I can’t believe that the last blog post I wrote was a recap of last year’s travels. It’s not like I have nothing to say, or haven’t traveled to new and exciting cities. This year so far I’ve visited Fuerteventura, the Algarve in Portugal, Krakow, Prague, all over Israel and even Paris for my 40th birthday. Yet I can’t seem to keep up with this blog!
Oh well. I can’t beat myself up about it. It’s been a tough year. In January my work visa was finally approved in Berlin after waiting almost six months in limbo. Then I worked my butt off to establish a new business that ended up not being as successful as I’d hoped. German culture is not easy. On June 28th my father passed away suddenly, though not entirely unexpected, and I had to go home to Texas for a few weeks. Dealing with an estate when a parent doesn’t leave a will is a difficult situation, to say the least. All while trying to mourn and grieve.
So this blog fell to the bottom of the to-do list. But I will try to catch you guys up to make sure you know how lovely the world is, and how you will never be without delicious food options as a vegan.
Today I’ll start with a momentous occasion in May – my 40th birthday. My dear friend Nicole, from A Dash of Vegan, came all the way to Berlin from Toronto to spend time with me. I wanted to go somewhere new and special, so I chose Paris for the weekend. Parisians get such a bad rap and people are stuck with the false belief that France isn’t vegan-friendly. Boy was I glad I didn’t listen to the naysayers. Paris is heaving with vegan options and (almost) everyone we encountered was lovely.
And, it’s so clean and beautiful! Literally everywhere you turn is a lovely building with adorable balconies, a monument or statue, a cute market or flower shop, cafe-lined streets with stylish people sipping espresso, people hustling down the street with baguettes…and the subways are some of the coolest most artistic I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to go back and spend more time there.
Things to Do in Paris
We only had two days, so we tried to hit as many sights as possible. My phone said we walked 12 kilometers in one day! This isn’t my usual style of travel. Normally, I would go to a new city and stay at least a week to immerse myself in the culture. But Nicole only had five days to explore both Berlin and Paris, and Paris is quite expensive! While we didn’t get to hit up all the important sites, we made a nice dent, and were happy with our choice to get off our feet in the afternoon rather than kill ourselves. I can always go back since I live a short flight away!
No visit to Paris would be complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower. Hopefully, you have perfect weather as we did in May. No need to pay money to go inside; have a walk around the bottom then head across the water to the Trocadero Gardens for the best views.
The Louvre is surely at the top of your list of things to do in Paris. Even though it comes with a hefty €17 price tag, it’s totally worth every penny. This museum is huge, 675,000 square feet, and you’ll want to block off at least 2-3 hours for your visit. The Mona Lisa is definitely underwhelming, but the rest of the art from all over the world is certainly impressive. Be sure to go back after sundown to see it lit up.
One of my favorite things to do in any city I visit for the first time is to simply walk around for hours to see what I stumble upon. Paris is full of stunning architecture and beauty around every corner. You’ll want to visit when you have good weather so you can take in the city by foot. Have a wander around a market and be swept away by the sights and smells. Make it a point to visit Rue des Martyrs for one of the largest running markets in the world – over two hundred years old!
Not to sound morose, but I really love visiting cemeteries. Especially in Europe. They are elegant and elaborate and nothing like the simple cemeteries in the US. Take a stroll through Père Lachaise and visit some world-famous graves of Jim Morrison of the Doors, Oscar Wilde and Chopin.
Paris is easily walkable in good weather, but the subway system is so cool that it’s worth checking out. Each station has its own feel, mostly doused in bright colors and art deco style. Even the trains are well-designed and fashionable. But it is Paris, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised! If the weather is not so great it’s a good excuse to escape below and take the metro.
As expected, Paris also has lovely parks. One that we visited on our way out of town was Parc Des Buttes-Chaumont in the 19th arrondissement. It’s the 5th largest park in Paris. I wish I had time to sit on a blanket and read a book in this lovely park. There’s an island with a bridge across it with stunning views, waterfalls, many creatures and fauna, and a beautiful temple at the top of a hill. If you are into parks or you want to take a rest with a book definitely stop by here.
Like I said we walked a TON, so we saw so many more things like the Arc de Triomphe, Palais-Royal Gardens, and we even did the Bato boat tour because it was a nice way to travel in-between the hotspots and see the city by boat. There’s plenty of things to do in Paris but this will keep you busy if you only have two days like we did. Now onto the food!
Vegan Food Options in Paris
We arrived at 12 pm on Saturday and left the same time on Monday, leaving us about seven meals to give us a taste of what the vegan food scene was like in Paris. We stuffed ourselves silly (and emptied our wallets)! A few places were closed (like Cloud Cakes sadly), but we had many great meals with the time we had.
La Potager de Charlotte
First, we had lunch at La Potager de Charlotte, a world-famous vegan restaurant with two locations. The food was creative and beautifully presented, but I wasn’t so much a fan of what I chose. Nicole loved her salad though. Be prepared for the expensive prices. It’s closed during mid-day, and we found many places had this policy.
Monday-Saturday 12-3pm, 7-11pm
An unexpected surprise was to find some of the best vegan Thai food I’ve ever had at Kapunka Vegan. We started with rice paper rolls and both had curries that were absolutely amazing. The service was great, but it is a bit expensive for what you get. The place is tiny so definitely make a reservation.
Mon-Sat 11:30am-14:30pm, 18:30-22:30pm
If you are into Asian food and mock meats, definitely visit Bodhi Vegan. The menu is expansive, and includes traditional favorites like kung pao tofu, fried spring rolls, and noodle dishes but also battered fried shrimp we couldn’t pass up. This is one of the more affordable restaurants in Paris, so if you are looking for a hearty meal give it a try.
Closed Mondays, Tues 1-7pm,
Wed-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 9am-5pm
You can’t come to Paris and not visit VG Patisserie. If you miss fancy desserts and buttery croissants as a vegan, this place will take you to heaven. We stopped in for breakfast and had a number of croissants and pastries with a lovely chai latte. Unfortunately and regrettably, we didn’t make it back for their elegant desserts so this will be my first stop when I go to Paris again.
Tues-Sat 10am-10:30pm, Sun 11am-6pm
Nicole had just read an article in VegNews about this cafe and store so it was at the top of our list to visit. We went for weekend brunch, which gives you a few options to choose from. Since we arrived early and I was starving, I started with their avocado toast. It had guacamole, edamame, some kind of creamy cheese and veggies on top. It was so unique and quite tasty. For brunch, I had a breakfast sandwich with tofu eggs & rice paper bacon, then you get a juice, coffee, and croissant with it for €18. I recommend getting there early so you are first in the long queue for their popular brunch. Take a stroll around the shop to find some great vegan finds.
Mon, Thu, Fri 8:00am-4:30pm, Sat-Sun 9:00am-17:00pm
A quick shout-out to Grounded Coffee, an all-vegan coffee shop with amazing coffee, good vibes, a small menu and vegan treats and pastries like cinnamon rolls, zucchini bread, scones, and cookies. I wish I had time to try the menu but we were rushing out of town. Definitely make a stop here – even better if you can stay nearby!
You will have no problem eating at an array of vegan places in Paris. There’s so much variety too! When you search on HappyCow, there are seventy-two vegan options and eighty-two vegetarian options. You’ll be stuffed, to say the least. Have a blast!