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Affordable Vegetarian or Vegan options in Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, and Mont-Saint Michel

Hi,
Are there vegetarian or vegan food in Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, and Mont-Saint Michel? Which restaurants/grocery stores do you recommend in those places? Are they cheap? We like to save on money. How can I find such restaurants or grocery stores? How can we save money on food in our travels?

Thank you so much for your time and consideration in reading this email.

Posted by
2924 posts

Do you know about happycow dot net? It has been a global vegetarian resource for about as long as the WWW has been around. It lists restaurants and stores. However, like North America, you can find a lot of supplies at the regular grocery store - but even better, farmer's markets. Those won't be as cheap, but definitely fresh and local.
Because of food allergies, I tend to get apartments rather than hotels, but even then, I stop at a market and eat in the park or my hotel room. Take a basic picnic supply with you - plastic plates, salt & pepper (or your favourite condiment), spork or K/F/Spoon, bandanas for napkins and you can eat in for several meals a week.

Posted by
7736 posts

You'll have lots of choices in Paris. As Maria suggested, I use HappyCow.net but often I'll just stroll wherever I am and read menus. I don't want to travel across town to a "vegan" restaurant when I'm hungry and a restaurant nearby will work.

Do get familiar with French words for menu items so you can easily rule out beef/pork/veal/lamb/various seafood/milk products. Rick has a small French phrase book and dictionary that is handy. I've got a more extensive food phrase book but it's too complex so I just use his phrase book if there is something I don't recognize.

When I am in Paris I do love falafel. I don't have much available locally that would even pass for falafel so I get myself over to the Marais and eat at my favorite falafel place Mi-va-mi. Across the pedestrian street is a maybe more well known place L'As du Fallafel but I like the food better at Mi-va-mi. It was recommended to me by another RS forum member, Donna. It is usually inexpensive - a falafel pita and drink is maybe 10E.

Another falafel place without much of a sit-down area is Maoz. I like the one on Rue Saint-Andre-des-Arts in the Saint-Germain-des-Pres area. It is even less expensive - maybe 8E for a falafel pita and a drink.

Some boulangeries sell pre-made baguette sandwiches which are inexpensive. Many offer just meat or have butter on them but there is one near Notre Dame that does a very nice vegan one - just veggies and no butter or mayo. The place is called Hure and it's on Rue d'Arcole.

There is also a gelato shop that has vegan sorbetto. It's called Amorino and has a number of shops thru Paris. They generally have their vegan selections labeled but staff is usually very well-informed.

I've traveled to Mont-Saint-Michel but was with a Rick Steves tour group. The guide was able to get me a vegan meal for our group meal there but otherwise I think it might be difficult. Most of the restaurants on the island are pretty touristy and serve a lot of seafood or egg-based dishes.

Normandy and the Loire Valley will be easier altho you may have to fall back on Italian food or salads.

Grocery stores everywhere (except maybe MSM) will have prepared salads. I often go in to look for small tubs of hummus and get bread to go with. Do read the labels as sometimes the hummus has some kind of cream added.

Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
195 posts

If you're in the Gare de Lyon area, there's a nice organic restaurant, Le Crémieux, w/lots of vegan/veggie options, at the corner of Rue Crémieux (hugely popular w/Instagrammers, apparently – we just stumbled on it and were enchanted). Dishes start at €9.

There was a thread here recently called something like "don't laugh – vegan restaurants in Paris?"

Posted by
11158 posts

Here's the thread Laura is referring to: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/france/vegan-paris-restaurants

There are grocery stores all over. A biomarché is an organic grocery, and they will have even more items for you. You can put the term into Google Maps for the exact areas you are visiting (Normandy and the Loire valley are large places) to find specific stores near where you'll be. However, every regular supermarket will have also have vegetarian and vegan items at good prices.

Posted by
156 posts

Here is another recent conversation: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/france/vegan-plant-based-family-in-paris

We always get an apartment with a kitchen so we can prepare most of our own meals. Not only is that personal preference, but it suits our budget as well. Additionally, we enjoy shopping at the outdoor markets.

When looking for grocery stores, we use the query "supermarket" as opposed to "grocery store", as it seems to work better. In Paris I think the two biggies are Monoprix and Carrefour. For "health food stores", use "biomarket". In Paris and in Strasbourg, we have shopped at Naturalia, which has multiple locations.

Cheap is a relative thing. You have to buy food at home, so your question is how much more do you spend when elsewhere. One of Denis' sayings is that we have to eat, so groceries cost what they cost. And that's likely still less than three a day in restaurants.

If you have a device that has Google translate on it, be sure to take it with you when you go shopping. And as Pam says, learn some of the names of the items you don't want to eat, so as to avoid them.

And for heaven's sake, don't forget your daily baguette(s)!

And yeah, falafel in Paris, sigh, grin. :-)