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Restaurants in France (esp. Normandy area) for a Vegetarian?

Hi fellow travelers,

Getting into the details of travel planning for our fall trip to France. Since one of our group (that would be me) is a vegetarian, I've been looking for options in each of the places we are staying. I have been using happy cow.net and trip advisor, etc. to track down some vegetarian-friendly restaurants. It would appear there are NONE in Bayeux or Amboise?! Odd since there is at least one in the smaller town of Honfleur! Places we are staying this trip include Paris, Honfleur, Bayeux, Mont St. Michel and Amboise. Please advise of any restaurants you have been to or can recommend with at least one or two vegetarian options?! I knew it was going to be slim pickings eating in France as a veggie but still trying to find a few options. Thanks for any help here.

Happy Travels (and meals)!

Posted by
8249 posts

Well, I am doing the RS Paris and Heart of France in Oct so will not have been to the area before you travel. However, I did not have too much of a problem in Paris, Chartres and Giverny finding vegan meals for myself. Most restaurants had salad, soup or some kind of pasta that would work for me. In Paris you can get great falafel for lunch and one of the restaurants on Rue Cler actually has a tofu "burger". I am not big on tofu, but it was pretty good (pretty sure the bun was not vegan).

I am guessing people have just not added restaurants from those areas but I am betting there will be less problem than you think especially if you are vegetarian and not vegan.

I do carry a translation card that I printed from the Toronto Vegetarian Association and find that helpful at times.

I did look back and see you have been on a couple of RS tours. Frankly, I had an easier time eating vegan in France than in Ireland which I found difficult.

Posted by
213 posts

Hi Pam,

I hope you are correct! I'm not so worried about Paris, have looked up a few options there but when I tried to look up vegetarian in Normandy (Bayeux and Amboise for example) not a single option comes up. Hoping Italian or something like that will work. Yes, I went on the RS Ireland tour in 2012 (awesome by the way) but was not a vegetarian then. I converted to being vegetarian on 1/1/13. Since then have I have traveled to Berlin, Prague and Barcelona as a vegetarian (not vegan). Of those, Barcelona was the toughest; ate a lot of pizza, salad and fries there (non too healthy). I like the idea of the postcard requesting vegetarian options. My hubby has a cool app that will translate also. Thanks for your reply, appreciate it! Have a great trip! :0)

Posted by
14327 posts

I spent two weeks in eastern France and had no trouble eating only vegetarian. There are always veggie options on the menu. Consult with your waiter, who will be able to point out all the options. Some places will even prepare something special. Many will adapt a dish (like leaving off the bacon) or turning a starter or side into a full serving.

Posted by
213 posts

Hi Chani!

Thank you for your reassurance! I am one of those 'plan as much as possible' types so trying to find a few restaurants in areas we are staying in. I know I won't starve but it's nice to have a veggie friendly restaurant or two in mind. It really was difficult in Barcelona even though it's such a big city, mostly hamon and seafood. That said, I'd go back tomorrow, so loved that city.

Happy Travels

Posted by
8249 posts

Here are some links to the translation cards if that is of interest to you. The first link is vegan not vegetarian, but you could line thru what is OK for you to eat.

http://veg.ca/2013/01/17/vegetarian-travel-translation-cards/

http://www.worldaccent.com/blog/2012/10/vegetarian-translation-card.html

There are also some you can purchase, but really I don't see the point in that. The ones off the internet seem fine and for me it's not like I have a life-threatening allergy to non-vegan stuff. From your time in Paris you may have a handle on the names of foods in French but that was also helpful for me to see whether I needed to have things left off a salad.

In smaller towns in Italy even with the card I sometimes got non-vegan. On the RS Village Italy we did a cooking class and the people fixed my brother and me some special stuff, one of which was a quiche type thing with no cheese but lots of egg. They were so proud that they had fixed us something special, we both ate it. Just could not hurt their feelings! They also gave us pasta with wild boar sauce on it (apparently wild boar is not considered meat, lol) but I picked at that and did not eat much. There was plenty of other food!

Posted by
14327 posts

Jaye, French bread, cheese, wine, locally grown fruits and vegetables. You can eat your way through France. And if the main course is light, then get a really rich yummy dessert!

Posted by
2297 posts

Especially in Northern France, I'd keep my eyes out for Creperies. "Galettes" (buckwheat pancakes) come in a variety of fillings including many meatless options. Yummy , cheap & healthy!

To find a list of creperies in Bayeux click here

Posted by
213 posts

Thank you Pam, Chani and Beatrix!

Since I do love bread, cheese, wine, salads and desserts all will be good I'm sure. :0) The crepe suggestion is also an excellent one, love the savory and the sweet! Appreciate the advice, links and reassurances.