As the capital of steak-frites, foie-gras, and oysters, Paris has never been known as a particularly vegetarian-friendly city. And as the unequivocal center of all things fromage (camembert fondue; raclette brie) it’s no surprise that vegans struggle most of all. If you ever wander into a Parisian restaurant or café and announce that you are végétalien, you will likely be faced with incomprehension, if not downright scorn. Is there a traditional French recipe that doesn’t contain butter or eggs, a meal that doesn’t end with an admirable plate of cheese and chocolate? Fortunately, even the timeless old city has begun to answer to the pro-vegetable revolution sweeping the globe. Its neighborhood eateries have begun to catch on with the international trend for raw vegetables, dairy-free products, and meatless cuisine. They range from order-at-the-counter shops with hand-written menus to Michelin-starred outposts creating vegetable-forward dishes with produce from their private gardens. When in doubt? There’s always reliable French baguettes.
Just beyond Notre Dame is an intimate restaurant known for sprouted grains and innovative daily dishes. Locals and visitors seeking a break from the classic French fare can be found sipping champagne and conversing with Lawrence Aboucaya, who founded Pousse Pousse more than a decade ago. Don’t leave without sampling the raw chocolate cake (prune-based) and trying a buckwheat-crust tart.
Bob's Juice Bar
Bob from New York has singlehandedly imported a fresh and healthy attitude to food. This, his original address (a hole-in-the-wall near the Canal St. Martin) serves up a daily menu of salads, soups, cold-pressed juices, and his famous muffins. Visit his new locations, Bob’s Kitchen and Bob’s Bake Shop, for the best baked-on-site bagels and hearty vegetable curries.
Now with two addresses, this chic organic and vegetarian café is right at home amongst Paris’ hipster cafes, with its whitewashed stone walls and shelves of assorted books and geometric-tiled floors. The menu has many vegan options, and guarantees wheat-free, 100% organic vegetarian fare for all. Enjoy superfood-fueled rice bowls and a buzzy new brunch menu (vegetable mousse; eggs with white bean spread).
Soya Canteen Bio
In an old atelier in the former industrial heartland of Oberkampf, this popular organic and veggie restaurant includes a handful of vegan options on the menu. Pull up a chair at one of the communal tables and try the hearty couscous, the curry of the day, or the mezze plate. The salad bar features a variety of Mediterranean-style dishes, including Lebanese chickpeas and tabbouleh.
Serving as one of the capital’s only 100% vegan and raw restaurants (cooking nothing above this temperature to maintain the integrity of the nutrients) this 9th arrondissement joint gets top marks for its innovative cuisine. Order the mushroom burger, for a mushroom patty cushioned between two grilled portabello mushroom “buns.”