Being a vegetarian in Paris is enough of a hurdle – being a vegan in the French capital is a whole other matter. How could it not be, given that butter and cheese are the pillars of the national cuisine?
But don’t fear: It’s possible to visit Paris as a vegan and not starve to death (or be forced to subside on sad side salads and pommes frites). What’s more, you can even find veggie-friendly alternatives to some of the city’s classic dishes, so you can have an authentic culinary experience while visiting (or living in) Paris.
I won’t bore you with restaurant and grocery shop recommendations – those are plentiful and easily found, surprisingly enough – and instead will suggest where to find vegan alternatives of the more indulgent items that the city has to offer.
For what’s a trip to Paris without a buttery croissant, decadent Sunday brunch, or beautifully composed pastry?
For Pâtisserie and Petit Déjeuner
VG Pâtisserie – Pâtisserie Végétale
123 Boulevard Voltaire
If a flaky pain au chocolat, tangy tartelette orange, or perfectly moist baba normand is what you’re after, you’ll find at VG Pâtisserie, a vegan bakery located in Paris’ trendy 11th district.
VG Pâtisserie offers vegan (and often gluten-free) versions of all the classic French pastries, from macarons, to viennoiseries, to pâtisseries. While their offerings change from time to time, you will typically find the same selection of traditional treats as you would at any regular pâtisserie, with reasonable prices to match.
There’s even a handful of breakfast menus available if you fancy having a petit dej, which range from the standard croissant and espresso for €3.20 to a spread of pastries, jams, breads, yoghurts, juice, granola, coffee & fresh fruit for €21.
83 Boulevard Ornano
Brunch is practically an institution in Paris – one vegans don’t have to be left out of. One weekend a month, La REcyclerie does a vegan version of their popular weekend brunch. For €22 (€12 for children), one receives one assiette salée, one assiette sucrée, a fresh-pressed juice, and as much coffee, soy milk, French bread & accompaniments as they want.
While the menu changes, you can expect to find goodies like scrambled tofu, rice pudding, salad, flourless chocolate cake, apricot jam, stir-fried vegetables, and avocado cream.
For Cake and Coffee
6 Rue Mandar
Cloud Cakes is a 100% vegan coffeehouse that’s perfect whether you’re after a pancake breakfast, speedy lunch of soup and salad, or afternoon smoothie. That’s not to mention their variety of not-so-typically-French desserts, which include cupcakes, cake slices, muffins & cookies.
In addition to their food menu, Cloud Cakes offers a selection of hot and cold beverages. These range from the standard cappuccino to more unique offerings such as ginger beetroot lattes, matcha lattes, and tiramisu-flavoured steamers made with plant milk.