Oct 4th, 2015, 02:27 PM

A Vegan's Guide to Paris

By Daniela Moreno
Brasserie Lola, a vegan restaurant in Paris
Paris, oh Paris, where to begin? With your ham-and-cheese filled cuisine, it’s no wonder vegans feel abandoned and frustrated in your city.

France is the land of baguettes, café au lait, 35-hour work weeks, two-hour lunches, and Michelin five-star restaurants. With the focus so heavily on food, you would expect the French would have come a long way when it comes to vegan dining. Think again.

While the rest of Europe has followed the American trend towards vegan diets, the French once again refuse to embrace a growing trend. This stubbornness is, of course, one of the many things we love about the French. One day when the Japanese are speaking English and Spanish and the Chinese are eating hot dogs and pizza, the French will still be sitting on café terraces at lunch drinking rosé and smoking cigarettes while contemplating plates of coq au vin.

Paris, oh Paris, where to begin? With your ham-and-cheese filled cuisine and headstrong chefs, it’s no wonder vegans feel abandoned and frustrated when dining in your city. I have been a vegetarian for the past ten years and a vegan for the past three years. Never in my life have I been given the strange looks I get in Paris when ordering coffee with soy milk -- café au lait soya. There are a few exceptions, you just have to do your research. Or head to Starbucks were soymilk is available.

While I personally didn’t go out of my way to track down these vegan gems, I did do a considerable amount of research that I can share with fellow vegans, vegetarians or anyone wanting to enjoy a healthy meal in Paris.

There are several vegetarian restaurants in Paris that serve vegan dishes and a small handful of 100% vegan restaurants. But before you settle for Loving Hut, hold your horses and head over to the Bastille to the Gentle Gourmet.  Everything on the menu is vegan and truly remarkable -- from their faux gras and seitan à l’orange to Dijon Tofu. I recommend you go with family or friends so you can try several things. The vegan Caesar salad is excellent and, if you’re lucky, they’ll be serving the Chocolat Bavarian. On Sundays do not miss the Gentle Gourmet’s brunch. You will need reservations, isn’t that a good sign?  (Gentle Gourmet24 Boulevard de La Bastille, Paris, 7512) 

Here are some other places you may consider trying: 

My Kitch’n

Located in the Batignolles district, the menu is vegan and organic and features items like veggie sandwiches, sushi burrito, salad, hot dogs, and risotto. Serves beer and organic wine, bespoke cocktails with a personal twist. My personal favorite, the mushroom risotto. (My Kitch'n: 82 rue Lemercier, Paris, 75017)


Un Monde Vegan

Un Monde Vegan, meaning "a vegan world," is a 100% vegan retail shop in Paris as well as an online store. It features a wide range of products including packaged and chilled foods, faux meats, vegan cheese, snacks and chocolates. Also has nutritional supplements, food for animals, vegan shoes and accessories, eco-friendly cleaning and bodycare products. Established in Paris 2009, this is my take-out supermarket in Paris.  (Un Monde Vegan: 64 rue Notre Dame de Nazareth, Paris, 75003).


Brasserie Lola

I'm saving the best for last. This might be one of my favorite vegan places in Paris. A French brasserie that is all vegan, opened in October 2014. Offers house-made food like burgers, pad Thai, and sandwiches in addition to vegan ice cream, plus wine, cocktails, and ice tea. I suggest you come for happy hour any try the amazing drinks they have, followed by dinner. Below is a picture I took myslef of a veggie rissoto, a vegan banana split and a rasberry mule.  (Brasserie Lola: 99 rue du Théâtre, 75015, Paris). 


Between work, studying and pleasure, I travel a lot. There are so many great things to see in Paris, you just might forget to eat. But I’d say it's the hardest place I’ve ever tried to eat as a vegan. However, it’s still worth exploring these places. 

Bon Apetit!

[Photos: Happy Cow and Daniela Moreno]

See also in Peacock Magazine: "Visit Hank for Vegan Burgers in Le Marais".