Let’s face it: the classic image of French food is pretty meaty. Indeed, when they’re not taking in to boeuf bourguignon, steak tartare or confit de canard—to name just a few of the standard staples of French gastronomy—Parisians are just as likely to be tucking into an American-style burger, as we discussed a few weeks ago.
That’s all well and good for those who like plenty of animals on their plate, but many visitors—and a growing number of locals—prefer to eat vegetarian, cutting meat and fish out of their diet. A surefire way to make sure you can eat what you want is to rent your own furnished apartment, as when you’re making food yourself you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.
However, not many people want to spend their entire vacation in the kitchen, so it would be a shame to miss out on a night in a restaurant. As a general rule, most restaurants will probably be able to throw together something without meat, if you ask nicely (and in French!), even if it’s just salad, but more expensive, high-end restaurants tend to take less kindly to this.
As anywhere in the world, you might also have more luck choosing a restaurant that specialises in a cuisine that tends to be veggie-friendly: there are a lot of places you can enjoy falafels and other Middle Eastern treats in the Marais, for example, while the 10th arrondissement offers a wide range of Indian restaurants.
But if you want to be entirely certain of getting a tasty meat-free meal—without the hassle of ordering off-menu—then Paris does have one or two vegetarian restaurants.
Le Grenier de Notre-Dame
18, rue de la Bucherie
In a picturesque location just a few minutes’ walk from Notre-Dame, this is Paris’ first ever vegetarian restaurant, and has been a family business since 1978. The portions are generous and the prices are reasonable, given the neighbourhood, although sometimes the menu gives the impression that it hasn’t changed that much over the past decades: there are a lot of ‘healthy’ staples with tofu, seitan and other meat subsititutes.
Le Potager du Marais
22, rue Rambuteau
Right in the heart of the Marais, this cute little restaurant is a little more pricey and puts the emphasis on seasonal, organic produce. This one is popular with veggies and non-veggies alike and well worth reserving in advance if you get a chance to call in.
92, boulevard Beaumarchais
Don’t let the unusual name put you off—this vegan café is part of a global chain, with locations Just a few minutes’ walk from Bastille with a strong ethical dimension: they’re veggie and proud, as their motto ‘peace begins on your plate’ makes clear. The premises also include a deli if you’d like