If you tell a French person you don’t eat meat, they will feed you chicken. If you politely remind that French person that you do not, in fact, eat meat…they will stare vacantly at you then probably feed you fish. How my mum eventually explained it to my very French dad AND convinced him that bringing up children vegetarian was a good idea I’ll never know, but I’m apparently here to tell the tale. Meat is embedded into the French consciousness; lunch and dinner are almost always a meat and two veg – and bread, and cheese, and wine – affair. After eating literally nothing but baguettes and croissants for three days (do NOT try this at home), I’ve scoured Paris for its finest food sans la viande so you don’t end up in a carb-induced food coma for your entire trip. Here are my top tips:
Gourmet burgers are such a THING right now – and Paris isn’t left out, creating what it claims to be the first 100% vegetarian fast food joint in the capital. With burgers of various types of vegetarian steaks – they manage to find French variations on tofu steak – as well as veggie hot dogs, nuggets and croquettes as well as mouth-watering desserts like Spéculoos tarts, a meal deal with a burger, side and drink is only €10 – bargain or what?!
www.eastsideburgers.fr, 60 Boulevard Voltaire, 75011 Paris
Nearest Metro Stop: Voltaire
100% vegan, 0% weird and gross, 100% delicious. It’s a little pricier, but not unreasonable for its organic produce and stunningly presented dishes. Sweet potato tartlets, kale chips and cold-pressed juices – it’s the healthy vegan foodie’s paradise. You absolutely can’t tell the chocolate mousse has no dairy in it – there’s definitely some kind of vegan black magic going on.
www.poussepousse.eu, 5 Rue Notre Dame de Lorette, 75009 Paris
Nearest Metro Stop: Notre–Dame–de–Lorette
Sorry, did someone say a weekend lunch buffet for €24? I’m in. Did someone say roast potatoes with vanilla, vegetarian lasagna and tofu chocolate pudding that might as well be made with Lindt? Just get me there right now. It’s fancy, again a little pricier (but you can make it worth every cent!), but the industrial décor, beautifully presented dishes and innovative food is totally worth it.
20 Rue de la Pierre Levée, 75011 Paris
Nearest Metro Stop: Republique
This is meant to be the best vegetarian joint in Paris – a veggie twist on that classic French cuisine we all love, but are so often denied. Its Parisian charm is endless, it’s all-organic and there’s a full page of vegan options too. Again, hardly cheap, but anyone really into vegetarian food won’t be surprised. I’d probably sell a kidney or a first-born child to eat that spinach lasagna and hummus again, to be honest.
www.lepotagerdumarais.fr, 24 rue Rambuteau, 75003 Paris
Nearest Metro Stop: Rambuteau
This used to be an Australian café called the Tuckshop, and the Aussie in me is devastated to not have tried its Vegemite-y delights – but this is surely just as good. More than half of the menu is vegetarian – and with treats like goat’s cheese, avocado and cranberry baguettes and carrot and comté muffins as well home-made granola and carrot cake, it looks like the current version of this café will be a huge hit.
www.lepoutch.fr, 13 Rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010 Paris
Nearest Metro Stop: Jaques Bonsergent
The ultimate hipster joint. It’s part or a range of eateries that this mysterious ‘Bob’ has created – a bake shop, a kitchen, a cold press – he’s the father of hip manifestation in Pareeeeee. The juice is all cold pressed, there are vegan milkshakes, avocado bagels and drip-filtered coffee for the caffeine snobs. What more could you want? It’s next to Le Poutch – did someone say the DREAM TEAM of brunches?!
www.bobsjuicebar.com, 15 Rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010 Paris
Nearest Metro Stop: Jaques Bonsergent
This is English-themed, so maybe I’m cheating a bit, but it was too delicious to ignore. Run by a French-British couple, the bakery/café/ultimate brunch joint in Pigalle, right near the Moulin Rouge, is unbelievable. The big problem here is that you want to try everything; too many homemade cakes to decide between will really take their toll. A little pizzette is crispy and not too guilt-inducing, and I wanted to cry at the mere sight of the carrot cake. This is what dreams are made of.
46 Rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris (Also – for those across the Channel, Rose has brought her bakery to London if you just can’t wait! It’s on Dover Street.)
Nearest Metro Stop: Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
If you’re lucky enough to be staying somewhere in Paris where you can cook, I’m afraid we can’t be friends as I’m incredibly jealous of you. However, you won’t need pals when you can make friends with second-to-none French produce that won’t even take a toll on the wallet. Obviously every market will be filled to the brim with beautiful vegetables, but may I humbly recommend the Marché Couvert des Batignolles? As well as your standard market stalls where you’ll find unbelievable fruit, veggies, cheese and bread, there are amazing vegetarian dining areas and smoothie stalls in this beautiful old covered market. Don’t miss it.
Nearest Metro Stop: Brochant
Check out flights to Paris now.
- Mathilda Edwards