“Paris,” according to Audrey Hepburn, “is always a good idea,” and never has that maxim been more true than right now. A boom in vegan businesses means the City of Light is more enticing to herbivores than ever before, thanks to new cafés, brasseries, retail shops, and trendy lunch spots opening on the regular. This summer, I headed back to the city I called home for seven years and found the plant-based options overwhelming—in the best possible way! To make it easier for you to enjoy the best that Paris has to offer, I’m sharing my five favorite vegan spots of the moment. Bon voyage, and bon appetit!
1. The cheese and charcuterie plate at Le Faitout
It’s a dream come true: a cheese and charcuterie plate heaped with veganized renditions of butter, ham, chorizo, mushroom terrine, and a selection of both firm and soft spreadable cheeses. Le Faitout’s owner is a new(ish) vegan who transformed his typical French brasserie into a welcoming spot that now serves only plant-based dishes. If you’re still hungry after enjoying your tipple and nibbles on the terrace, scope out the other goodies on the menu, including steak frites, crème caramel, and tasty wines by the glass or bottle.
2. The Oreo Milk-shake at My Kitch’n
Everything on the menu at this three-year-old vegan spot in the now-trendy Batignolles district is fait-maison (house made) and bursting with flavor, but the My Kitch’n Oreo Milk-shake is irresistible. Thick, frosty, creamy, perfectly sweet, and topped with a generous cookie crumble, this dreamy concoction tastes utterly sinful, but the ingredients are surprisingly virtuous: coconut cream, frozen bananas, and lots of Oreo cookies. Order it once, and if you’re still dreaming about it the next day, come back for seconds.
3. Pain au chocolat at VG Patisserie
Vegan Parisians have been waiting seemingly forever to partake in that hallowed French tradition called viennoiserie, otherwise known as croissants, pains au chocolat, brioche, and golden chaussons aux pommes. Well, the wait is over! Launched in early 2017, VG Patisserie offers all of the scrumptious breakfast favorites plus gorgeous individual tarts and cakes, cookies, and macarons. Our advice: start with the flaky pain au chocolat and enjoy it with a cappuccino at one of their sidewalk tables.
4. Joie Gras at Jay & Joy
Even self-proclaimed “decisive” vegans waffle when left with two great choices and just one spot to fill. First, head to the 11th arrondissement, where, on a tiny side street in a super-cool neighborhood, Jay & Joy—Paris’ first vegan fromagerie (cheese shop)—awaits. Staff will happily slice you bite-size samples of every cheese on offer, then sell you as much (or as little) as you like for your afternoon picnic. Pro tip: pick up the Joie Gras, the plant-based house version of foie gras.
5. Bo Bun at La Palanche d’Aulac
Next, head to the 9th arrondissement for the best Vietnamese food in town at La Palanche d’Aulac. Everything on the menu at this family run vegan restaurant brims with authentic Vietnamese flavors, including the pho, meaty brochettes over rice, and salty-sweet desserts. But the bo bun—a vermicelli noodle bowl loaded with fresh greens, sautéed onions, faux beef, and topped with crunchy fried spring rolls—is BEYOND.
VegNews Travel Editor Aurelia d’Andrea is currently planning her next vegan retreat—in France!
Photo courtesy of Jay & Joy