Great Chefs of the Marais


On your journey through France’s gastronomic history, you will feel like you are observing the beginning of dining and food presentation as we know it today.  We will stroll the winding narrow streets while you learn all about the history of “Gastronomie” in France. 

We'll look for traces of the exciting stories and the history that accompanied the formation of French cuisine in the very stones, buildings, mansions, and historical places of the oldest neighborhood in Paris. 

Price per private group of 1 to 4:

Under the Monarchy, the Marais was a favorite residence of the court. While an overwhelming majority of people lived on soup and brown bread, a privileged minority, the aristocracy, enjoyed and inspired the masterpieces of the greatest cooks. The flamboyance and ostentatious presentations of aristocratic suppers were beyond compare. To satisfy the extravagant wishes of their masters, the chefs’ imagination knew no limits. 

At the time, the aristocracy spent most of their time socializing among themselves, an activity that consisted mainly of private receptions. This “art of entertaining” covered a wide range of fields: from table decors to table manners and etiquette. The reputation of an aristocrat’s table was a sign of wealth, power and taste.

Even though the monarchy is but a page in French history, the area still hosts some of the city’s most important historic buildings. Inside now quiet courtyards, and silent halls, we will evoke the famous balls and dinners which dazzled our ancestors and look for what remains of the old extravagance. We will have a look at engravings and paintings and with them travel back to extraordinary banquets that remained memorable long after the guests were no more


As you hear about this glorious past of aristocratic gluttony, you will learn about the mind-blowing exotic recipes of French cuisine from that time. And is there a better way to learn about the secrets of French cuisine and practice words like “amuse bouche” and “petit four” as while sampling two glasses of delicious organic wine? A better way to learn about the origin of the Madeleine or the macaron as during tea and pastry breaks? 

Your guide will help you discover all there is to know about the beautiful, enchanting Marais. This tour will satisfy all your senses: from the aromatic spice supplies of the great Chefs, to centuries-old libraries smelling of old leather, from images culled in the greatest cooking anthologies and the glistening copper of cooking utensils in old shops, through busy streets echoing with the market vendors' shouts or in silent courtyards filled.

And maybe it will inspire you with some new ideas for splendid meals and decoration when you are back home! 


“Qu'ils mangent de la brioche!”

Believe it or not, Marie-Antoinette never said 'Let them eat cake.' The phrase actually comes from Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Confessions, which were completed in 1768 when Marie-Antoinette was only twelve. Towards the end of book six of the Confessions, which covers the period from 1736 to 1740, you will find the phrase: “At length I recollected the thoughtless saying of a great princess, who, on being informed that the country people had no bread, replied, "Then let them eat pastry!'" It is possible that Rousseau just invented this, but he may have been referring to Marie-Therese, the unpopular wife of Louis XIV, a century or so earlier. In any case it has nothing to do with Marie-Antoinette.

What's more, it was far from being a thoughtless remark from a deluded monarch. At the time, if bakers ran out of cheap bread - which was subsidized – they were obliged to sell off their more expensive products (which included brioches) at the lower price. So 'let them eat cake' is in reality nothing more than an exhortation to bakers to feed the poor at subsidized rates”.

Eccentric France, Piers Lechter.

- Beautiful buildings and private mansions

- Short visit to the Carnavalet Museum

- Visit Patisseries and Bakeries

- End with a glass of wine

- Discovery of rue des Rosier and Le Marais


Available: Daily
Start Time: 12.30pm or 2pm
Duration: 4 Hrs
Meeting Point: Outside Auberge Nicolas Flamel, 51 Rue de Montmorency, 75003
Includes: Private Guide
Excludes: Cost of Transfers, Meals,Tastings

Additional Info


"The cheese tasting with Virginie was magnificent! She went to so much trouble: the table was perfectly decorated and her cheeses were sublime! We couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming and charming hostess!"    

Cafe in Montmartre


The new bistronomy has roots in the time just before the Revolution of 1789: at that time, the first French restaurants had only just started to appear. Following the uprising, the former servants of the aristocracy were faced with a drastically changed society, and had to find new jobs. Using their knowledge of cuisine and catering, the most enterprising became the first restaurant owners. They created the culture of gastronomy that we know today, no longer ostentatious and lavish, but a gastronomy that could be shared by all French citizens, and then by the whole world.

The creations of the new wave of bistros chefs are made up of local and seasonal products bought fresh from the day, far away from the stuffy atmosphere and painful bills of three stars restaurants.



The first restaurant in Paris opened in 1785. Its founder, M. Boulanger, came up with the new word “restaurant,” taking it from the verb “restore” (in French, “restaurer”). On the outside of his establishment a sign said in Latin : come all you who are hungry and I will restore you.