Taking a trip to Paris and nervous about vegan options? I was too.
I’ve always dreamed about going to Paris- the romantic streets, beautiful architecture, and crazy shopping areas were all things I wanted to experience. So after seeing a good deal on Secret Flying, I finally got to visit the city in January. It was cold and rainy at times, but the awesome deal on flights allowed us to squeeze in a winter Paris trip.
Paris is magic. That sounds cliché but it really feels like magic. One of the first things I felt was fear about leaving the beautiful city. (I’m not sure why my brain works like this.) I wanted to spend a few months there. It’s incredibly beautiful, incredibly romantic, and has a vibe unlike anywhere else. At dinners, it seemed like time slowed down and there was more of an emphasis on enjoyment- enjoying the food, enjoying the person you’re with, and enjoying everything happening around you (this may be why people watching in Paris is so epic).
Before I get into the vegan spots, I wanted to address my diet so you’re aware of what kind of places I look for on vacations. I eat gluten-free, vegan food. Typically, I focus on fresh fruits and raw foods during the day, and switch to warm veggies and clean carbs at night. I stay away from fried oil-heavy foods because I don’t like feeling weighted down. I also avoid sugary desserts and regular alcohol consumption because it makes me feel slow, cloudy, and weak. When on vacation, I stick to a gluten-free vegan diet, but allow myself to get down with more sugar, oil, and alcohol than usual. The emphasis is on enjoyment and trying new things (which usually means a f*ck ton of lattes, vegan pastries, pre-dinner cocktails, and fun vegan food).
A few general tips about Paris….
- Many restaurants and cafes are closed on Sunday and Mondays. Check hours for your most-desired spots in advance and plan ahead.
- If you’re watching your budget in Paris, skip cocktails when possible. Drinks add up quickly and you can just as easily get a bottle of wine and enjoy it in the park near the Eiffel Tower. Also, I didn’t have too many good mixed drinks in Paris. Great wine, but not too many great cocktails.
- Try AirBnB for places to stay. It’s cheaper than hotels and it allows you to feel like you are living in the city during your stay. A look at our Air BnB (and the kitchen) in Paris. Look for at least 10 positive reviews before booking a place to verify that you won’t be murdered in it. (Just kidding, but seriously, check the reviews.)
- If you have landmarks/museums/shops you want to get to, plan to do that at the front of your trip and be sure the places will be open on the days you plan to visit them. We never made it to the Louvre because we saved it for our last day (a Tuesday), and it’s definitely closed on Tuesdays.
- People watching with a (soy) cappuccino or glass of wine is awesome and provides some rest from walking all day.
- Be careful around train stations and landmarks. Watch your belongings and be aware of what’s happening around you. Keep it moving and try to have a plan for how/where you are going. (We used Uber to get around.) Standing around looking lost makes you look like an easy mark.
- If you plan to use Uber, Air BnB, or GPS while traveling internationally, check with your cell provider ahead of time on how much international data will cost. I spent $40 for 200 MB of data with AT&T which I used for Uber, Air BnB, and the occasional map check. I kept my phone in airplane mode the entire time and switched on data only when I needed it. (I saved Instagram and Snapchat breaks for spots with wifi.)
- Buy a paper city map or take map screenshots of where you’ll be walking (when on wifi) so you’re not using data on GPS when walking around.
- Call your credit card company prior to travel to see if the card will be accepted in Paris and if there are any international usage fees.
- Before you go, take some time to check out Happy Cow, Trip Advisor, and Yelp for food, sites to see, and things to do. Use filters to find exactly what you’re looking for. I also like to look up blogger travel guides to get some inspiration. (And, if you have any questions, reach out!! I’d love to talk to you.)
- If you are traveling on the Eurostar between London and Paris, make sure to buy your tickets (well) in advance. We paid 4x the price of what we could have originally purchased them for online. Urk.
Back to those nerves about finding vegan options in Paris. After a few quick Yelp/Trip Advisor/Happy Cow searches, I realized we might not be there long enough to try all the vegan options available. We definitely weren’t. This list includes both spots we went to and ones that we didn’t get to but look amazing.
Brasserie Lola– It took us about 24 hours of traveling to get to Paris. We flew from the US to London with a stopover in Iceland. When we arrived at Gatwick, we took a train into London, where we got the Eurostar to Paris. Once we finally got to our Air BnB in Paris, showered and got dressed for the night, we were starving. Mostly by luck, we stumbled upon Brasserie Lola, an amazing vegan French brasserie. This spot is incredible because it feels classically French, with tables set up outside to people watch from, sweet servers, and heavy pours of French wine, but has a completely vegan menu. We didn’t land at this restaurant until late on a Saturday and it was packed. One of the waiters kindly turned us away but after making eye contact with another waitress multiple times (only two people were serving the whole restaurant and still doing a kick ass job), she was able to grab us a table. (Life lesson- if at first you don’t succeed, try again.) Make a reservation if you plan to go on a Friday or Saturday. Also, this place, like many others, was not open on Sunday. Here’s what we tried:
- Soup Thai au Lait de Coco- Pureed Thai coconut soup with a delicious, creamy base.
- Pad Thai- Yummy thick gluten-free noodles with a spicy peanut flavor.
- Risotto Cremeux: Smoked risotto with mushrooms, peas, and green onions. This dish was hearty, beautiful and not overly heavy. It tasted very French and I loved it.
- Dessert- Chocolate cake with coconut ice cream and coconut whipped cream. This dessert was incredible.
- Drinks- Heavy pours of both red and white wine.
This is Brasserie Lola’s sister restaurant located the other side of the Seine. We were stoked for this restaurant because they have a brick oven for vegan pizzas! (Sadly, they didn’t have gluten-free dough.) It was pretty quiet on a Sunday night, but with so many places being closed on Sundays, we were thankful it was open. The interior was especially cute, complete with a garden in the ceiling. Many dishes were identical to what was offered at Brasserie Lola, so if you’re short on time in Paris and want to visit as many places as possible, pick one or the other.
What we ate:
Poireaux Vinaigrette- Leeks that have been boiled/refreshed and piled on top of each other, served cold with vinaigrette and sprouts. I wasn’t too excited about this one, but ended up loving it.
Soup Thai au Lait de Coco- Same as Brasserie Lola’s soup, except not pureed.
Stir Fried Rice- So so good. Definite oil usage in this one but I absolutely loved it.
Meat Lovers Pizza (minus the meat)- I didn’t try this pizza but it looked fantastic. Judging by reviews online, their pizza is on point!
We made reservations at this spot but because of jet lag and a late Sunday night, weren’t able to make them. I’m sad we didn’t because it looks like they have delicious raw vegan food.
A vegan restaurant offering organic seasonal vegan food.
A vegan restaurant with French and Mediterranean dishes. It looks like it would be a cute date spot.
An open-late vegan spot with a French bistro feel and tapas dishes.
A vegetarian restaurant with ridiculously pretty platings.
This spot isn’t completely vegan, so be specific when ordering. We were looking for something quick and healthy before catching a train back to London, so we trucked to Bob’s Kitchen (suitcases in tow) at lunchtime on a Tuesday. This spot is definitely a go-to lunch stop for Parisians working nearby- it was packed! Rightfully so, because the food was delicious and fast. Next time I want to check out their breakfast options (I saw gluten-free vegan pancakes on the menu).
What we had…
Green smoothie- to combat all of the wine from the past several days in Paris.
Fresh juice- Same reason as above.
Warm veggie curry bowls- These were hearty and tasty. Great fuel for a day of traveling.
Lattes- Good, simple, and quick.
There’s a bunch of falafel places in Paris, but this one is touted as one of the best and I definitely get why. Everything was delicious and came out super fast. If you’re gluten-free, skip the pita and grab the hummus and Isreali platters.
What we ate…
Isreali Platter- with 2 types of cabbage, cucumber/tomato salad, and marinated eggplant.
Hummus platter with falafel- I didn’t try the falafel but loved the hummus.
Places we didn’t make it to…..
An organic and gluten-free vegetarian restaurant with tasty-looking veggie burgers. Closed Sunday and Monday.
A healthy spot with giant platings of veggies, veggies, and more veggies.
They have vegan sweet crepes made with rice milk and spelt flour (not gluten-free), and vegan savory crepes made with buckwheat flour.
Because it’s rated so well on Happy Cow (and judging by the mouth-watering Instagram pictures), this is another place I’m seriously bummed we didn’t make it to.
We walked into this place and were stunned by the cuteness of it. Like Hank Burger, their branding and interior design is on point. We were too stuffed to get anything, but I’m pretty stoked to see that they now have vegan pizzas that are gluten-free!
This place looks too sweet to not visit. It’s not strictly vegan, but it looks like they have a wide range of cold-pressed juice, acai bowls, and avocado toast.
Vegan hot dogs, vegan bento bowls and an incredible-looking interior.
A vegan restaurant with fresh veggie dishes and juices.
Vegan bowls and lunch options with a Paris café atmosphere.
A vegan resutaurant, juice bar, and plant shop with all sorts of interesting plant concoctions to try.
A beautiful cafe with vegan, gluten, and dairy free batter options for crepes.
A vegan pizzeria with tasty-looking toppings (not sure if they have any gluten-free vegan crusts).
We didn’t make it here, but they have a cocktail named Peanut Butter & Jelly Time, so I would put this on your list of stops if you’re into drinks. They also have a cocktail featuring kale, quinoa, and a skinny bitch salt rim. If you go, please report back.
I loved the vibe in this place and could work here for hours. They have plant-based milks, healthy eats, and fresh juice. They also have free wifi. The women next to us were working on their fashion line. Tres chic.
We started off our first full day with a walk to the Eiffel tower, and, since it was rainy, wanted warm coffee for the walk. Kozy not only had a great soy milk latte, they also had free wifi. The person working here was super sweet too. They had a few grab and go vegan baked treats (I didn’t see any gluten-free options) and freshly-squeezed orange juice.
My absolute favorite workspace in Paris. This spot is incredible. You pay by the hour to use the co-working space and have access to unlimited free coffee and snacks (which includes fresh fruit, crackers, granola, and nuts). While the hourly rate could get pricey if you go to the cafe on the reg, it is an incredible place to pull up and work for a few hours. It has a peaceful atmosphere, 2 floors, and little workspaces all over with desks, tables, and comfy seats (like the one pictured above).The owners are extremely friendly. I highly recommend Nuage and am so happy we accidently walked into this place when looking for an open coffee shop on a Monday. A look at their snack bar…
Places we didn’t make it to…
An entirely vegan coffee shop (and bakery)! Bummed we didn’t get to this one.
I really wanted to get to this coffee shop after reading reviews praising their almond milk latte and fresh juice, but they were closed on a Monday. Check hours before visiting. It’s located in a great spot to walk around and window shop.
If you’re vegan, you probably get down with oatmeal. Naturally, an oatmeal bar sounds like a good time. Pair that with coffee?! This cafe is vegan goals.
(Sadly, we didn’t make it to any of these!)
An organic, cold-pressed grab and go juice bar. They also have healthy foods for takeaway.
Cold pressed juice with a side of acai bowls and smoothies. Plus, their theme is love, so it has to be good.
We didn’t get here but it looks like it has a super cute interior (and exterior) with fresh juices and tasty coffee.
(We didn’t make it to any of these places either.)
A vegan chocolatier in Paris. They have hot chocolate, bonbons, spreads and epic chocolate mousse.
A raw vegan patisserie and café. Judging by Facebook pictures, this place looks absolutely incredible!
We stopped here on a Monday and they were sadly closed. They offer vegan desserts as well as a few savory options.
There are little markets all over Paris, so it is pretty easy to find quick snack options. I was able to grab some toasted coconut chips, pistachios (which were insanely good), and dried fruit to keep at the Air BnB for morning snacks.
There are also several natural grocers around Paris. I didn’t get to any of these, but they look like they have great options for produce and vegan groceries…
An organic, natural grocery store with locations all over Paris.
Another natural, organic grocery store.
A vegan shop that specializes in plant-based cheese! This looks like a must-try if you’re a vegan in Paris.
An organic, natural grocery store with several locations in Paris.
An 100% vegan grocer in Paris.
A vegan beauty and cosmetics shop.
MVP’S OF PARIS:
Best French-vibe vegan restaurant- Brasserie Lola. Go for a long dinner with wine, people watching, and amazing vegan food.
Best work space- Nuage Cafe. I could work from here every.single.day.
Best quick lunch- L’As Du Fallafel, for their tasty hummus and Isreali veggie plate.
Favorite on-foot sight-seeing- Walking from the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs-Elysées.
Best building views: Walk from the Saint Germain area across the Seine river to Notre Dame and into the Le Marais shopping area. It’s beautiful, Parisian, and romantic.
Where we stayed- At an AirBnb in the 15th arrondissement. It was affordable, cozy, and lovely. The only downside was that it was pretty far from most of the resturants and spots we went to, so we used Uber (frequently).
I’d love to hear some of your favorite Paris spots. Hit me up below with any favorites!!