Paris is known for many things (The Lourve, the magic of a lit Eiffel Tower, endless fashion, bottles of impeccable wine, and how could I forget, pomme frites!), but hardly ever is it synonymous with being vegan friendly. This may have been true historically in a country whose cultural foods are ripe with animal products, but today the city has become quite easy to navigate as a vegan - that is if you know where to look…
Before my husband and I jetted off to Europe for our September getaway, I spent hours researching vegan friendly restaurants, groceries, and shoppes. Friends and family constantly filled my head with stories of how hard it would be for me to eat in Paris (compounded by the fact that I am gluten-free), but I was pleasantly surprised by what I discovered. With a little bit of pre-planning and good ole’ google, I was able to compile a list of coffee shops, restaurants, and cafes that offered vegan delights. I am a meticulous planner (I’m talking maps, lists, etc), but the extra leg work was worth it to land in Paris ready to conquer allll that food, and wine…did I mention wine?!
Paris, I was SO ready for you!
Guess what? The trip was a success and I never starved. On the contrary, I delighted in each meal and treat that I enjoyed in Paris and I can’t wait to go back! To pay it forward, I wanted to share a handful of the vegan friendly and even GF spots I visited during my time in Paris.
The biggest take-away? Do your research, explore and ask about plant-based options at unlikely restaurants, and don’t hesitate to hit up a local grocery and the farmers market for fresh fruits and veggies. Worse case, theres always pommes frites and wine - my go to late afternoon snack!
I discovered so many gems and stumbled upon a city whose vegan movement is growing, rapidly. I left hopeful that if a city like Paris can encourage plant-based food, it is possible anywhere. Enjoy!
Aujourd’hui Demain, 42 rue du Chemin Vert Paris 11E
Ajourd’hui Demain (which translates to “Today Tomorrow”) is part concept store, part grocery, and equal parts fabulous cafe. The central ethos of the store is ethical plant-based living with an eclectic flare - and I loved it! We went for a lovely Saturday brunch and the food was a unique take on breakfast classics - wholesome, hearty, and delicious. Luckily we arrived before brunch started, which allowed us to poke around the shop. The store hosts many well known vegan apparel, shoe, cosmetic, and accessory brands, as well as a few new names I haven’t seen before in the states!
The grocery portion of the store is jam packed with vegan snack goods, baking supplies, and cooking necessities. It’s a hidden vegan destination in Paris (at least for non-Parisian tourists like me) and I recommend you check it out and spend a leisurely morning there. Arrive early for weekend brunch, because it gets busy!
2. Chambelland, 14 rue Ternaux 75011 Paris
Located in the heart of the old Popincourt village area of Paris, the team of bakers and pastrycooks bake exclusive recipes using rice and other flours, all of which are naturally gluten-free. In a city that prides itself on the most authentic baguettes in the world, this gluten-free paradise allows everyone to enjoy world class breads.
I packed 2 loaves of GF bread from home with the intention of not being able to find any decent GF bread while in Paris (like I said, I’m a planner), but this boulangerie really delivered. We only had time to pop in once during our stay, but it was worth the early morning walk to pick up fresh baked focaccia bread and steaming cups of espresso.
On the walk back to our airbnb in Le Marais, we swung through a farmers market for ripe berries, avocados, and leafy greens. The abundance of fresh produce was unlike any other I have seen at similar markets in NYC. We found all the ingredients for our lunch in Place de Vosges later in the day.
Next time, I’ll leave my packaged breads at home and plan to stock up on warm from the oven baguettes, focaccia, and other breads from Chambelland. They also offer pastries and sandwiches, but these are not vegan. Go for the breads, you wont regret it!
3. Le Potager du Marais, 27 rue Rambuteau 75003 Paris
Le Potager du Marais was the one dinner spot my husband and I agreed we could not pass-up during our time in Paris. Located a short walk from our airbnb, we booked a reservation for a week-day evening (absolutely email or call to make a reservation in advance if you can. When we arrived there was a line to get inside and people were being turned away)! Thanks to our reservation, we were seated promptly by the front window, where we enjoyed a view of the bustling Parisian sidewalks outside. Most importantly, the food was delicious. So too was the wine!
Le Potager adapts traditional French cuisine in a vegan style with countless gluten-free menu options. The food was light, delicate, and authentic while being entirely plant-based and using 100% seasonal ingredients. We fell in love with the food and the fact that we could enjoy traditional French dishes without causing animal suffering - a win, win! Plus the restrooms were filled with vegan activism flyers, stickers, and swag. This vegan, truly felt at home!
4. Shakespeare & co., 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris
Founded by American George Whitman, Shakespeare and Company is an English-language bookshop in the heart of Paris, on the banks of the Seine, in the hip Latin-Quarter. Since opening in 1951, it’s been a meeting place for anglophone writers and readers, becoming a Left Bank literary institution.
More recently in 2015, the renowned bookshop opened an adjacent cafe. My husband, brother, and I sat outside and enjoyed iced lattes on a hot September afternoon (with soy milk!) and discussed our bookshop purchases (make sure you ask for the special book stamp!).
The cafe also serves fresh and imaginative and light cafe fare from Bob’s Bake Shop - like hand-rolled bagels, American-style baked goods, and vegan and gluten-free dishes. I recommend swinging by for an afternoon of vegan friendly treats, coffee’s, and some book discovery.
Other Vegan Travel Tips:
If you are staying somewhere that has a kitchen space, I highly recommend grocery shopping. We made most of our lunches and ate them as picnics in various parks around the city (it’s SO Parisian to do). We also cooked dinner 1 or 2 nights and made sure to stock up on snacks and wine! Naturalia grocery stores are all over the city and offer an abundance of vegan substitutes to meat and dairy, as well as GF and organic brands and produce.
Pack mini alternatives to dairy, like soy milk. I bought a case of Silk Vanilla juice-boxed sized soy milks on Amazon and packed 4-6 in my checked bag. They were a life-saver!
The biggest take-away, vegans CAN and WILL enjoy Paris! With a little pre-planning and a willingness to ask questions, you will be amazed at the abundance of vegan friendly options. Enjoy!