Vegan and planning to visit France? Brace yourself to hear the following mantra every stinkin' time you mention your upcoming holiday: "France? Vegan? You'll starve to death!" This is the second most common phenomenon for herbivores - the first, of course, being that everyone you meet becomes a qualified nutritionist upon learning of your veganism.
So, to those who pooh-pooh the idea that you'll be able to sustain yourself healthily whilst immersing yourself in Gallic culture, you can confidently say, "Balderdash!" - and here's why...
I visit the City of Light about twice a year and recently stayed an entire month. My weight remained constant...chiefly because I frequently indulged in things such as Speculoos a Tartiner and mushroom pâtes on fresh baguette, often washed down with Chimay beer (I'm legal!). If I hadn't shifted my backside all round the arrondissements, I'd have needed to book an extra seat on Eurostar for my return journey.
On each of my subsequent visits, being a vegan in France becomes less like having a second head. The French are really coming round to the idea of the cruelty-free lifestyle and media coverage grows. Social justice issues are the heart of the passionate Gauls and they'll fight to the death for their beliefs. Need I mention that they have some of the classiest animal advocates. Brigitte Bardot? Come on!
Whether self-catering (in which case, Monoprix - with its own-range vegan burgers and Sojasun yoghurts and burgers - is your best mate) or eating out, you need never hear your tummy rumble.
For a list of vegan-friendly establishments:
Vegan France is an indispensable resource. Here, you'll find helpful phrases (French people will love you for trying to speak even one word of their language) and vegan-friendly chain restos: http://www.vegan-france.com/
Allez! Vive Vegan!
By Kat Himmel