Top 6 Things to Do in Paris (From a Frugal Vegan's POV)

Jan 4, 2015

Here are my 6 things on how to do Paris, France

Where to...(from a frugal vegan's point-of-view):

  1. Stay: Le Marais. This is where all the vegan food and fun is. However, I stayed at a cheap Air BNB in the 13th arrondissement and it was a perfect spot that was pretty close to everything too. 
  2. Eat: Loving Hut. Eat the crepe from Loving Hut! Shop in their little store for some vegan croissants and chocolate sauce so you don't die from walking by the million patisseries you can't eat at.
  3. Drink: M.O.B. Go to MOB to get a bite to eat, feel like you're in America again with vegan burgers and fries, and grab a beer. Sit outside on the second-story outdoor seating with a view of the Seine. 
  4. Walk: The Seine. Walk along the Seine river from Le Marais to the Eiffel Tower. This is a long, but beautiful walk where you will see the core of Paris. 
  5. Shop: Naturulia. This is a natural grocery store with some interesting food you can cook at home. But of course, don't miss the daily farmers markets that are to die for and have a picnic.
  6. See/do: Walk, again! Stroll through the 5th, 6th and 7th arrondissments. Walk everywhere and take in the beautiful architecture and lights at night. Check out Sorbonne, shop a little, and grab a bite to eat.
For the full blogs about being vegan in Paris, check this out:

Vegan in Paris blogs

Vegan in Paris Sucks, and My Thoughts on Paris

Mar 6, 2014

Paris in my head is a romantic, majestic place that mimics all the cuteness of the cartoon Madeline, the perfect uniqueness of Amelie, and the Eiffel Tower all rolled into one. The reality doesn't add up to that impossible equation, but I still have a small part of it in my heart.

Paris is not romantic. It has the most beautiful and planned architecture I have ever seen, but the attitude of the people make it outright annoying. The crowds of tourists and the irritated feel of the customer service makes it less and less romantic every second I'm there. Being vegan made them even more irritated and confused which was just...splendid. They thought we had a disease basically, but mostly they were offended that we were rejecting their way of life: bread, wine, cheese, meat, smoke - repeat.

I do have to admit that I am spoiled to live in America where customer service is 'the customer is always right'. You can take anything you can buy back to the store or restaurant. Most people are helpful and will smile at strangers. I guess in other countries they think that is the "dumb American helpfulness" but after enduring the fake kindness my whole life, it is hard to deal with the irritated French.

But all complaining aside, when we found amazing vegan restaurants and nice people - it was all the more exciting and wonderful. The daily markets are truly remarkable. We stayed in an Air bnb in the 13th Arr. on Rue Broca which was the best location to be in. You can wake up, take in the beautiful architecture, take the subway to the Eiffel Tower, Seine, Louvre, or just stroll through a park. Pick up some organic, flavorful food and have an impromptu picnic on the water.

My overall experience was not great. The French are cold to outsiders, which makes it not a very welcoming place. I could get used to the amazing health care, view, and food - not to mention location to every European country you could visit in a weekend. Also, Lucas' family and friends were really nice and hospitable to us. But maybe I can try the south of France next?

Loving Hut - Paris, France

Sep 21, 2013

I had an amazing time at Loving Hut, and I would have never expected it. I have been to over 12 Loving Huts all over the world, and the Paris location is the best Loving Hut I have been to!

I had been to some disappointing and expensive restaurants in Paris, with rude or just uninterested waiters. I had also been sad to hear that I had to walk by hundreds of creperies without eating anything!

Luckily, Loving Hut came to our rescue with the amazing crepe dish they offer. It was so good, and I miss it so much! The waitress was very nice and spoke a little English. They also sold vegan croissants in a bag, vegan dark chocolate spread, books, and more. I bought up everything and ate that the rest of the trip to curb my cravings for sweets.

I highly recommend trying this Loving Hut out, you won't regret eating the crepe!

Gentle Gourmet

Sep 21, 2013

I heard about this restaurant from a girl in America who said this was the most amazing restaurant in Paris. They had chocolate vegan croissants and the woman who owned it was from America and super nice.

Hmm. However, I had a completely different experience here.

I rushed over to the restaurant knowing they have very odd French hours. Breakfast ends at 11 and lunch starts at noon. I wanted breakfast with loads of croissants, so I arrived late, but on time at 10:50. I ask them if they have the croissants and they said they got rid of anything not organic including all pastries! Very sad indeed. We were not able to order lunch (which is a better menu) so we looked through breakfast. The waiter took 20 minutes to come back (at 11:10) and took our order for breakfast. He came back short after to tell us that the chef denied our request to eat (in an empty restaurant!) and we could no longer order anything at all until 12! He then simply walked away without caring that he had something to do with this... We waited another hour and ordered lunch, because there was no point in finding some other restaurant now, and finally ordered our food.

I got the portobello sandwich and my boyfriend got the seitan dish. The portobello was just average and the seitan was fairly good. But nothing to write more about. It was $60 euros for two meals and coffee. Kind of crazy prices and no empathy from any waiters on our starving-ness. I wouldn't go back here, but the food was ok. There are not too many vegan only spots in Paris that are real restaurants, so that's why it still gets a 3 star. Also, it is common service in France, so it wasn't too out of the ordinary.




France..The Loire Valley - Days 1 - 4

Sep 18, 2013

August 29 - September 1: Days 1 - 4
Loire Valley - Blois, Chambord, Amboise, Tours


Our trip to France started with a weekend trip to the Loire valley. The Loire is 100 miles south of Paris, full of chateaus (castles), villages, wine, and quiet landscapes. Lucas' childhood friend Nicolas planned our whole trip and was our tour guide and driver in the cities, so it was easy to jump in the car and go. We left for America on Thursday, August 29th, arrived in France on August 30th, and spent Friday through Sunday, September 1st in the Loire.

...But before I talk about that, I have to talk about how we started our 2nd European trip. We flew Air France on the A380 massive, 2-decker plane. This time they got the message of our special meals. The food was odd and one meal had two pieces of cold, hard tofu - so I will just say, try to avoid the food if at all possible when flying if you're vegetarian/vegan. The stewardess brought around a bucket (and I really mean bucket) of small French baguettes and even ice cream at 10pm. Very odd indeed, but that was just a peek into the French food for me.

We arrived at CDG at 11am where Nicolas was waiting with a sign with our names. We drove to Paris to find our Air Bnb apartment in a beautiful and perfectly located area in the 5th arr. (near the Latin Quarter and the Pantheon). We quickly got inside to take a look, grab the key and clean up. The pictures of the room online made it look really MUCH larger than I thought. It was the cramped French living I had heard about, bien sur. It was a loft layout with the bed up this ladder/step/bookcase, and the "couch" I thought I saw in the photo was actually a pillow sitting on the ground! The bathroom was honestly a glorified closet that somehow shoved a shower, sink and toilet in somehow? Very odd, but cute, secure, and was not inviting me to spend my days lounging around the house. It forced us outside, which was perfect for our stay in Paris.

We drove to Blois, a city in the Loire Valley first. We were both extremely tired, and I fell asleep on the way. It was only a 2 hour ride, and when we got there, we got to see the city at dusk, walk by Chateau de Blois, and watch people drink wine in the parks. We also got our first sight of the Loire river that separated each city with its massive width, but calm waters. We strolled around the city before driving to our final stop for the night at the bed and breakfast near Chateau de Chambord.

The house was in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. There was NO sounds of the city and as we arrive the sun was setting so we would soon see no light pollution and only stars. It was refreshing and almost shocking to hear and see nothing at night. The owner was very nice and spoke English, she lead us into our room and we came out to eat dinner. There were two other couples staying there and eating dinner with us. One couple was an old French couple, and the other was an older Dutch couple. There were three languages that would be constantly spoken and translated and mistranslated at the dinner the entire night. We ate snacks and wine on empty stomachs and waited for our "special" meal made for us, that eventually only amounted to potatoes and vegetables, more bread, and more wine.

The table got confusing as I would wait patiently for the conversation to be translated for me. I would misinterpret what I thought they were talking about in French, and the Dutch man (who looked like Asterix the Viking cartoon to everyone) and I would sit smiling at each other saying we did not understand a thing.

As the chicken came out and the table counted not enough food, and as we did not reach for chicken, the confused looks got even stronger. The conversation turned to only ask questions about our diet, which I hoped to avoid for my boredom and annoyance would kill me. The questioning lasted two hours on and off, and luckily the French got more carried away with talking about how the government, taxes, and big business would take over their lives rather than how vegans are weird. This is when I still had a taste for bread, but I would not tire of the wine.

The hosts suggested we take a ride to see the wild animals running through the forest and the illuminated castle at night. We were tired, but not too tired to see wild boar running through the streets. The warned us not to hit and kill any boar because the vegetarians may be upset. These lame jokes would continue through the French trip, but would luckily stop in Scandinavia.

We drove the car through the pitch black road filled with forest on either side. In less than 30 seconds we saw a wild boar running across the street followed by a wild deer who stopped to stare. The castle lay ahead about 2 miles and we took photos and roamed around the pitch black trees that lead up to the entrance. It was eerie to be out where there were no sounds or sights, only the sound of your shoes and the cold air on our necks with the big dipper shining the only light on our path.

We headed back and slept super well after a very long day.

The next morning was our first day in the Loire. We ate about 8 small baguettes with homemade jams of rhubarb, maribels, apricot and more. We drank our coffee, watched the beautiful scenery out the floor-to-ceiling windows, and went to Chambord by day.

The three of us toured the castle, an old hunting castle, and strolled around the large parks and moat. It was a little overcast, but great weather. We sat together and ate a picnic lunch of baguette sandwiches and fruit. We tried to roam through the forest but mostly hit into thorny trees and spiders.

We drove to Amboise for dinner, very disappointing selections of “vegetarian salads” that had fish (I guess French think that seafood (they call ‘fruits de mer’ fruit of the sea, is actually a fruit?). There was one natural grocery store tucked away, but she assured us that the search would be fruitless. After roaming the cobblestone streets, seeing the Loire river again, and we waited hoping hopelessly for a Chinese restaurant to have anything except pork.

There was a great ice cream shop that had chocolate sorbet that was spectacular. But to get the ice cream, I had to use my first bit of French. Annoyed and unamused, they started aggressively pointing to the size of the ice cream I wanted to spoke in English. My first bit of European customer service was quite stereotypical.

After realizing our expectations of Amboise food were correct, only meat in the gross Chinese buffet, we ate flat, tasteless pizza at a random restaurant on the main street – with beer. Sadly, my expectations of France were being realized, but I was still open for them to surprise me and try harder with my French.

That night, we spent another night viewing a castle. This time it was a special event where they play music and open the area for only a couple tourists at night. It was at Chateau de Chenonceau. After playing around in the dark forest full of buggies, spiders, and classical music, we slept at a common hotel, Ibis and fell dead asleep again.

The third day in Loire was spent on a Sunday in Europe – which I didn’t realize is when the Europeans hide in their houses all day and every store shuts down. Is it from a super religious past? Or a farming ritual? Whatever it is, it is very annoying to spend the day where the city is a complete ghost town! We visited Tours for our last day, but to our surprise, nothing was open. Nothing at all. The only food options I left for the last day were closed, all of the shopping, the castles, etc. Tumbleweeds flew down the streets basically. Anyway, we walked the city and found the one square where tourists hung out and ate ice cream, and left soon after. We went back to Nicolas’ house for dinner instead, and then he dropped us off in Paris by 10pm.

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Stay Tuned...EuroTrip 2013

Aug 11, 2013

Our 2nd European adventure will commence at the end of this month, so stay tuned for vegan restaurant and food scavenging tips in France, Sweden, and Norway. We're starting the trip in Lucas' homeland and ending in mine.

Our trip starts in the Loire Valley (100 miles south of Paris) where there are NO English reviews of vegan food. I'm jumping blindly, and the options are very slim. However, I will either come out writing about our experience, or show up dead from starvation - stay tuned! The Loire is known for beautiful, romantic castles and also wine! So we will have some picturesque photos and have great Champagne sparkling wine to fuel our trip. We'll be traveling to many stops around that weekend with our French friend/tour guide, so it should be an amazing couple days.

The next stop is Paris for the next couple days. We will stop by the obligatory Loving Hut, Gentle Gourmet, MOB, Maoz, and much more. In between trips to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, we will be walking the city looking for great markets, neighborhoods, and restaurants, and meeting the local people.

We then fly off to Stockholm to visit Lucas' friend, Kris. I'm not sure what to expect in Stockholm at all. They claim to be the most veg-friendly city in Europe? We'll see if that rumor is true. They drink more more than anyone in the world (behind Finnland), so instead of drinking wine at breakfast, lunch and dinner, like in France, we will be wired off fika (coffee). We can relax on some comfortable Malms at Ikea after the caffeine crash.

Finally, we'll be in Oslo for a quick trip to my homeland. I was hoping to visit my long-lost relatives, but I will most likely seeing where the great grandparents are from without any contacts. I'm hoping to spot some wildlife and head down to Drobak to where my family is from to see where Santa Clause came from. Food will most likely be tough, but we'll be in the big city - and some curry will probably get us by as usual.

I'm studying my French, so bon chance to me and my weak French skills navigating the meat loving Frenchie population. If I don't get the stink eye from a waiter, I will be very disappointed.