Places to go: Paris
Aurelia d'Andrea, author of Vegetarian Paris, has spent the better part of four years getting intimately acquainted with the City of Light's plant-based dining possibilities.
Paris, France. Just whisper those two little words and a flash of vivid images spring to mind: the Eiffel Tower, boulangeries redolent with the yeasty aroma of warm baguettes, sidewalk cafés. Between 2012 and 2013, a half-dozen new vegetarian restaurants opened in Paris, and the trend is continuing, with several meat-free eateries launching in 2014.
The owners of charming restaurant Café Ginger are trying to go vegan, so they revamped their previously vegetarian menu into a totally egg- and dairy-free affair. Formules (set menus) include a selection of daily tarts, salads, soups and desserts. Chocolate lovers mustn't miss the decadent chocolate 'slab' if it's on offer. Organic wine and fresh juices are available, and gluten-free options. One of the owners is English and, if he's on hand, can help explain the menu.
Trendy vegetarian dining spot Café Pinson has opened two locations in less than a year. A lot of money went into creating a chic, homey ambience at their first in the Northern Marais. Sunday brunch is an event, but regulars come for a relaxing lunch or dinner that might include a raw gazpacho; sautéed rice with mushrooms, pistachios and miso-ginger sauce; and apricot tart with cardamom cream. Their second location in the 10th arrondissement, a neighbourhood with nine other vegetarian restaurants, also boasts beautifully coiffed interiors and pretty, healthy food options. Plats du jour might include miso soup with mushrooms and smoked tofu, or cauliflower salad with pumpkin seeds and vegan mayo. Desserts feature crumbles, compotes and cakes.
Cooking classes have become the de rigueur holiday activity for adventurous types in Paris. At La Cucina di Terresa, every class and market tour is a full-day experience where you'll learn to prepare divine veg(an) organic meals with culinary master Terresa Murphy. She also offers private table d'hote dinners at her kitchen or yours. Menus vary according to season, but might include an entrée of bruschetta with chard and roast garlic; a main plate of farinata (savoury chickpea cake) with seasonal vegetables and Italian olive oil; a green tomato tart with fresh herbs; and almond blancmange with rhubarb and citrus.
UN MONDE VEGAN sells any packaged vegan comestible you could ever hope for, including food, sweets, cosmetics and shoes.
RUE DES ROSIERS in the Marais has four Jewish falafel takeaways. You can also sit inside and order wine and fries with your sandwich.
VEGAN FOLIE'S in the Latin quarter is an organic all-vegan patisserie with cupcakes, cheesecakes and baguette sandwiches.
Wholefood shop chains NATURALIA, LA VIE CLAIRE and BIO C'BON are all over town and sell salads, sandwiches and quiches to go. CHAMBRES DE LA GRANDE PORTE rents double rooms and apartments to discerning veg travellers at reasonable prices.
Facebook: Café Ginger Paris
Facebook: Café Pinson
La Cucina di Terresa
Facebook: Cucina di Terresa
Un Monde Vegan
Facebook: Un Monde Vegan
Facebook: Vegan Folie's
Chambres de la Grande Porte
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