Everybody calm down and stop missin’ me because I’m back in the land of Vegemite and kangaroos. I’ve not yet spiralled into post-holiday blues but maybe check in with me next week when I’m back at work.
The final destination on our trip was Paris and was the location I predicted I would have the most trouble with when it came to food. I was right (I usually am, just FYI) but that doesn’t mean I didn’t track down some delicious eats.
Vegebowl was our first stop for a late night dinner after our journey from London to Paris on the Eurostar. This is a little Asian joint is a little gem serving mainly vegan dishes and was a convenient 10 minute walk from our hotel. I wasn’t overly hungry and was unsure of the portion sizes so I opted for the Tom Yam soup for 4€ and the Satay “Beef” for 6,50€. The soup was fresh, light and full of flavour thanks to the selection of vegetables and mock meats. The satay was super tasty but had a little more of a barbecue flavour than a nutty flavour which I was expecting, still super tasty though! The portions are quite small yet so are the prices, so if you’re a big eater you could still get your fill for a good price.
After a morning walking around The Louvre, we selected the closest place available for lunch that had vegan options. Le Pain Quotidien is a chain with locations around Paris and other cities across the world, serving predominantly bread-centric meals. I was excited by the beet caviar listed amongst other dips and breads on the Vegan Ménage à Trois but was deeply disappointed when the meal came out without it! We were told this was an error with the English menu but even online this is still listed as a part of the dish. The bread was lovely and the rest of the dips were fine but this is something I could get just about anywhere and I wouldn’t order it again however there were plenty of other vegan dishes available so would go back in the future.
Due to its proximity to our hotel, we returned to Vegebowl again, this time to sample the set dinner menu for 15€. There were some options when it came to this menu so I selected the house salad, “chicken” with cashew nuts, Cantonese rice and the jelly almond dessert. The salad was modestly sized but delicious with a slightly tangy and creamy dressing. The main course was awesome, the “chicken” was in a garlicky sauce and the Cantonese rice was just like a great fried rice. The dessert was not what I was expecting but was really nice once you avoided the weird skin that formed on top!
While sightseeing around Paris, we jumped off at a stop that I knew had some options nearby for lunch. Bioburger was unexpectedly closed so we went across the arcade to Vegitai. I wasn’t that excited about it because I had pumped myself up for a tofu burger but I was pleasantly surprised when I was served my vegan wrap, which was presented and tasted more like sushi. It was stuffed with seaweed, quinoa and pickled vegetables and was followed up with a vegan cake that I think may have been chocolate, cherry and maybe spirulina?
Rather than go back to Vegebowl for a third night in a row, we decided to try something different and went to Tibetain Tashi Tagye which was just around the corner. While it does serve meat, there is a vegetarian section on the menu which I had hoped would mean that asking about vegan options would be a lot easier than it was. I was told the few things that were vegan and chose the tsel paktril (battered and fried vegetables) for 5,20€ and the ngoetsel (vegetable curry) for 9€. The tsel paktril was HUGE and basically tasted like Indian bhajis, which are always delicious. Regrettably, the curry was nowhere near as satisfying and was basically a selection of limp vegetables in a watery sauce. I probably wouldn’t go back.
During a huge day of shopping, we took a lunch break and popped into EXKi near Galleries Lafayette. From what I had read, I was expecting more vegan options than were available but there were some soups and a few salads to choose from so I picked a pea and lentil salad. I wasn’t very hungry so this was a great choice and had some tanginess thanks to the pickled onions and a hint of spice thanks to the chilli. I spotted quite a few EXKi locations around Paris so if you’re ever stuck for food, you can always find something here.
For our final night in Paris we decided to try for some real French cuisine done vegan and La Potager du Marais had just the menu we were looking for. As most serving sizes in Paris throughout our stay had been quite small, I had prepared myself for the same and ordered an entree and a main but you could most definitely get away with eating an entree if you wanted to save cash or didn’t have a huge appetite. My entree of mushroom pâté (8€) was lovely and served with great wholemeal bread and a tangy salad. The breadless quinoa burger (18€) I had for the main was SO good and covered in vegan cheese, plus was served with more salad, I think some kind of kelp/seaweed and some buckwheat (even though I had asked for mashed potato). Due to the unexpected size of the meal, we decided to share a crème brûlée (8,50€) for dessert which had an awesome toffee top and gingery., creamy bottom.
So here’s my final wrap up for this trip!
Where to Stay
We stayed at Millennium Paris Hotel Opéra, which was a great location in terms of food, shopping and sightseeing. We were close to several metro stations, shopping like Galleries Lafayette, restaurants and the Paris Opera. While this hotel was quite pricey, the location and atmosphere were fantastic and I would stay there again.
We did a lot of walking due to our location and getting the metro is super easy and inexpensive. Taxis are reasonable and easy to get but the traffic is totally cray so be prepared for a lot of fast paced driving and slamming on the breaks!
Vegebowl is the place to be for inexpensive, tasty vegan eats while La Potager du Marais is your choice for a fancier, French affair.
What to Do
DISNEYLAND! Really though, if there’s a Disneyland in any city I am going there. This is without a doubt the worst Disneyland I have been to in terms of vegan options so take some food along just in case you’re unable to communicate effectively. Again, hop on/hop off buses are great for knocking out a great deal of sightseeing in a short amount of time and to get your bearings in a new city. The shopping is also fantastic and places like the Champs Élysées and Galleries Lafayette are fun for any budget.
Now… where should I go next?!