking tours from chocolate-themed to a "Trends in Parisian Gastronomy" tour.
Paris Walks - This is the most budget-friendly of all the tours. They offer a chocolate tour or a taste of Paris tour for only 25 euros.
O Chateau - A variety of wine tasting classes, wine and food pairings and tastings, and day trips to Champagne are available.
David Lebovitz - The renowned food blogger, cookbook author, and former Chez Panisse pastry chef offers behind-the-scenes gourmet tours and chocolate tours. The tours sell out quickly, so book well in advance.
Patricia Wells - The prolific cookbook author offers week-long courses that combine market tours with hands-on cooking in Paris, and also in Provence. Tours for 2010 are sold out, but she still has openings for 2011.
Have you taken a cooking class while traveling? What was it? What type of cooking class/culinary walk would you like to take and where?