Paris Vegan Friendly or Not?
Where has Vegan in the Sun been hiding for these last couple of weeks. Well her hubby took her to France . Do not be jealous Paris and the rest of France was a fairly good vegan experience. On a scale from 1 to 10 I give it a 6 for vegan but there are some things I noticed about veganism in France. So sit back and relax and enjoy the commentary.
There is no real Vegan option on Air France it is Vegetarian sans oeufs meaning vegetarian without eggs so we picked that. We got a plate of white rice with two vegetables and a teaspoon on tomato sauce. A bread with margarine containing milk. A salad with mushrooms and a compote of fruit. This was almost unedibale.Good luck for us I made 4 rotis incase it sucked. For breakfast I got a dried up croissant which I dont even think was vegan and some jam and tea. A big fail for Air France bleh on this meal but I did not lose hope.
On my return the vegan meal from France was a big improvement. We got vegan paella and we took vegan sausages from Wheaty to add for protein. We had zucchini pasta and smoked tofu and some dark chocolate for dessert and compote. The snack was even better.It consisted of a Dutch vegan vanilla yogurt and a vegan croissant, jam and compote. I assumed the croissant was vegan as it was very dried out like if there was no fat at all inside plus the meat eaters got a different roll with their snack.
TVG and Charles de Gaulle
I took the TVG to Nantes and then St Nazaire and I was starving. There is no vegan option on this train or in Charles de Gaulle airport. Lucky for me I made vegan almost raw protein bars and I got some chips and some compote on the train. The above pic is about 10 euro in food. What the hell!
St Nazaire/ Nates and the Bretange region
Loved my stay here so much.This is very deep France with the middle class working ppl living in this region. I stayed at a friends condo and there was a beautiful morrocan restaurants outside that has 4 vegan options. Sorry no pics but there was hot tagine and cous cous and sweet Moroccan tea all for 10 euro plus a starter or a fresh fruit bowl.
Hubby and I hit the BioCoop which is the organic food supermarket and I tried my first vegan pate which is called Tartex. It is like a fine meat pate and it is perfect on baguette or some organic country rustic breads we bought. We also found smoked vegan ham and smoked sausages. I was having great breakfast all week in this region. You know what is having beautiful tasting pate for lunch breakfast and dinner. I also made a 4 ingredient Quiche that turned out so good that I will post the recipe this weekend.
Overall what I suggest is buying pate and keeping it in your bag around France and some nuts and organic seasonal fruits.This way if u cannot find anything to eat u have some staples in your bag.
Did I forget to mention that I went to a tatoo festival in Nantes france. I am not into tattoos but I tagged along anyways. There were lots of cool skateboards for auction and lots of cool punk clothes. I managed to snag a cute punk shirt for 10 euro.
The highlight of my trip is that I fell in love with fine coffee. I went to Guérande which is a city inside a castle and we found one of the most charming coffee shops ever. This place was so comfortable and the coffee was 1 50 euro a pop. This place had coffee from all over the world and the flavours were amazing. He also served us some chocolate covered walnuts that were the most delicious things I ever ate for free. I was like is this man nuts. I did not want to leave.
An important thing about Guerande is its salt production.It is said this salt is the best in France. In the city in the castle I bought some salt with algae inside and some that is used for dusting food after cooking.This salt is great indeed. I am sorry I did not buy more bags.
My mood started to drop as I got closer and closer to Paris.The noise and the cold started to get the better of me. Sometimes it is hard to enjoy anything when it is too cold. I enjoyed some aspects of Paris but some of my vegan experiences are still giving me nightmare. Apparently, in France to some ppl eating Vegan is just for the health benefits and most ppl that eat in these places are not vegan but very health conscious Many French vegan and vegetarian restaurant thinks that eating Vegan is eating Health Nut and Health Nut equates to no flavour raw veg and some bland tasteless grain. Some other experiences were very good and some others were over the top.
Au Grain de Folie
Lets start with the ugly. It was so ugly hubby told me not even to take a picture of this. It was a plateful of badness . My dish consisted of a few flakes of salty seitan and millet cooked stuck together and a bunch of raw vegetables oh and the cooked lentils with a dash of no flavour. The flavour was so bad I could not even finish my dish and think it costed 40 euro whats like a good vintage dress. You know sometimes u know that somewhere will be bad before u even go in. I had that feeling. The interior was a big hippy mess and it was so depressing that if I stayed any longer I would have started screaming. I even looked out the window at a meaty restaurant wishing I was having whatever they were having because this meal was so bad.After this fiasco I had to buy a baguette in the street and stuff it with the vegan sausages I was toting around in my purse. Never again. If you are family to a rabbit and u like your food with no flavour at all and you like feeling zen go here. What is up with vegan restaurants thinking everyone is a hippy.I do not want to feel stereotypically vegan I just want to have a regular restaurant experience is that too hard to ask for.
Our first night in Paris bought us to Loving Hut which is chain in the states too. The menu is different as it is very French and Asian. Hubby and I got an appetizer which was like a fried dough like a protein nugget. This was not very good but after the server bought out a different batch of a different recipe and it was a bit better. Not so nice appetizer. The main course was some brochettes or kebabs of seitan and tofu which was great and some pasta. It had a pretty nice flavour. The winner was the pear cake. This is the best vegan cake I ever had. This was rich and moist and my sexy dinner date and I competed for this great dessert. The server was very kind and there was some addictive tv that was showing that made me feel very zen.
Le Potager du Marais
I stayed in Marais which is known for its gay community. This neighbourhood was clean and it is a great hub to all the sights of Paris. We choose this because it was close to at least 3 vegan restaurants so that we did not have to go too far at night. One of the oldest mostly vegan restaurants in Paris is called Le Potager du Marais. It is very tiny and when you enter the waitress tucks u into your seat so you are basically locked in for the night. If you wanna go to pee you would have to move the table. It is small you get it. But do not let the size fool you. This place packs great French style vegan meals. I choose the special for the night which was a moussaka. Mine is way better but this was just ok as it needed more flavour and they used some large white unflavored tvp for the meat. Not a good choice at all. Even with that the dish was still good. My husband had Seitan bourguignon which was super but he was pissed as he got 4 pieces of seitan. The dessert was a let down as it was tarte tatin which is an open faced apple pie. Way too strong in flavour for something that should be light warm and filling at the same time. Hubby liked it as it tasted like the one he grew up eating but I am only familiar with the Americanized Apple Pie. In general this was a great restaurant and we will go back to this one again when we are in Paris.
Saveurs Veget Halles
We went here twice for lunch as it was within our reach. The food here is very good and healthy but not in that health nut hippy kind of way. Most meals are lower sodium but they give all sorts of condiments to add after. Even if the food was a little low on sodium it packs flavour and creativity. This place is mostly vegan but there could be one or two vegetarian options on the menu. The wait staff was a bit uhhh how should I say this in a nice way bourgeois rude especially the manager. I only realised this after the second time eating there or I would not have gone back just because of this reason. They have a formule which is a lunch special for about 12 euro and u can get a starter and main course or a pre=”a “>maincourse and dessert. My husband choose the starter to share with me and I choose the dessert to share with him. Their starters are very good. The soup aux poireux was delicious ( leek soup). It was the best I ever had. They do alot of things with dikon and mushrooms and my husband had a plate with some kind of pate with some grain. He loved it. I had a cous cous “>cous plate with a vegan chicken kebab and a piece of seitan. The cous cous was ok but the seitan and meat were great. The dessert was not the best but u could tell it was healthy and that is an extra point to them. I would go back if they changed management. I do not tolerate shitty reception and then expect me to pay your salary.
La Victoire Supreme du Coeur
With a name like that you would never expect this to be a vegetarian restaurant. I loved my dining experience. I did not remember I was vegan . I felt like if I was dining in a regular restaurant. Now to the food. The food was not as good as I am use to when I dine in vegan restaurants in NYC but it was great. What stole the show was their fine desserts. This restaurants wins the best fine dining vegan desserts and you will see why. My husband had a seitan burger and potatoes. His comment “not great but ok”. I choose a seitan scallop with some vegan mushroom cream sauce. The dessert was a Matcha Cream something I never had served with fresh red berry sauce, then a vegan jelly mould of something called marron and then the most delicious hard cake I ever had. It was 4 delicious bites that worked so well together. I wanted to have it again but I was embarrassed to ask for another dessert. The service was not fine at the start as we had a different server. The other server the guy(not the one with the tatoo in the neck) was very friendly and came for follow up comments on the dessert since we were not familiar with Matcha cream. The environment is lively and hip and great food odours pervade the atmosphere.
This was the best restaurant I went to in Paris
Another one to go to is The Gentle Gourmet which I think would be better than all the rest since it is a vegan hotel that serves you a bog vegan breakfast on mornings. I just have a hunch. Google it as they have the site in english too.
Overall Paris and France is fairly vegan friendly but the ethical eating scene is not totally developed yet from my week of observation. These restaurants are basically made for ppl watching their weight and health.There is a great selection of organic vegan foods and fruits and veg in France. My favourite was vegan pate by Tartex and the smoked ham by Wheaty. Yum Yum.