One of my absolute favourite things about living in London is how easy it is to head out for a weekend adventure. I especially love rail travel. It is so much easier than going to the airport, plus I could stare out a train window for hours. My partner and I had a Friday booked off work so we decided to take the Eurostar to one of our shared favourite cities, Paris. (Skip to the end for recommendations)
This was my third time in Paris and second time as a vegan so I did have some idea of what there was on offer, though I was taken aback when I first had a look at happycow.com and saw just how many vegan places were in central Paris, how to choose?! I suppose having too many vegan restaurants to try while on holiday is a pretty good problem to have.
Hopefully this post will help those who are in the same predicament that I was, not knowing where to start. If you are not into reading through this diary style blog, scroll to the bottom and I will list my recommendations without all the wordiness.
As we both had Friday off work, we booked a train for midday (so I could get the dog out for a run to ensure he was not insane when our lovely dog sitter arrived) and were set to arrive in Paris around 5pm. I am not one to spend extra money to travel in luxury (I once spent a week in a 32 bed dorm in Australia) but it was an extra 10 pounds to travel in Standard Premier and it came with a small meal and a drink. So we decided for 10 pounds, we may as well travel in comfort! The vegan meal option was pretty nice, not amazing or anything but it did the trick.
We stayed in Le Marais which was such a great neighbourhood, not overly touristy but still close to everything. We arrived to the hotel with perfect timing to walk over to Notre Dame and watch the light change the colours of the city over the Seine. After our walk and some drinks at a near by brasserie, we were ready for dinner.
We walked over to Brasserie 2eme Art. I had been to the sister restaurant Brasserie Lola on a previous trip and loved it so I was looking forward to this place. We managed to get the last table available inside (it was around 9pm) and got some tasty cocktails much like the ones I had remembered from the sister restaurant. We shared samosas and a coconut curry soup as starters, then I had the pad thai as my main. The starters were so delicious and exactly what we needed after our day of travelling and drinking. My Pad thai was pretty good, though no match for London’s ‘Home’. The real highlight of this meal was the fresh waffle that we shared/fought over. It was so doughy and the homemade nutella was perfect. Overall I really enjoyed this place, had a great atmosphere and the neighbourhood it is in is lovely and made for a nice walk before and after the meal.
Saturday was one of the best days I can remember. We had breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, which is a place we discovered last time I was in Paris travelling with my non vegan parents. It is not a vegan restaurant but has a few options clearly marked as vegan on the menu. They had a great avo toast and good coffee. Couldn’t ask for a better quick breakfast.
After breakfast we walked to the Musée D’Orsay, which is one of my all time favourite museums. It is the perfect size to spend a few hours getting arty, without feeling overwhelmed. Also if you take the Eurostar over, you can bring your ticket and get 2 for 1 which makes it 6 Euros… not bad!
On our way back we crossed over the Pont des Arts (the bridge with all the love locks that were removed… ours included) where my partner took me by surprise and asked me to marry him!
So we were on a love high for the rest of the day but that did not curb our appetites, so off we went for a walk to Hank burger. These burgers were pretty delicious and had vegan mayo on tap for my chips. Just what I needed after all that walking. On our way back to the hotel we stopped into un monde vegan, which is an all vegan supermarket! It had a pretty great selection of vegan treats so we picked up a variety of vegan cheeses for a baguette breakfast the following day. We headed back to the hotel for some international calls to our families to share our wonderful news, accompanied by much champagne. Earlier in the day the concierge at our hotel made reservations for us at Le Potager du Marais which is a cozy, more fine dining type vegan restaurant and happened to be a 5 minute walk from us. Our starters were lovely, especially the french onion soup and my main was a cabbage roll with mash and veggies which was so delicious. We ordered an apricot crème brûlée to share and it looked beautiful and was good but I think a non apricot version would have been perfect. The waiter was so lovely and was taking great care of the entire restaurant with so much calm and charm, it made the dinner extra special. After dinner we decided to walk to the Eiffel Tower, not realizing it was about an hour and a half to get there. Walking along the Seine made the sore feet much more tolerable though, and once we got there we remembered why it is such an iconic structure and was totally worth swollen toes.
Our last day in Paris started off delightfully with fresh baguettes and coffee delivered to me in bed by my fiancé(!) along with the cheeses we picked up previously. I do not know what they are doing over there but they know how to make a damn good baguette. After breakfast we headed out for another long walk, not so bad with fresh feet, to the Sacré-Cœur. It is really beautiful and had a fun energy with lots of people relaxing on the many stairs.
After that we took the Metro, which is super easy and efficient, to the Arc de Triomphe and continued our day of touristing by walking down the Champs-Élysées. I was really looking forward to finally trying a Loving Hut for a late lunch and were most of the way there when we thought we should check opening hours and discovered it was closed Sundays. So after some deliberating and pouting we decided to head back to Brasserie 2eme Art because it was in the right direction and we had spotted some great looking pizzas on Friday night. We were not disappointed. The vegan cheese was one of the best melty consistencies I have tried and the toppings were really flavourful and unique.
After our late lunch we still had a few hours to kill, we initially tried to go to Ara Chocolat which is a vegan chocolate shop but found out that it was closed Sundays as well, so decided to head out and try to find Vegan Folie’s, a vegan cafe/ bakery. I have spent quite a bit of time walking around the Notre Dame area but this was about a 15 minute walk away from that main tourist section and it felt like I was transported into a real, Parisian neighbourhood, sans tourists. The cafe was on a beautiful narrow cobbled street with many bustling cafes and restaurants. It seemed like we arrived a little late for a lot of the baked goods but we got some cheesecake to take for our train ride. It was so nice to see a new little somewhat off the track, area of Paris and am so happy we ended the trip with such a nice little adventure.
Paris is such an incredible city in so many ways. Every street looks like a painting and you can’t help but immerse yourself in the laid back, romanic atmosphere. I know many people still think of Paris as a cheese haven, therefore not vegan friendly but I assure you it is a wonderful city to visit as a vegan.
This face helped me get over my post holiday blues pretty quick. x
Brasserie Lola – Parisian style brasserie serving all vegan food and great cocktails.
Brasserie 2eme Art – Sister restaurant to Lola, lovely spot for lunch or dinner. Great atmosphere on a Friday or Saturday night. Try a waffle please.
Le Pain Quotidien – chain of cafés that have a few clearly marked vegan options on the menu. Good for a quick breakfast.
Hank Burger – All vegan fast food style burgers and chips.
Hank Pizza – All vegan pizza shop. Lots of seating, great place for lunch or a quick dinner.
VG Patisserie – All vegan patisserie, need I say more?? OK I will, they have croissants, Pain au chocolat and so much more. A must visit in Paris.
Le Potager du Marais – Slightly more upscale vegan dining. Ver warm and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for a romantic dinner.
Un Monde Vegan – All vegan supermarket . Perfect place to pick up some cheeses for a picnic. Try Sojami, ail & fine herbs cheese spread, it is the best creamy cheese out there.
Mon Epicerie Paris – ANOTHER all vegan supermarket! Lots of nice cheeses, and other bits. I picked up some ravioli to bring home 🙂
Vegan Folie’s – All vegan bakery/café in a super cute neighbourhood, nothing amazing but nice if you are in the area.
Ara Chocolat – An all vegan chocolate shop. I didn’t get to try it because it was closed Sundays but will be checking it out next time.
Wild and the Moon – Mostly vegan juice and raw snack chain dotted around Paris. We saw 2 or 3 waking around. Slightly pricy, but if you need some nutrition, at least it’s there!
Hotel Georgette – Boutique hotel in Le Marais with a great location and starry lights in the bathroom. Not cheap, but nice for a special occasion.
Musée D’Orsay – Beautiful art, 2 for 1 entry with Eurostar ticket.