Paris Travel Guide

8 Ways to Cook (and Eat) Like a Seasoned Parisian Chef

PHOTO: SALON DU CHOCOLAT 2017

Croissants, macaroons, and baguettes—learn to make these iconic French favorites (and more) with these gourmet Paris experiences.

A true Paris experience is synonymous with a lot of decadent things, but nothing more so than French cooking. We could tell you where to eat such delicacies, but wouldn’t it be better to learn how to make those delicious treats? Here are 8 classes you can take in Paris that will teach you to cook like a true pâtissier or chef de cuisine. Don’t have time to figure out what class is right for you? Enlist Paris Perfect, an American-owned, Paris-based concierge service that can take care of booking classes, as well as pre-buying your museum tickets or finding you the perfect Paris apartment to rent.

You Say Breakfast, I Say Croissant

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The flaky, buttery quintessential pastry known as the croissant is breakfast in France. And while walking to the neighborhood shop to grab a couple (dozen) is ideal, learning how to make them at home will let your Parisian vacation last a little longer. This three-hour class teaches you to make the classic croissant—rolling, forming, finishing, and baking—as well as pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants) and pain aux raisins (a spiral pastry filled with custard and raisins). Bonus: each participant gets to take home a complete booklet of instructions to help you at home.

The Magnificent Macaron

Anyone can say they’ve eaten the best macaron in Paris, but how many people can say they’ve made the best macaron in Paris? This two-and-a-half-hour class is perfect for chefs of all skill levels and can accommodate up to eight people. The step-by-step instruction makes sure that you’ll master (or get as close as possible) this delicate pastel treat so you can wow your friends at home.

Perfect Pastries

Ever dreamed of being a fancy Parisian pastry chef? Your dreams can come true at this 2.5-hour class. Held in an intimate atelier-style kitchen in the 17th arrondissement, an expert pastry chef (or pâtissier) helps guide you to create goodies like crème brûlée and chouquettes (airy pastry puffs topped with sugar)—the items vary and depend on the season, because this is Paris and only the freshest ingredients stand a chance.

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INSIDER TIPWine is included for the parents in the Paris Perfect class.

Kids Can Cook too

Designed for children ages 6–12, this class helps kids learn how to prepare classic Parisian dishes like the croque monsieur, cordon bleu, or molten lava cake all by themselves from scratch. Yup, parents aren’t allowed to help at all, though an adult must stay onsite for the duration of the two-hour class.

Family-Friendly French Food

Traveling is about creating memories, and what better way to create those memories than taking a cooking class together. Families (max 10 people) can sign up for this four-hour class to create a three-course meal together; kids must be 6-12 years old. This introduction to French cuisine teaches young and old simple techniques and terms to create a menu that includes fresh and seasonal ingredients. Fish and meat dishes are included, but vegetarian options are available. Note: wine is included for the parents.

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French Bread Brings the Pain

Visiting the local boulangerie is part of daily life in France, and there are great options in almost city, town, and Parisian arrondissement. But, if you want to bring some of that great bread home with you, the best option is to learn how to make your own. This three-hour class teaches participants how to make three types of French pain (that’s the French word for bread so best you learn it now): the fougasse (similar to Italian focaccia with local ingredients like olives, sundried tomatoes, or herbs), the classic baguette, and the airy brioche. The best part of this class is that you’ll use ingredients and tools that you’ll be able to find at home.

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Shopping and Cooking Through Paris

Feel like a true Parisian when you shop the local markets for the freshest ingredients with Cordon Bleu-trained chef Charlotte Puckette. Pluckette, author of The Ethnic Paris Cookbook, brings guests on a shopping spree that results in a cooking class in her amazing kitchen in the 7th arrondissement. Classes (lunch or dinner options available) focus on multi-course meals that can easily be created at home (recipes included) and the final product is a meal you get to eat together, paired of course, with a few bottles of wine.

The Sweet Side of Paris

Making treats is fun, but so is tasting them. This two-hour walking tour takes guests through the Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood, part of Paris’s 6th arrondissement, in search of French specialties like the kouignette—a tiny, buttery, caramelized sugar treat that fits in the palm of your hand; gaufres—the longer, thinner French cousin of the American (or Belgian) waffle with a filling like vanilla; and Tarte Tropezienne—cream filled tartes rumored to have been inspired by Brigitte Bardot.