Ah! The student’s life in Paris. Is there anything more romantic than being a student in Paris? When you’re scrabbling for enough centimes to buy a croissant or shivering in your garret ‘chambre de bonne’, you may not think Paris is so romantic – but wait a few years, the day-to-day inconveniences take on a rosy glow and you will be so glad you came to Paris to receive your education about life!
Every year students of all ages and all corners of the world arrive in Paris to glean something of this nation’s love affair with language, culture, history and the ‘art de vivre’ or art of living.
First, you need to know that you can become a student at any age in the “City of Light” It’s never too late to take a cooking course, or sign up for a course at the newly instituted ‘Art de Vivre’ center.
If you’ve ever seen Audrey Hepburn trying to crack open eggs while she’s trying to learn to make a souffle (Sabrina), then you’ll know that many eggs need to be broken before culinary arts can begin to be absorbed.
Patience may be one of your best virtues if you decide to take on this challenge. Here are some useful sites that will aid you in choosing your cooking school in Paris.
Gastronomy Schools (selected by the Paris Tourist Bureau) This expansive list includes Cordon Bleu and the Hotel Ritz cooking schools which have been well-established for many years.
One-Day or Seven-Day Cooking Classes with Susan Herrmann Loomis. (www.onRueTatin.com).
Elegant Cooking with Marguerite
I was lucky enough to take a cooking class while studying French language at the same time. The cooking instructor was less lucky. She may have considered me one of her major failures when it came to making a pastry crust. If you’ve made pastry the French way – by breaking an egg in the middle of a mountain of flour – you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Tips before signing up for French cooking classes:
Will the class be conducted in French or English?
Know your measurement conversions. France uses the metric system i.e. liters and grams.
If the instructor is a French native, from what region? Depending upon the instructor’s region, you may be able to learn about some of the varied regional specialties.
Will you get to eat the dishes that you prepare?
We did eat the dishes that we prepared. I have saved one of the recipes for Porc Sauce Robert which I still prepare on occasion – after all these years. The pie crust recipe has been permanently filed under ‘Later’.