Nothing is more French than fine wine and gourmet cuisine. Enjoy a bit of hands-on cooking classes to perfect your magret de canard or master the art of the soufflé, then enjoy a wine tasting to discover the perfect pairing.
There are many options for cooking classes, from full-day courses with a market tour to quick lunch lessons with the locals where everyone dines together afterwards on the results. I haven’t tested all of these personally unless stated, but they are all well regarded and highly rated.
Scroll down for the wine tasting, wine festivals, and wine fair information. Appreciation for wine is greatly enhanced when you know what you’re drinking and where it came from. Wine tasting classes range from fun and casual lessons in English for absolute beginners to more formal dégustations of the finest vintages by seasoned sommeliers.
La Cuisine Paris
80 Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville, 4th
Tel 01 40 51 78 18
La Cuisine Paris is a hands-on cooking and baking school in the heart of Paris founded by a Franco-American team Jane and Olivier. I’ve taken many of the classes here myself over the years, from French pastries to classical bistro dishes and even cocktail-making! They have a fully-packed schedule but the baking classes tend to fill up fast so book in advance. Classes are available in both French or English (most ranging from €75 per person to €165). They also offer three-day master classes and French market visits (followed by a cooking class and lunch). All materials are provided and wine is included with the meal. Just minutes away from Notre Dame, the Marais and the famous Hôtel de Ville, La Cuisine is in a spacious, three-floor facility including a top floor kitchen with views of the Seine. If you are looking for something special for your group, ask about creating a private event!
59 rue Cardinal Lemoine, 5th
Tel 06 71 70 95 22
Fred, Amanda and Stéphane chose for their theme “Discovering Culture through Food”, so in addition to their market-to-table cooking classes, pastry making courses, and wine-cheese pairings, you also learn about the history of French cuisine, many fascinating fun facts and anecdotes you can pull out next time you’re at a dinner party…even in France! Learn how to cook regional classics or pastries like macarons, check out a Latin Quarter food market, and discover the secrets of French wines in one of their “wine experiences”. I learned how to “saber” a Champagne bottle, how to make macarons with just the right texture, the origins of “cuisine nouveau” and why the French are so enamored with their sauces.
Le Cordon Bleu
13-15 Quai André Citroën, 15th
Tel 01 85 65 15 00
Want to take cooking classes in the same legendary French cooking school as Audrey Hepburn’s character in the film Sabrina? Le Cordon Bleu offers both professional classes as well as casual classes from two hours to two days long with names like “The Art of Making Sauces and Jus”, “The Secrets of Eclairs”, “Traditional Bread Baking”, “My First Chocolates” and a demonstration, “The Art of Cooking like a Chef”. There are kids classes, wine tasting classes, and market tour as well. Prices range from €95-€250 for day classes and €900 to €1800 for multi-day classes. Note that all classes are taught in French with an English interpreter. Class size is limited to 16 participants.
Cook’n with Class
6 rue Baudelique, 18th
Tel: 01 42 57 22 84
Eric Fraudeau’s school near Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement offers French cooking classes in English for all levels (even beginners) including baking, cooking, wine tasting and market tours. They also offer private cooking lessons on request.
Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse
64, rue du Ranelagh, 16th
Tel: 01 44 90 91 00
Chef Alain Ducasse is one of the most famous French chefs in the world, with several Michelin-starred restaurants bearing his name. He has a professional cooking school in Paris, but for those looking to take more “leisurely” classes, he has English classes for baking and bistro cooking from €90-€170 (and more for special recipes). The selection of classes available is much larger if you can understand French — classes for healthy cooking, for kids and teens, and even wine tasting and coffee brewing (note that descriptions are ALL in English, but the classes are only in English if you click the “Classes in English” option under “themes).
Atéliers des Chefs
Four addresses in Paris
In French Only
Want to join “the locals”? Since 2005, the Atéliers des Chefs offers à la carte cooking classes of 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes in a stylish, contemporary setting. Conveniently located in four locations around the city, including the Champs-Elysées, Hôtel de Ville and the Opéra, these ateliers have become the trendy place for 30-something professionals — as many men as women — to gather in a fun and informal atmosphere. All of the classes are hands on, so even if your French is rusty, all you have to do is copy what the chef if demonstrating. I can’t always follow French when it’s fast and in a noisy setting, but the other participants gave me a hand. Afterwards the group eats the meal together. The ateliers are also cookware shops, selling all of the latest kitchen gadgets. Reserve online as early as possible; the 30-minute lunch classes, at just €17, fill up fast! The two-hour classes are €76.
Lenôtre Ecole de Cuisine et Pâtisserie
10bis Quai Henri IV, 5th
Tel 08 11 65 66 56
In French Only
The well-known gourmet caterer Lenôtre moved its cooking school onto a péniche on the Seine right across from Notre Dame Cathedral, offering a regular schedule of high-end cooking and pastry classes for experienced “amateurs” (€120-180), but only in French at the moment (check their schedule, it changes).
Learning about and enjoying fine wine is a hobby in most countries; in France it’s a way of life. Those with a limited knowledge of wine tasting will find no better place than Paris to pick up a few essential lessons, while seasoned wine connoisseurs will find unlimited opportunities for enjoying the finest vintages from France and all over the world. In addition to wine classes, many wine shops hold regular dégustations (wine tasting) on Saturdays, often with the grower present if it’s from a small or independent domain.
01 44 73 97 80 or from France toll-free 0 800 801 148
The young and irreverent sommelier Olivier Magny is no wine snob. That’s not to say he doesn’t take his wine seriously; he simply refuses to believe that wine tasting has to be a solemn, boring affair. His team conducts tastings with three or seven wines – a mix of reds and whites – in his wine bar in the center of Paris, as well as wine tasting dinners, Champagne cruises on the Seine, and vineyard tours outside Paris. All of O-Château’s events are conducted in English for a predominantly international clientele, from €59 – €149.
Secret Wine Door
8 rue de Bellefond, 9th
Tel 06 73 85 11 50
Erwan is a newcomer on to the wine tasting scene, opening his Secret Wine Door in 2019 to host casual, small-group tastings with never more than 10 people in the trendy 9th arrondissement. You can choose from 2-hour wine tastings from €38, wine and cheese from €45, or private tastings starting at €45. All tastings in English (other languages possible).
Wine Tasting In Paris
14 rue des Boulangers, 5th
Tel: 06 76 93 32 88
Wine tasting in Paris is located on the Left Bank in the Latin Quater near the Jardin des Plantes. They offer virtual “Wine Tours” for €62 and wine & cheese pairings from €47, all in English. They can also arrange for conoisseur tastings for those who are looking for something exceptional (budget according to the wines chosen).
Legrand Filles & Fils
Tel 01 42 60 07 12 12
Galerie Vivienne or 1 Rue de la Banque, 2nd
Generally in French
Legrand opened in 1919 as a spice shop, and expanded into the wine industry in the 1960s, specializing in hard-to-find wines from small domains. The original shop and its 1880 façade on Rue de la Banque still carries gourmet food products, but through the back passageway visitors will see the wine shop has taken over both sides of the lovely Galerie Vivienne (one of Paris’s historic covered shopping passages) with an accessories and gift boutique across from the Espace Dégustation (don’t call it a wine bar). Stop by anytime for a selection of wines by the glass with plates of cheese and cold meats, or sign up for one of their many events, tastings, wine dinners or classes (€80-€190 depending on the vintage). Most of the tastings can also be explained in English, but call or stop by to confirm if you don’t understand any French.
Tel 01 42 97 20 20
3-5 Boulevard Madeleine, 1st
Generally in French
Lavinia is one of the largest wine and spirits shops in Paris with a wine bar/restaurant and tasting room upstairs where they host events for beginners and experienced wine enthusiasts alike from €15-€170 depending on what you’ll be drinking. In addition to wines, you can also do whiskey tasting master classes here. All of the information is in French (and Spanish on the website), so check in advance if you need someone who can do English tastings.
The Wine Museum
Rue des Eaux, 16th
Tel 01 45 25 63 26
Located in an exceptional setting near the Eiffel Tower, the Musée du Vin was built in the ancient limestone quarries mined between the 13th and 18th centuries to provide the stone to build Paris. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Friars of the Minimes Monastery used the location to store the wine they made in the vineyards that used to occupy the land surrounding the museum. Today it’s a museum, with exhibits creatively set up in the maze of tunnels, and a restaurant offering wine-tastings (from €21-€63, including museum entrance). The museum visit alone is €10, the visit with one or three different glasses of wine is €14 or €35. The website where you can reserve is only in French, strangely, but there are rarely crowds so you can usually just buy tickets at the door. An English guidebook for the museum is available in the boutique.
Vineyards in Paris may be few and far in between, but they sure know how to celebrate the annual Grape Harvest Festival. The best-known is the Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre, which takes place for serveral days with parades, grape stomping, live music and more around the Clos Montmartre vineyard (corner of Rue des Saules and Rue St-Vincent, 18th) on the second weekend in October. You can purchase a bottle of the Clos Montmartre only at the Syndicate d’Initiative de Montmartre (21 Place du Tertre, 18th) or from the wine cellar of the Mairie of the 18th (Place Jules Joffrin), with the funds going to community organizations.
The annual Beaujolais Nouveau Festival, on the third Thursday of November, is celebration welcoming the first wine of the year, Beaujolais Nouveau. Since the 1960s it’s been celebrated around the world with much fanfare as everyone races to serve the new wine first. A wise man once said that the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau is like the arrival of a new baby. When it comes, you don’t worry about whether it’s smart or good looking, you celebrate because it’s arrived.
The point is to enjoy the Beaujolais Nouveau and wait until the morning to decide whether it was worth it or not. If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris, park yourself at the nearest wine bar and you’ll be guaranteed a good time (if not a good wine)! My favorite place to celebrate is in the heart of Montmartre at the Auberge de La Bonne Franquette (corner of 2 rue de Saules and 18 rue Rustique, 18th). The video below is from a 2010 Beaujolais Nouveau evening of good food, good wine, and good company (Secrets of Paris Correspondent Bryan Pirolli, Paris by Mouth Editor Meg Zimbeck, Food Writer Barbra Austin, and Bonjour Paris editor Sadie Nachtigal). Okay, maybe we had a bit too much wine…
Wine fairs (foires and salons) are the ideal places to test and purchase wines direct from growers from around the world. After paying a small entrance fee (and sometimes even receiving your own personal wine glass), you’re free to browse the stands to sample different wines. Some stands are simple affairs run by the growers themselves, others are big and flashy stands sponsored by familiar names like Moët-Chandon.
There are often food stands and entertainment as well, making it a nice day out. There are many events throughout the year, but the two biggest ones for wine open to the general public are the Foire de Paris (the largest fair in Paris , not just for wine; www.foiredeparis.fr) for two weeks end of April/beginning of May, and the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants (Independent Wine Growers, www.vigneron-independant.com), which takes place twice yearly at the end of November and end of March.
Warning: If you’re there to shop, use those buckets (to spit out the wine), or else you may find by the end of the day that you can hardly tell the difference between a glass of Cabernet and a glass of grape juice!