Every time I go to Paris I forget that it is an oddity to be a vegan there. There are outstanding ingredients– stellar vegetables, the best bread, availability of a huge variety of foods from all over the world...but the French are committed to their meat, fish, eggs, butter and cheese. Fancy restaurants with kitchen inventories and large kitchen staffs sometimes are willing to accommodate. However, smaller bistros with one menu and only a person or two in the kitchen are often unable to prepare a vegan meal. There are exceptions to this, a few I know of are– Le Clown Bar we had an excellent plate of seasonal vegetables and lentils, we were unable to get a reservation at La Tete dans les Olives or Le Comptoir (next trip!) but they seemed undaunted by our request and the underground restaurant, Soul Kitchen Supper Club said vegan would not be a problem but they were not open any of the nights we were in Paris this time.
Don't get the wrong idea, we ate well in Paris!!
There are several vegetarian restaurants in Paris, I have not been to many but we did end up eating a lovely meal in between two exhibits at the Pompidou Museum at Le Potager du Marais. I have heard great things about several others as well. We had a fabulous lunch made up of several small salads and extraordinary multi grain bread at Bread and Roses near the Jardin de Luxembourg. There are many cous cous restaurants where it is easy to eat vegan throughout Paris, a favorite is Chez Omar.
Street food is plentiful and much of it is vegetarian, favorites include the Thyms Sandwich at the Bastille Market, Falafel from L As du Fallafel, Japanese choices from a stand called Taeko at Marche des Enfants Rouge (great Moroccan, Middle Eastern and Italian choices too)– and there is always the option of bread and fruit available on nearly every corner.
On our recent trip we also ate at Le Violon D'Ingres where we started with a perfectly dressed salad, followed by a plate of spring vegetables that included fava beans peas and morels. We ended with a cassis sorbet and fruit. On an earlier trip we they were happy to prepare a memorable vegan meal for us at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon.
Our last night we splurged and ate at Arpege a Michelin 3 star restaurant that is unique in that it has an emphasis on vegetables. They were happy to work with us and forgo dairy as well.
Our meal was made up of lots of tiny courses–
Beet on cracker with chocolate
Potato noodles with herb vinaigrette
Spinach with sesame and bitter orange
Salad with hazelnut butter
Beet and chocolate with balsamic vinegar and spring onion
Yellow beet carpaccio with chervil
Black radish carpaccio with lemongrass
Green radish with caramelized radish and green tea
Baby vegetables with cous cous and cumin
Orange and apple with mint and argon oil
Apple and pineapple with olive oil lime sauce and candy
Already dreaming of our next visit!