Have you been to Veggietown, Paris?
Welcome to Veggietown Paris!
Paris is catching up with the rest of the world for good down to earth vegetarian, organic, gluten free, you name it, Healthy food. And I must say its about time! For many years, when anyone visiting from more enlightened places in the world would ask me where to eat vegetarian food, I would shrug my shoulders and raise my eyebrows and say,” just order the side dishes”.
A new French Revolution, (a lot less bloody than the first)
So much to my delight I discovered that the French are capable of transformation and a filet mignon can wake up one morning as a “tofu braissé” and there is a whole budding movement of vegetarians concentrated in the 9th and 10th arrondissement around the rue Paradis, rue Hauteville and Faubourg-Poissionèr, called “Veggietown”. (Metro Poissonnière) They even have a an organization called “L’Association Vegetarienne de France” (AVF). On their web site there is a map of the neighborhood with all the restaurants on it (in French) but you can get the ides even if you don’t read French.
Something for vegans, vegetarians and just the naturally curious
The combination of French savoir-faire in the cooking department and vegan, organic, gluten-free is quite innovative and is really worth the detour. Paris was well behind neighbors like London and Berlin in the vegetarian and vegan department but they are making up for lost time with their enthusiasm and flair for cuisine. You can enjoy classics like carrot cake and vegan hot dogs and ice cream all of which have lost nothing in the translation. Cho Cantine which is “Vietnamese inspiration” Tricycle, true vegan and very innovative, Café Pinson, which can be found in Veggietown as well as in the Marais, with it’s refined cosy décor and which describes itself as a juice bar/Café/ restaurant, to name a few. There are also several organic food stores where you can stock up on essentials like the Bio coop, Bio c’est Bon, nearby.
A definite cultural mix
The neighborhood itself is very interesting it is the home for lots of start-ups and experimental shared office space and the place of choice for many young, ecologically-minded families. Irony of ironies, this neighborhood is historically the district where fur and leather shops were. Very few are still in business but for now, as one of the residents said, “We even get clients coming to eat vegan food wearing fur coats” and they are co-existing in harmony, live and let live seems to be the pervading motto.