It’s definitely more difficult being a vegetarian in France than it is in Italy and Spain and, by default, it’s even harder to be a vegan. According to the European Vegetarian Union, there is a law in France outlawing the serving of vegan meals at any public or private school in France. Similar laws have been proposed for kindergartens, hospitals, prisons and retirement homes.
One million French, or 1.5 perfect of the total population, in the 1990s called themselves vegetarians, and it has reportedly increased to 2 percent. With such dishes as basil salmon terrine, bisque is a smooth and creamy French potage, foie gras with mustard seeds and green onions in duck jus, french onion soup, and croque monsieur all made with heavy crème and meats, it’s no wonder there aren’t a lot f vegetarians living in France.
There are some places, such as Nice, where there is a heavy Italian influence and more vegetarian options on the menu, but eating at restaurants in Paris is pretty difficult, but not impossible. Many of the non-traditional Parisian restaurants have tons of options for vegetarians.
La Zucca Magica in Nice a good restaurant to try if you’re a visiting vegetarian. Rose Bakery, Bob’s Juice Bar and Cococook, are great restaurants to try for salads, soups and sandwiches. Tien Hiang, a Chinese Buddhist restaurant with two locations in Paris has a lot of other options as well. For great Indian food, Saravanaa Bhavan is an award winning restaurant in Paris, and if you need other options in and around France, the Happy Cow app and website is always a good idea.
For more meal ideas check out my book, “The Beginners Guide to Becoming a Vegetarian,” on Amazon.