He didn't grow up in France. His family vacationed there when he was a kid. He's a New Yorker.
He and his brother went back to France and he went on and on and on about the house and village he grew up in from early childhood into his teen years (in France). That makes him a native in my book.
Correct. They spent summers there. IIRC, the house was the residence of his grandparents. And fwiw, I'll bet Tony speaks Spanish more fluently than French.
I thought the show was solid -- but not without some problems, which many here have already mentioned. For me the main issue is this: Bourdain has always been synonymous with cooking and eating and while his branching into other areas (general travel) seems fairly natural, it isn't as nearly compelling as Bourdain on Food. I didn't learn a whole lot about Paris from watching this episode but I was entertained by it. I'm a fan of Bourdain and I appreciate his take on things and his overall persona
That said, I think the scripted bits need to be shorter and tighter. There were also a few narrative segments in the 2nd season of A Cook's Tour
which clunked a bit too; but they were clearly the exception, not the norm. Tony, Chris, Lydia, etc. are a savvy group and they'll want to refine what they're doing. My guess is that as the production rolls along, they'll develop a more critical eye for their work on this show. Perhaps the larger budget and complete creative freedom they're enjoying has led to a bit of self-indulgence. Knowing Tony, I'm not worried about it becoming a trend.
I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more episodes. Tony is a unique voice and while the first episode wasn't perfect, it certainly succeeded in delivering 100% unfiltered Bourdain. Of course, if you're not a fan, that's probably a big negative. But I doubt the show will deviate much in that respect. He is who he is and that will always be up front and center. In fact, this first episode was as much (or more so) about Bourdain as it was about Paris. But, in this relatively new (for Tony) medium, there is much to master. Still, there's no doubt that Bourdain can tell a story. Given that, I'm confident the show will accomplish its mission as he continues to develop his mastery of the medium.