Despite France’s reputation for gourmet meat-based cuisine, it’s now easier to find vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Paris.
Like many top cities around the world, a quiet revolution is taking place. This one bringing in the fresh flavors of plant-based food.
We examine some of our capital’s top meat-free menus, and bring you an exclusive vegetarian recipe from a Parisian cooking school.
More choice than ever before
For centuries, Paris has held a reputation as one of the top culinary cities of the world.
Home to the internationally-renowned Le Cordon Bleu and no less than 94 Michelin-starred restaurants, it’s a city to delight connoisseurs of good food and wine.
But perhaps not so much for those following a plant-based diet – until now.
Reports suggest that two million French people have recently given up eating meat. While overall, annual meat consumption in France has dropped by 20 kilos per person.
And in 2022, there are now more vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Paris than ever before. There’s even an up-and-coming hotspot centered around this modern style of cooking.
The 9th – a new vegetarian hotspot
The 9th arrondissement (district) is fast becoming the vegetarian hub of Paris.
Set on the right bank, it is home to many places of historical, cultural, and architectural interest. It’s already a foodie destination, with streets such as rue des Martyrs packed with fantastic restaurants.
But in recent years, the district has emerged as the main vegetarian quarter. Some have even gone as far as to call this part of the city ‘Veggie Town’.
A steadily gentrifying area, you could say it’s a natural fit for the burgeoning plant-based movement.
Just one example is 42 Degres, a vegan restaurant and grocery store. Here chef Fabien Borgel and naturopath Pascale Migotto craft menus that promise simple, nutritious, raw vegan cuisine.
Top dishes include ‘faux’ gras, konjac ramen, and peppered kale chips.
It’s the theme of many of these restaurants: modest, simple cooking that brings fresh and seasonal vegetables to the fore.
Vegan, Veggie or ‘Flexi’
Flower Food… PH7 Equilibre… Mesa de Hoy… the restaurants in the 9th also attract the ‘flexitarian’ – not exclusively veggie, not an all-out carnivore either.
This new hip, foodie generation is happy to indulge in vegan food. If not every day, then at least a few times a week.
Whether for health reasons, animal welfare concerns, or to lower their carbon footprint, French Flexis are here to stay, and our city’s menus are changing to accommodate them.
More vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Paris
Of course, finding world-class vegetarian cuisine is not just limited to the 9th.
There are other exciting plant-based venues throughout Paris, along with restaurants that have extended their meat-free offerings.
Highly praised by vegan connoisseurs is Abattoir Végétal, which ironically is a vegan restaurant in a former boucherie (butcher’s shop). At the foot of Montmartre in the 18th, it’s a coffee shop by day and a restaurant in the evening.
The house specialty is the Funky Falafel Burger, served with plant-based cheese from crémerie Jay & Joy.
Another popular place of note is international chain Wild and the Moon. These have popped up all over Paris, now in five locations. They offer tasty health-conscious juices, noodle bowls, and cakes. And naturally, all vegan.
Last but by no means least is Le Potager de Charlotte, led by brothers David and Adrien Valentin. In their two restaurants, including one in the 17th, gourmet dishes take center stage, from eggplant rôtie and Tomatoes Provençal to pancakes with chickpeas and rice.
These dishes have a real Gallic flare. After all, where else but France could veganism and fine dining go hand in hand?
An exclusive recipe
Just for readers of this blog, we’re delighted to bring you a vegetarian recipe from Atelier des Chefs, a cooking school at 8 rue Pernelle in the 4th, led by professional chefs from restaurants in Paris.
Here you can enjoy a class to prepare a three-course meal, then sit down to enjoy the dishes, served with wine.
Or you might like to make this delicious recipe at home.
Potatoes au gratin à la dauphinoise
For : 6 people
Preparation time : 20 min.
Cooking time : 50 min.
Resting time : None
Potatoes : 3.3 lbs.
Eggs : 1
Whole milk: 25 oz.
Garlic cloves: 1 clove
Soft butter : 5.5 T butter
Fine salt : 6 pinches
Pepper mill : 6 turns
Grated nutmeg : 2.5 tsp.
Gruyère cheese : 4 cups
Preheat oven to 340°F.
Peel and rinse the potatoes, then cut them into thin slices with a mandoline slicer.
In a bowl, mix the potatoes, salt, pepper, grated nutmeg, beaten egg, boiled milk and
1.5 cups of grated fresh Gruyere cheese.
Pour the mixture into an earthenware dish previously rubbed with garlic and well buttered, then sprinkle the surface with the remaining grated Gruyère cheese.
Add a few dabs of butter and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
Serve very hot.
Chef's tip: for an even more delicious gratin, you can replace half the milk with fresh cream.
56Paris is here to help you
Perhaps you’re ready to swap your beef bourguignon for beetroot with beluga lentils. Or maybe you still need a little persuading to go totally meat and fish-free.
Either way, the introduction of new vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Paris just adds to our city’s wonderful tapestry of food choices.
While cuisine may not be our specialty, we are ready to assist with buying, selling, or renting a property here. Whether you already live in the capital or are planning to make Paris your second home, we are here to help.
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