Food

The Tasting Passport: Self-Guided Foodie Tours from a Fresh Paris Start-Up

by Isabel Miller-Bottome

Cafe Creme, Beans on Fire

The Beans on Fire

Innovative small businesses like Paris Picnic, Insidr Paris, and SacreBleu are leading Paris tourism in the direction of more personal, tailored, user-friendly service.

Montage 1 Comptoir Gana, Beans on Fire

Comptoir Gana, The Beans on Fire

In March, Le Food Trip start-up launched a concept totally new to Paris: The Tasting Passport. The booklet contains 12 coupons redeemable for tastings at épiceries, cafés, and bakeries around the city. So for 34 euros, you can taste a range of authentic goods at your own pace (the passport is valid for one year after purchase), in whatever order you choose, all while taking in the ambiance of a neighborhood and interacting with local business owners, one on one.

Charcuterie, Cosi Vas

Montage 2 Beans on Fire

Cosi Vas; The Beans on Fire 

The Tasting Passport offers self-guided tours of three distinct neighborhoods: the hip and foodie-centric 11th, the chic “Gros Caillou” district next to the Eiffel Tower, and Montmartre. Products range from traditional French delicacies like foie gras, comté, and handmade calisons from Provence, to trendy favorites like artisanal coffee from collaborative roaster, The Beans on Fire, and meringue cakes from Aux Merveilleux de Fred.

Croissants, Comptoir Gana

Comptoir Gana

Founders Adrian, Pierre, and Martin first met at age five while in school in a Parisian suburb. Later, during a post-grad trip through Asia, the three entrepreneurs discovered first-hand how much can be learned about a foreign city and culture through tasting its local dishes. Upon their return to Paris, they started a food tour of rue des Martyrs – an iconic Montmartre street home to many independent shop-owners – letting the artisans speak for themselves, even without a perfect level of English or professional tour guide experience.

Montage 3 Beans on Fire

The Beans on Fire

In putting together the passport, the team took pains to seek out quality products (they tested 25 different croissants before choosing Au Caprice Gourmand!) and form relationships with artisans who not only speak English, but who are willing to explain their métier to curious visitors, further shattering the bad-tempered French stereotype. Brigitte, for example, is the lovely owner of Cosi Vas, a tiny épicerie specializing in products from her native Aveyron region in the South, and knew Martin, Adrian, and Pierre from when they were students at the business school across the street and would pop in during their lunch hour.

Choux, Comptoir Gana

Cosi Vas

Comptoir Gana; Cosi Vas

As a small, flexible start-up, the team plans to continually adapt their services by adding different themed tours to their options (a Vegan themed tour or Asian food tour, anyone?), and are in the midst of developing an app to accompany the physical booklet. Keep your eyes peeled for more!

Filter Coffee, Beans on Fire

Financiers, Comptoir Gana

The Beans on Fire; Comptoir Gana

The Beans on Fire – 7 Rue du Général Blaise, 75011. Métro: Rue Saint-Maur; Tel: +33 (0)1 43 55 94 73.

Comptoir Gana – 54 Rue Oberkampf, 75011. Métro: Parmentier; Tel: +33 (0)1 55 28 71 02.

Aux Merveilleux de Fred – 94 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007. Métro: La Tour-Maubourg; Tel: +33 (0)1 47 53 91 34.

Au Caprice Gourmand – 79 Rue de Rochechouart, 75009. Métro: Anvers; Tel: +33 (0)1 48 78 69 21.

Cosi Vas – 78 avenue de la République 75011. Métro: Rue Saint-Maur; Tel: +33 (0)1 71 70 19 78.

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Written by Isabel Miller-Bottome for the HiP Paris Blog. All photos by Isabel Miller-Bottome. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Written By

Isabel Miller-Bottome

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Isabel moved to Paris after graduating from UC Santa Barbara. Her poetry and articles have been published by The Catalyst, Into the Teeth of the Wind, Spectrum Literary Journal, The Daily Nexus, The Culture Trip, and the HiP Paris Blog. View Website

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