My Plant Based France Adventure: Part One
By Molly Patrick
Apr 21, 2023,
I’ve been to Europe several times and France has always seemed like the kind of place I would have stopped and explored at some point. But surprisingly, I’ve never been before. This all changed in March of this year when I decided to do a plant based tour of Paris. My girlfriend is Parisian and is familiar with all the plant based offerings of her city, so I’ve had the perfect guide to show me around and take me to all the best places. This is part one of my plant based Paris adventure.
What we ate on the plane
I can’t believe I never thought of doing this before! Did you know you can buy dehydrated miso?? This is the perfect thing to add to your travel bag. All you need is a cup and some boiling water and voilà! I was so happy to have this on the plane!
This dehydrated split pea soup was also great to travel with. It was a little bulky, but we put it in our travel food bag and ate it relatively soon into our 24-hour journey from Hawaii to Paris.
Check it out. This is a super easy way to ensure you have a satisfying plant based breakfast while traveling. Put some regular rolled oats in a bag and add some dried fruit and some nuts and seeds. Put the bag in your carry-on or backpack, along with a travel spoon.
Find a coffee shop and ask for an empty cup and some warmed-up non-dairy milk.
Place some oat mixture in the empty cup and top it with warm milk. Dig in and enjoy breakfast!
Getting groceries in Paris
We landed in Paris at 8am, and I didn’t want to nap or go to bed until at least 7pm. This little trick has helped me avoid jet lag for years! Instead of resting and getting dangerously close to taking a nap, we went out for a refreshing walk and stopped by a health food store to stock up on groceries.
Going to health food stores is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. I love spending a long time going through all the aisles and seeing what they have that I’m not familiar with. The health food store we went to on the first day was a co-op, and a lot of what they carry is grown or produced in France. I continue to be impressed by how much emphasis is put on local ingredients here.
The other thing I was acutely aware of while grocery shopping was the prices. Everything is so affordable. Granted, I’m used to higher-than-average grocery prices because I live in Hawaii, but even compared to the prices in the mainland US, organic ingredients are shockingly affordable. It’s as if organic food is accessible to most people—imagine that!
I was excited to try this flavor of baked tofu because I thought it would taste exotic, but it just tasted like tofu with soy sauce.
There are SO MANY different kinds of tofu here! Many different flavors and textures. This was one of my favorites. We steamed it and added it to some quinoa and veggies.
Oh, and there’s vegan yogurt galore! This was made from buckwheat, and it was AMAZING!
Toasted buckwheat or “kasha” to add to morning porridge. We add it right on top without cooking it. It has a wonderfully nutty flavor and a nice crunch.
This incredible locally made artichoke spread had just a couple of ingredients and was SO yummy. It was one of my favorites from our haul.
There are many veggie/bean spreads like this. It’s really good as a dip for cucumber rounds, toasted bread, or whole grain crackers.
Cooking plant based and gluten-free in France
There are so many restaurants with plant based and gluten-free options here, and I’ve been to several (more on that in a bit). But making food at home is always the healthiest and most affordable option. I enjoy making and eating meals at home, even when traveling. Here are some of those home-cooked meals.
The gluten-free bread in Paris is so good! You can find it at almost any boulangerie (bakery), and it’s made fresh daily. It’s usually in small little loaves with seeds on top.
I’ve never had whole roasted shallots before this trip. They’re going on repeat, for sure!
I put a bunch of veggies in a pot, added some water and seasonings, and cooked it. Then I added beans and a bit of soy cream. Easy, yummy, and warming.
This is the easiest thing to do. First, cut a winter squash in half and take out the seeds. Then, cut each half into quarters (be sure to remove the stem) and place it in a pot, along with a big onion (skin removed) cut into quarters and a handful of garlic cloves (skin removed). Cover with water and boil until the squash is soft. Turn off the heat and wait for everything to cool a bit. Transfer the veggies to a blender with some water. Blend until creamy and smooth. Add only a little water at first and then add more if needed. Season with salt and pepper and any seasonings you like. Ta-da! The easiest veggie soup ever!
This is a yummy Japanese restaurant tucked away on one of many side streets in Paris. It is not a plant based restaurant, but they have a couple of amazing plant based options.
This was a nice spot for a quick lunch. They also have a yoga and meditation studio. I’ve noticed that many vegan coffee shops and light lunch places also offer yoga and meditation.
As a side note, most restaurants have an English menu, you just have to ask (politely). Vous avez un menu en anglais, s’il vous plaît?
If you find yourself in Paris and need a quick vegan taco fix, this place will do the job. It’s not a fully plant based restaurant, but it has vegan options. If you’re used to really good Mexican food, lower your expectations a bit, and you’ll be fine.
Wild & the Moon is a cute chain with locations in France, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates. They have cold-pressed juices, superfood-type things, healthy-ish desserts, and light meals. This was an incredible vegan bánh mì on gluten-free bread. I was ALL about it!
Brunch at Soya
Of all the plant based restaurants I’ve been to in Paris so far, this is my favorite. I’ve been twice, once for lunch and once for an epic brunch. Both times have been amazing. The food is really well done, and you can tell the ingredients are fresh and prepared with love.
It’s a good idea to make reservations at any restaurant here, but definitely don’t forget to make a reservation with this one.
Brunch is all-you-can-eat buffet-style. Be sure to come hungry! They also have fresh juices and yummy tea and coffee.
I LOVED that the buffet was laid out like this on a long table. I felt like I was transported back to my hippie childhood attending a vegan potluck with my parents and all their hippie friends!
It was so homey and fun. Oh, and everything but one dish was gluten-free!
I love it when vegan restaurants aren’t afraid to use tofu. Apart from in Asian countries I’ve visited, many plant based restaurants don’t offer tofu on the menu.
I took a little of everything to taste ALL THE PLANTS. I loved this meal so much. Every bite made me smile. I will definitely go back because I’m curious if it’s the same for every brunch or if they switch it up. I’ll let you know when I find out!
Lunch at Soya
Oh, Soya, I love you so much. I also had an incredible lunch at this magnificent restaurant.
If you are plant based (even plant based and gluten free) and you’re traveling to Paris, you will have no problem finding food. From grocery stores to restaurants, coffee shops to bakeries, there is plenty of food for you in the city of lights.
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