A Macaron Masterclass in the French Capital

A Macaron Masterclass in the French Capital

If cookies are an all-American classic, then macarons are definitely France’s choice confection. These meringue-based treats have become an embodiment of Paris, being chic, pricey, and associated with luxury.

We wanted to share a little of la vie parisienne, so we got in touch with four American expats living in the City of Light and invited them along to the best macaron making class in Paris.

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Experiencing French culture

Travel writer Deborah Carter once asserted: “You have to taste a culture to understand it.” And boy were they about to understand the French culture. 3 full plates of it.

Our bloggers arrived at BonAppetour hostess Bénédicte’s sun-drenched apartment in the chic 17th arrondissement at about 2pm. Bénédicte’s background in the French Luxury industry not only comes through in her cooking, but in her apartment too. It is effortlessly chic, with the crisp white walls meeting ornate mouldings on high ceilings.

Fans of Parisian architecture will not be disappointed with the added French flair of parquet floors and a wrought iron balcony.

Our hostess had lovingly prepared a spread of homemade chouquettes, mini-meringues and tea. This was the perfect chance for our bloggers to get to know each other before attempting the seemingly impossible task of recreating Ladurée’s famous sweet treat.

Our bloggers were Anne, Celina, Jocelyn and Melissa, all American and all lured to Paris by its timeless glamour. Once teas were drunk and mini-meringues eaten, the group of girls gathered around the rustic round table of Bénédicte’s apartment, eager to hear the secret to macaron-making.

“It’s actually not too complicated,” Bénédicte said to a group of bewildered bloggers. “It’s just sugar, ground almonds and egg whites.”

Armed with some scales, a sift and the knowledge that all macaron bases are the same (it’s just the filling that gives them their flavour), our bloggers began to craft their luxurious little treats.

With their mixture ready and sporting the vibrant colours of pink and yellow, they were placed in piping bags, and squeezed onto pre-drawn squares. Bénédicte, picking up the baking tray, said that this is “the secret to getting perfectly formed macarons,” then promptly dropped the tray onto the table.

The loud clang rang through the apartment, she repeated the action, stating that it was a great way to get the best shape for the macarons.

Once the base was ready, the bloggers started on the filling, using fresh lemons and real raspberries. As they stirred, peeled, and whisked, the lovely ladies laughed as they spoke about the differences between the USA and France.

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They revealed their reasons for moving to the capital, what they missed from back home, and listened to Bénédicte’s own story. Our hostess has lived on the same street her whole life, making her a bonafide Parisienne and expert in the area. After sandwiching the filling between the macaron bases, our bloggers took a seat ready to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

This 3-hour macaron-making class in Paris ended in true French fashion, with a bottle of champagne. Conversation was as free-flowing as the bubbly, and the bloggers arranged to meet up again post-BonAppetour experience.

From left to right: Melissa’s review on Melissa in Paris, Anne’s review on Hardly Snarky, our hostess Benedicte’s macaron-making class in Paris, Celina’s review on Quirking It Out, Jocelyn’s review on Samba Through Life.

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Read any of our bloggers’ reviews of this macaron-making class, and get 20% off your own quintessential Paris experience.

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Sacré Bleu! My Parisian Dining Experience with French Locals.

Sacré Bleu! My Parisian Dining Experience with French Locals.

The German philosopher Friedrich Engels once quipped that “if there were no Frenchwomen, life wouldn't be worth living” and that is especially true of two Frenchwomen in particular: Bonappetour hosts Catherine and Florence. I was lucky enough to spend two fabulous evenings with these locals, who have opened up their homes in Paris to travelers and tourists alike who want to try the crème de la crème of French cuisine.

Paris is a wonderful city, and one that I am lucky enough to call my home. But even with my (almost) fluency in French, I can appreciate how hard it can be to completely immerse yourself and connect with local Parisians. Fortunately for me, I work as the Digital Marketing Manager and Paris Community Manager for BonAppetour. This means I get to test out our hosts and their dining experiences before we promote them on our site (if you want to read more about what we do and how we verify our hosts click here!). So, it basically comes down to the fact that I get to enjoy lots of skillfully prepared meals with thoroughly enjoyable company and call it “work”, la vie est belle!


I was invited to Catherine’s abode in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, home to one of Europe’s largest China towns. I was accompanied by Inez, BonAppetour’s Co-Founder, with us were two lovely American ladies, Debbie, who was a journalist, and her sister. Upon arrival we were warmly welcomed by the hostess of the evening, Catherine and her husband Olivier- even their son Arthur made an appearance during the evening. It was wonderful to have an insight into French domestic life and to witness a family meal in action.

Along with the rich red wine, our conversation flowed freely. We spoke about France, the French culture and even the secret to making quince jelly, but we also shared stories about ourselves. Our conversation was meaningful and inspiring. We heard about local life in Singapore, what it means to be British and also listened in fascination to Debbie’s story about her mother, who emigrated from Poland to America in search of a better life. To match the quality conversation was the superior food that was professionally put together by Catherine. I do not hyperbolise when I write about Catherine’s professionalism, she trained for 5 years to become a chef, and it showed through in every course we tucked into.

I had a truly amusing evening, with the food being on par, or perhaps even better, than many French restaurants in Paris. If you’re looking for a home-from-home experience with authentic French fare then Catherine is the way to go.

Another Parisian experience in the BonAppetour repertoire that I got to try was an evening in Florence’s 19th Century apartment, just a turning off the famous Champs Elysees. Far from a traditional, everyday French experience, this dining event has more than a touch of luxury. I was invited along to a soiree where locals and expats mingled against an opulent baroque backdrop. The evening, organised by BonAppetour and the lovely Cara Cruickshank of Cafe de la Culture, had a theme: “The 18th century Parisian salon”.

Amongst us were actors and musicians in full Marie-Antoinette-style garb. The setting and fascinating lectures about important 18th Century Frenchwomen inspired intellectual talk from the guests as we sat on tables of 5-7. Florence’s food was a delight, my personal favourite being the chestnut soup…Or perhaps the little dessert bites (including my beloved panna cotta), brought along by another BonAppetour Parisian hostess, Karen.

My luxury salon experience not only showed me just how chic Paris can be, but also taught me a lot about French history, philosophy and art. It’s such a great way to get the chance to peek behind the sumptuous facade of apartments that line the great boulevards of Paris, that as a tourist one often admires but can only imagine what is inside. When dining with Florence you can wait for such an event, or you can simply dine with your friends and feel transported back in time in Florence’s apartment as she puts on a delicious Parisian spread.

I am very grateful to all our BonAppetour hosts that invite me into their homes and make me feel a part of a big French family. Which of these two experiences do you want to try when you are next in Paris? Let us know in the comments below!

Image credits: photos from the salon by What's Hot? Blog, read her review of the evening here.


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