Paris for vegetarians

There is a broad range of vegetarian and vegan restaurants to suit all tastes.

Plat vegan - printemps risotto © Gentle GourmetIt’s easy to eat your veggies in Paris! The trend for plant-based food is spreading fast across all kinds of eateries, from canteen-style places to brasseries and fine dining restaurants. Tucked away between the 9th and 10th arrondissements, Veggietown, the capital’s new veg-focused district (baptised thus by the AVF - France’s Association of Vegetarians) is drawing ever-increasing numbers of people.

Trendy vegetarian places

Not far from République, Soya, a trendy canteen, offers organic and vegetarian food with flavours from around the world: mezze, couscous, vegetable lasagna … Just a few streets away is Habile, an Ecotable-labelled restaurant serving original vegetarian and local cuisine, which also has its own clothing brand. For a wholesome meal, try So Nat’, which specializes in Buddha bowls. Seasonal vegetables are skilfully combined with pulses and cereals and served in bowls, with lashings of homemade sauce. It’s a fresh, organic meal, with different recipes depending on the season. And, for porridge lovers, BOL Porridge Bar is the perfect place to sample different kinds of porridge. Chef Alain Ducasse also offers plant-based cuisine at Sapid, using fresh produce from artisans and producters.

A vegan meal

Stuffed tomatoes, French onion soup and Burgundy stew all feature on the menu at the Potager du Marais, which concocts vegan versions of traditional French fare. An equally flavourful eating experience is to be had at the Potager de Charlotte. Sample their crunchy meringues, or try the squash melon with lentils: there is a wide and varied choice of seasonal dishes. Beautiful decor and a cosy setting can be enjoyed at H.O.P.E (Home of Plant Eaters), where all the food is totally plant-based: from delicious Indian ‘daal’ (lentil soup) cooked with vegetables and coconut milk to aubergine ‘pastilla’ (a pie with a flaky pastry shell).

For a brasserie-style dining experience, try La Brasserie Lola or Brasserie 2eme Art: both establishments serve vegan pizzas, burgers, kebabs, risottos and woks at lunchtime and in the evening.

To enjoy a posh vegetarian meal, head to the Gentle Gourmet to sample an array of sophisticated, carefully prepared and colourfully presented dishes that change with the seasons: a feast for the eyes and the palate. Meanwhile, 42 Degrés has come up with the innovative concept of bistronomy-style raw food: veggies packed with flavour and beneficial nutrients. Nothing is ever cooked at a temperature exceeding 42°C. This is the only dining experience of its kind in France.

International flavours

Hankering for a yummy hot-dog? Head straight to Le Tricycle! Their smoked meat-free sausages topped with onion confit, avocado or honey mustard are served with grilled sweetcorn or sweet potato fritters. It’s the ideal place to brunch or lunch. You’ll find the same concept – with an Afro-Caribbean twist – at Jah Jah by Le Tricycle.

Vietnamese food fans should try the Palanche d’Aulac, where the menu includes bo bun and banana flower salad. For a meal on the hoof, Cho Cantine does Vietnamese street food, using local produce to make different permutations of banh mi, pho and bo bun.

If you want an Italian meal, at BigLove, a 100% veggie Neapolitan trattoria with the ambience of a large Italian grocery shop, there’s Manicaretti, a 100% gluten-free trattoria serving organic homemade recipes. Mozzarella di bufala, risotto, lasagne, polenta: youll find a vegetarian version here of all the Italian classics. And if it’s pizza you prefer, both Veg’Art and Hank specialize in making delicious vegan gluten-free pizzas.

Take a trip to South America at Sol Semilla. This highly unusual canteen dishes up all kinds of superfoods alongside pulses, spices and fresh vegetables. Get ready to sample totally new flavours like purple sweetcorn, acai berry ‘caviar’ and the spicy chocolate beverage known as xocolatl. You won’t find a more detox meal anywhere else in the French capital!

And for a real voyage of discovery, head to Saravanaa Bhavan, where you can taste a variety of authentic South Indian delicacies, from ‘dosa’ and ‘appam’ (rice and/or lentil pancakes) to pakoras (fritters) and vegetable curries.

Cheese and sweet treats

If you happen to be in the 11th arrondissement, stop off at Jay & Joy, a paradise for gourmets. The first vegan dairy in France, it sells a wide range of dairy-free cheese, yoghurt and cheesecake (known in the shop as vromage, joyourt and jeesecake) – all of it organic and homemade. Cashewnuts, almonds, coconut milk and fermented rice are the replacement ingredients in these treats, which taste amazingly like the real thing. And, when holiday season rolls around, they even sell joie gras, a vegan equivalent of foie gras.

For those with a sweet tooth, VG Pâtisserie is the perfect place to sample a vegan version of all the classics of French patisserie. Besides the usual croissants, pain au chocolat and pain au raisins, this gourmet heaven also sells St Honoré cake, Fraisier cake, Opéra cake and French macarons.

And here’s a tip for chocolate lovers: the 9th arrondissement is home to Ara Chocolat, a 100% vegan artisan chocolatier. They roast cocoa beans on the premises to make their own spreads, bars and praline frosting.

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