P A R I S.
A city we all dream of visiting. Or at least I have.
But I must say I’ve never been in a rush to go. I always thought a trip to this beautiful place would be later on in my life. In a world where I’m a married woman and am spending this journey with my husband of 5+ years right before I pop out some kids, haha. Wonderfully, I ended up here sooner than planned!
It’s funny. The timeline for our lives that we imagine. We never know when anything will happen, how it will happen, etc. And I guess that’s the joi in it all. Life is so beautiful. So unexpected. Just trust and flow!!!
If you couldn’t tell by now, I like to think of myself as a pretty adventurous person. I love exploring new worlds. And, if I must admit, mostly for the food. My passion for food is engraved so deeply within my veins. And it brings my lust for life all the way out. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Food and culture. Experiencing that in different places brings me so much happiness!
Now to my trip…
Well. Wasn’t much planning going on. Who books a trip to Europe only a week and a half in advanced? Uh. Me. Told you I’m adventurous. Or am I just so excited about life I’ll just stop and go anywhere? Either way, as soon as it became REAL, I skipped right past any “sight seeing” plans and went straight to “Okay. But what am I going to eat?”
My trip to Asia last year was truly life changing. But one thing I am mindful of now when it comes to traveling is the food. Not being able to eat properly while on a vacation is no fun. On that trip, I lost so much weight, had many frustrating times and wasn’t always happy with my lack of food choices. I thought it wold be easy but it wasn’t. So, for Paris, the first thing I looked into was the vegan food. I found some articles. Not many. Mostly writers saying they just ate lots of baguette. One even said that she had to order a sandwich with meat and cheese only to take them off once received. Because apparently the French chefs aren’t too accommodating when it comes to making changes on their menus. This freaked me out! I DO NOT want to eat bread from a sandwich that cheese and meat got the chance to “marinate” in. NO WAY. I then resorted to Facebook for advice. Most (which were only a few) responses were just about really good falafel and going to the market once there. Okay. At least there are possible options.
Of course I had to search for some vegan restaurants. And there were some! Although I planned on making my way to as many vegan restaurants as possible, I was also aware that I would end up at omni restaurants at times because of the people I’d be with. THAT was my main concern. What do I do in THAT situation? If the chefs don’t make adjustments, what will I do then? My mind went straight to Asia. My days of just going with the flow and not eating well. I cannot go through this again!
BUT how GOOD God is. He always provides and takes care of me. Even in the moments I want to complain, He really does always make sure I have something. Even if it’s just a little. Or simple. And maybe sometimes I need to go through that to appreciate it all. So was I afraid? No. Because I knew He’d make a way. I’d say I was a little nervous though and so was my tummy. WHAT WILL I EAT?
All in all, I didn’t really get clear answers from people and the articles were scarce. So how did I do it? Let me tell you!….
THE PLANE RIDE. We took British Airways powered by American Airlines. I requested for a special “veggie” meal (VGML) a couple days in advanced. On this particular flight, the veggie meal offered may or may not be vegan, I was told. Once on the plane, I received a completely vegan AND yummy (for airplane food) meal! It was “vegan red curry vegetables with steamed rice.” Man. I love when a title includes “vegan” in it! *inserts heart eyes.* It also came with a salad with olive oil as well as a fruit bowl! I was SO grateful and happy!
For my second meal, they served us breakfast. I received dairy blueberry yogurt. No thank you! I also received a pack of cookies. I assumed they had eggs and milk in them. I almost gave them away but thank God I didn’t! To my surprise, something told me to look at them. They were both vegan AND gluten free. These little lemon shortbread cookies were SO SO good! I even asked for seconds (which unfortunately I didn’t get). This was super inspiring to me to taste some delicious vegan and gluten free cookies on my plane ride. The fact that they were even an option! If whoever the creators of this company can spread health and compassion so tastefully in such a way as this, so can I.
OFF THE PLANE!! I was so so hungry. It was cold, rainy, oh, and cold. March in Paris. Not the best time maybe for the weather! The first thing I wanted when I got to Paris was a baguette. And that I did!! Fresh from the bakery first thing that morning. I got the biggest, longest one and stuffed it in my mouth. So so good.
My first impression of gluten in Paris? Although I’m not gluten intolerant; like most people in the US I am definitely sensitive to it. My digestive system and my body as a whole does react a different way when I consume it. In a way that I can feel or see. When I ate this WHOLE baguette, THERE WAS NOT ONE CHANGE IN MY BODY. Actually, it got to day 3 or 4 in Paris and I finally thought: whoa I’ve been eating a lot of gluten and it hasn’t affected me at all. That’s when I realized the quality of the food is just different here!
Restaurant SANS GENE BATIGNOLLES was my first dining experience. It clearly wasn’t marked “vegan.” But it was close and hunger had fallen upon me. Yes, I was nervous. Time to put it all to the test. To my surprise, they had a VEGAN ITEM MARKED ON THE MENU! Pad thai! I ordered that and some fries. It was SO good. Very different though. It was thai inspired but with a fusion of fresh French flavor. And the fries? Shockingly amazing. Our waiter spoke some English, too! And was so friendly…cracking jokes everywhere. Wow. What a great way to start! The meal WAS kind of pricey though. 15 Euros for the pad thai. The French do not tip at restaurants like we do though so I guess it kind of evens out. I accidentally left my leftovers at the restaurant and was so sad about it. It was that good! I definitely recommend this place for the pad thai and fries. It’s great if you are traveling with omnis so that everyone can eat what they want! The waiter spoke enough English**
SEASONS. A cool, hip place that kinda felt like back home! Same vibe and aesthetic as something you’d find in Los Angeles. Although not a completely vegan place, they do offer both vegan and gluten free options. You can find healthy juices and french coffees as well. They have a full on restaurant on one side and next door is the “to-go” shop which serves smaller bites and has a cafe feel. I got the avocado toast- which was SO SO GOOD! I don’t know if it’s because my body was just craving something fresh…something green..(yeah probably) but that toast was really good. And I loved that they give you 3. I also got an acai bowl! When it comes to portion and size, it is slightly different from what I’m used to. The portion was small and the acai wasn’t very cold. But nonetheless, I was grateful to be eating FRUIT! And things that are gooood for me!! I’m not a coffee drinker but, when in France…yes…it was DELICIOUS. The employee who took my order spoke English**
HANK VEGAN BURGER. I read that this was a must place to eat at. I honestly didn’t have high expectations. I’m not a huuge fan of fake meat. I figured this would just be a soy and gluten patty that would make my tummy hurt and just be my “junk food” for the day! When you walk in, this place is what you would imagine a vegan-parisian-burger joint looking like! It’s pretty small. The cash register and the guy flipping burgers are only a foot apart. There are both a regular vegan burger patty AND a vegan gluten free patty. There are different “styles/toppings” and names for them. I got the “Alfalfa burger” on a regular patty with fries, or ‘frites’, a cookie AND a bottled water. Combo meal! How cool is that? It was only 14 Euros! We were told to wait upstairs for our names to be called thru a speaker. THIS PLACE IS SO COOL. The upstairs felt like you were in college and this was the bar that you and all of your closest friends hang out in. It feels very tight knit and hip. The wood benches with tables, the dimmed lights and the cool music was such a great feel. It was warm and so comfortable.
Now to the food. O.M.G. I kid you not, I would eat like 5 of those combo meals RIGHT NOW. It would be a dangerous situation if I lived even a mile from that place. The alfalfa burger was SO yummy, So fresh, and the BREAD WAS SO GOOD. This patty was nothing “fake”. Just full of flavor and happiness! The fries were soo good too! They are like potato wedges and have a home cooked taste. PERFECTLY SEASONED! And that cookie. What I thought was just gonna be a dry, over sweet, stale cookie- was really a soft, gooey, melt-in-your-mouth-omg-whatamieatingpleasehelp situation. YES to Hank Burger. This is indeed a must go spot for the price, the food, and the vibe in that place. My must go to place from now on!! There is also a Hank Vegan Pizza that I will be checking out during my next visit! The employee taking my order spoke enough English**
TAMARIND, a thai restaurant had a lot of stars and great reviews. I saw a couple yelp reviewers rave about the vegetarian menu. Although vegan and vegetarian are different, I knew it was worth the try! And that a vegetarian menu also possibly meant the absence of fish sauce. Their vegetarian menu was indeed very nice. On my first visit, I ordered pad thai, spring rolls and mango sticky rice for dessert. AND YES! I spoke some of the thai that I knew. Explaining that I am vegan and don’t want egg. Our waitress was very impressed haha. It was fun speaking a little french, thai and then english all at once. Our waitress spoke english pretty well! The spring rolls were SO good! The pad thai wasn’t the best in the world but the option was great. The mango sticky rice was DEEElish. A few days later, I went back. This time I ordered papaya salad, the spring rolls (again), and vegetable fried rice. Did I say I really like their spring rolls? The papaya salad was cool. Wasn’t spicy how I like it. But again, a great fresh option to have. They are a winner for sure. This is another great place to go to if you are with omnivores since there is something for everyyyybody! BUT, make a reservation in advance if possible. This place is small and fills up quickly with people who’ve made their reservations in advance. It’s a very cute, intimate place. Waitress spoke English, other workers did not.
Oh, CAP 99. It is an Afro-caribbean restaurant. I went knowing that worse come to worse, I can always fill up on plantains and rice! Well, they actually had a small yet perfect vegetarian menu. For 15 Euros, you get an avocado salad, 1 out of the 3 all-vegan entrees, and a non vegan cookie, haha. The avocado salad was so fresh and good! Perfect avos and crisp greens! After hearing I’m vegan, the chef made a special salad dressing for me with lemon and ovoo. My favorite! I thought that that was so sweet. As an entree, I got ‘maffe’ which is a peanut based soup, alongside plantains and rice. I also got the most delicious-homemade-african hot sauce ever. I put it in the soup to add a kick and lower the bitterness. GAME CHANGER. Between this, the rice and the plantains (which were the best I’ve ever had in LIFE), I can still taste this meal. I want it. Now. Right now. This place is the bomb for their lowkey vegan options. A couple days later, I went back and got the curry vegetable soup entree. That was great as well. The chef also makes a coconut cream sauce that will have you so happy. This is another great place to go to when you’re with omnivores. That way everyone is satisfied! It has a nice setting. It’s small, warm, with customer art-work and thank you’s everywhere. The lights are dimmed and you feel like you’re actually in Africa at a restaurant. The owner, an African man, also waited on us. The owner spoke English**
Brasserie Lola. I AM SO HAPPY THAT I FOUND THIS PLACE. I won’t tell you how I got there. Let’s just say….I ended up in Paris alone for 2 days…yeah…not gonna get into it. Roaming the Paris streets alone and tired from the night before, I trecked my suitcase with my hair wrapped looking for something to do. I ended up in a neighborhood I hadn’t yet explored in the 14th arr. Searching for food, I found this GEM. AN ALL VEGAN- BUT LOOKS LIKE A REGULAR COOL RESTAURANT! “Vegan” wasn’t plastered all over the place. It looked like all of the other super cute/frenchie brasseries, if not cuter. I wanted something “different” so I got their version of a BLT. Stacked eggplant, zucchini, and peppers layered inside yummy bread and served with fries and a fresh green salad. Probably wasn’t the best option for me to get seeing as though those aren’t my favorite vegetables. But it was good. I also got 2 coffees with soymilk. Haven’t had soy milk in soy long. They were so so good!! I don’t drink alcohol…but when in Paris…the happy rose was delicious.
The next day, I went back and got the pad thai, more frites maison and a perrier…well, because, I’m in France. THIS PAD THAI IS ABOUT TO BRING ME TO TEARS. WHY didn’t I order it the night before? I didn’t want it to end. That was one of the best things to ever hit my tastebuds. Seriously. Their spin on it is so good. I would fly all the way back just to eat this one more time. OR maybe stay. And eat it. Forever.
To make it better, all of the staff is very FRIENDLY. I interacted with at least 4 or 5 during my visits and all were helpful and happy. AND the owner is an African-French man. Case closed.. inspiration. (Some of you may understand why that may be, if not- keep scrolling lol) He was also actually working and waiting tables. How often do we see that? Love this spot. It feels fancy at night and nice casual during the day. The prices are great. Definite winner. The owner spoke english as well as one of the waitresses*
WILD AND THE MOON. Another place with an LA vibe. This cute place is completely raw, vegan and gluten free! There are refrigerator doors filled with fresh juices, hummus, guacamole, cocoa balls (yum!!) and more. The menu is small. It’s mostly just healthy snacks and light meals. I go\t a delicious avocado/cucumber sandwhich on their chia bread! So good! Their guac was fresh and healthy and served with chia chips. I also got an acai bowl and a fresh lemon/ginger juice! This meal felt so good for my body. This place is a great option and a nice break away from any vegan struggles you may be having while travelling Paris. Prices weren’t anything TOO crazy for what you get. *Most of the workers speak English
Now I did have a couple unpleasant experiences.
LOVING HUT for dinner. I’ve heard about this chain restaurant before. I’m not a huge fan of “chain” anything but it’s vegan so how bad can it be. The menu online looked good and I was craving something yummy. Unfortunately, once we got there, I found the menu to be very limited. Limits are cool but when the options aren’t that great, it doesn’t work. It was filled with soy protein meat all throughout. Like literally in every item. It took me forever to finally pick something out because I couldn’t believe that I was just reading the same things over again. That’s how limited it was! Unenthusiastically, I settled for textured protein-filled sushi, a chz burger and fries. It was okay. The fries were the best part. The cheeseburger tasted like fakeness and all it did was get me full. I also tried some little crispy chicken bites. They were so gross. BUT this place was poppin’ and full of people. It got REALLY busy so quickly. We almost didn’t get a table because we didn’t have a reservation! So maybe the locals love it. But this girl, and my omni homies did NOT. **Waiter spoke English.
GRAND LUX CAFE is not vegan friendly. There’s not many options at 12 o’clock midnight. In this case, I wish I would have just ordered french fries and kept it moving. I was told that the chef would prepare a plate of veggies for me- as well as some noodles on the side. Okay! How could that go wrong!? Well, it did. The veggies were so gross in flavor. None of it was appetizing. I feel like they took these veggies out of meat dishes and put them on my plate. One bite of the green beans, and it literally tasted like an animal. AKA butter. OMGSH. But I remained calm and tried to give the noodles a chance. One bite and I couldn’t even trust it. What is all of this? Not good. Even the omnis didn’t enjoy their food. I ended up getting 2 orders of french fries to repair my suffering. And the worst part of it all? This was the most expensive meal of my whole trip. Over 40 Euros. For gross food. UGH, YUCK. Lesson learned. Don’t go here.
FELIXIO. It was very groooovy inside. Music themed! Photos of Jimmy Hendrix, The Beatles and Diana Ross were only some of the cool photos posted around this cute place. Pink and purple everywhere! Here, I ordered a salad. Which ended up just being a bowl of lettuce. Yes, just a few pieces of leaves. I asked for tomatoes or SOMETHING. A few slices cost me 2 Euros. The salad was (I don’t remember exactly) but very expensive for a small bowl of just greens! French fries to the rescue again! No to the baguette since I was told they had put butter on it. Delicious drinks. The struggle of a vegan in a nonvegan place strikes again. Great decor, very friendly waitress but a no-go for a cruelty free lifestyle. *Waitress didn’t speak English
- There are markets everywhere with fresh fruits and veggies. Go get a baguette, avocados and some fruit to keep as snacks throughout the day! ( warning: the fruits are surprisingly expensive. well, more than they would be in the US)
- I saw the word “legumes” everywhere and thought, “I don’t see any lentils…” Legumes actually means vegetables! A good word to see!
- The French people who speak English do not understand the word “dairy.” Don’t try it. You won’t get anywhere. Use their word for it, which I never learned but google will help you!
- In worse case scenario, order FRITES MAISON. AKA: French fries. They are served everywhere and they taste so so good. *Don’t be ashamed to order more than 2 orders 😉
- Chocolate!!! I stumbled into a chocolate shoppe and tried a bunch of different ones. I don’t remember the name of the place but I am sure that any nice chocolate shoppe in Paris will do the trick. Please GO! Ask for which ones have no milk/are vegan and give them a try. SERIOUSLY SOOO GOOD!!!
- Now normally, I would spend lots of time learning the language in regards to food when traveling to a new place. But with in this case, I really didn’t have the time. The most I learned is “Je suix vegetalien” Which means “I am vegan.” Once I got there, I just used a translator on my phone to communicate! A lot of the people speak at least a little English there and it’s not as hard to communicate as I thought it would be.
- There are also SOO many vegan places I did not get a chance to try. Even fully vegan dessert shoppes! I look forward to going back and exploring it all again.
- Cash. I brought less than $100 and got it exchanged just for spending/ to have on me. We also used an American Express card to avoid foreign transaction fees. I suggest you bring cash as well as a debit or credit card for safety. They may not take your specific card at some places, so cash will come in handy and you don’t want a bunch of fees as well!
- I don’t take Uber in the States, but in Paris it was great to use and quick to get around. The weather was harsh so there was no other choice. Next time, I will use the train (which seems very helpful) if the weather permits!
Paris stole my heart. It is so beautiful and it feels like you’re in a movie. I am so grateful for the food I got to eat to nourish myself. Make the most of your trip and eat your heart out! You can be cruelty free anywhere.
Until the next adventure,