An Honest Review of The Tour Guys Montmartre Food Tour

The Tour Guy invited me to shadow this tour to give them feedback on The Tour Guys Montmartre Food Tour in a view to partner or maybe work for them as a food tour guide. It would be catastrophe if did not give you my honest feedback and tell you how it made me feel as a foodie and fan of french food.

Before writing this honest review of another companies food tour I sought advice from a friend who is far better at politics than my fiery chef’s brain is. I asked how honest I should be? I don’t want to seem to be criticising just for the sake of it or to paint the people who work on this food tour in the wrong light. I understand from my experience as a Food Tour Guide that Food Tours rarely get reviewed by someone who has lead food tours, cooked for a decade and has passion for it. Here is an opportunity for you to read what I learned from doing this food tour and read my honest review.

The Most Important Thing About a Food Tour Review

The key to success for any food tour and food tour guide, the thing that makes something the best food tour as discussed in my blog post on the subject is how it made the guests feel. I was already a little wary when I did my research about this tour at the number of Blank reviews and reviews that seemed to not be positive but still had five stars on the website for this tour.

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A review I found about this food tour on the food tour guy’s website…

For my own experience, it was a sunday morning in Paris so this Food Tour only had two other guests. A lovely couple, American foodies with a professional edge as sharp as my Sabatier; the lady had run her own catering companies and the gentleman was clearly a fan of the finer things in life. They were staying at “Le Cheval Blanc” after a few days in Venice and a ski tour in the dolomites. Why not they told me as they were flying out of Paris, why not stop and indulge in some of the wonderful food and sights.

We quickly got to chatting once the guide waited in a queue for food, they were a little jaded and suspicious from the get go. Turns out this was the second Tour Guy food tour they had done over the weekend and they told me how disappointed they had been with the experience in the Maree. A tour guide that couldn’t answer their questions coupled with stops where they were treated badly by restaurant staff. Sadly despite the romantic nature of our wonder around Montmartre. There was no doubt in my mind they left underwhelmed and unsatisfied. I have sent them an email asking for a comment as it seems only fair.

A Picture of crowds of tourists with the backdrop of the skyline of paris from montmartre and street are on the buildings.
Hordes of Tourists in Montmartre

How did The Tour Guy’s Food Tour in Montmartre make me feel?

Honestly I was disappointed. Despite my research, critical nature and biases; I did my best to go with an open mind on the hope I would learn something new about the food and be delighted. However, the our guide was really not great, the food was mediocre, the wine forgetful and the spots chosen only a few steps away from some of the best food in Montmartre.

It felt like I was on a box ticking exercise, as if I was shopping at the tourist supermarket for “must haves” not a food tour that educates and delights. What an impression to get I thought to myself on the metro home. I sat and wrote notes and wondered to myself how is possible that The Tour Guy has a brilliant reputation online and in the tour guide community but is delivering this to their customers.

I know that I talk too much and the poor tour guide on learning that I was a trained chef that had already been food tours around Montmartre for a year probably took a back seat. I definitely felt I had to improve the guest experience by teaching them a few key secrets that would be relevant to their food knowledge when they got home. I hoped to let her shine and spent as much time towards the end of the tour hanging back and attempting to not throw shade on her tour while still keeping an ear on what she was saying.

There is no doubt this was a learning exercise. I hope that my dissection will help the team improve on the delivery and stops on this tour. I believe that keeping this open to the world will also help all of the other food tour companies here in Paris move the needle on the food tours they are delivering. We have the olympics round the corner and there is a huge opportunity for the city to shine as the gastronomic capital of the world again. Let please not disappoint people.

One of my favourite stops when I think about my review of the tour guys food tour in montmartre. The most instragrammed street in Paris.
The most instagrammed street in Paris?

Dissecting why this food tour leaves guests unhappy?

As far as I’m concerned there are three key elements that make good food tours the best food tours. The guide, the food and the route. So let’s break down how I felt about each and everyone of these elements to make the best possible recommendations that will help the team working on the Tour Guy’s Montmartre Food Tour improve.

A Route that Delights

You won’t find me jogging up those montmartre steps on a sunday morning, but even after a Decade in Paris, Montmartre is a delightful place to take a Sunday morning walk. The cobbles, wiggly streets and historical spots every three or four houses make it almost overwhelming for a guide when they have people in front of them.

The route chosen up to the Butte of Montmartre isn’t too bad. However, what happens is on that route there was hundreds of other tour guides and their parties. For me this really distracts from the experience and I believe that if you took walk around montmartre you would find a different route that delights with it’s secluded spots.

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It may look pretty but this is not the best spot for a crepe in that part of town.

A Guide that feels Lost?

The lovely tour guide was friendly but lacked story telling skills. I felt sorry for the poor girl when she realized she had trained chefs on the tour and someone who had done food tours in the area for a season. Pretty tough for me not to talk about it and try and enhance their experience when there were only a two other guests. They already confessed their dissapointment in the tour guy’s tour in the Maree and I was desperate to show them a better side to Paris.

The lovely guide and I spent a long time talking with me after she had finished her tour. When I asked her the key questions that I think are important when it comes to working for a tour company what she told me worried me. It sounds like there are some organisational issues around training that leaves this tour to be lacking in depth.

She told me she was never given a script. To improve this tour a script should be written with stories, anexcdodes and key points that need to be highlighted. It is tough for any guide to remember everything about this area, plus a bunch of food facts. Having the storytelling, the history and the details and shared with every tour guide on the tour will help each and everyone delight their guests.

I was very surprised to hear that no rewards are given for good reviews. Several other food tour companies here in Paris are indeed giving renumeration for good reviews that mention the guides name. How can you motivate someone to do an amazing job if you are not rewarding them for creating amazing experiences?

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Dirty knives are often a sign of lack of care or attention in a restaurant.

Forgettable Food Stops

Sifting out the good food suppliers from the tourist traps is something that is incredebly tough, especially in montmarte. It has a history of miscreants tricking tourists from their money and today that tradition is deeply baked into the social scene. I myself have fallen many times for the trap of good looking spot that turned into a terrible tourist trap in this part of town.

The food on this tour lacked explanation that elevates it to a higher level even when the ingredients are simple. The bakery chosen was not the best, over crowded and okish quality. The crepe stand is renowned by locals to be a factory for the tourists with tasteless crepe. The wine at the escargot stop was tasteless chardonnay and I have no idea why we ate snails there either. It was only at the final stop, a bistro that I thought ok, here we can get something good.

But then our wine arrived in dirty glasses and they hadn’t managed to clean the knives we were given. When we then saw a cat come in from outside and hop on to the area the team were preparing our dishes, even the guests looked disgusted.

I have made a list of spots worth visiting montmartre that you can maybe try out to improve this tour over on my google maps. I hope it helps give a more delightful experience for the guests and gives them a real taste of the area.

it's always lovely to find a bistro in Paris with a lovely smiley waitress and a cat. I hope this Review of The Tour Guys Montmartre Food Tour makes you smile too

Concluding my Review of The Tour Guys Montmartre Food Tour

At the end of the day I got a free food tour and trashed it. Complaining like the most miserable spoilt Parisian brimming with middle class privilege.

The fundamental problem is that Montmartre has become over run by tourists, it is not the romantic place to go and get hidden in the backstreets it used to be when I first came to Paris 25 years ago. If we go there with friends its to start a night out or to finish at 7.30 am with croissant and espresso martini’s at The Lux. I am not sure why every food tour company in Paris is so obsessed with a Montmartre food tour – I checked googles search trend and people aren’t looking for this. This is not the place I would recommend you to go to find some of Paris’s best bites.

Those working in the area are frustrated at the hordes of umbrella following tourists lead by non locals. I get that it’s devinely romantic, prettier than a pastry from Pierre Herme and the history seeps from the cobbles under your feet. However there are plenty of smart, dynamic, creative and passionate Montmartois that need a hand making money this summer. Get the locals on board with your food tour and you will start to build amazing experienced for our guests here in Paris’s edgiest village.

If you do need to take a food tour in Montmartre, I have a self guided Montmartre Food Tour to share with you that I hope will help you be delighted and enjoy your time.

I would love to hear your feedback. Am I too harsh? Was posting this Publicly as smelly as a Rebluchon on a hot summers day? Do you think there is a chance the team at The Tour Guy will ever talk to me again?

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