With the level of choice and quality on offer, the Parisian culinary scene is a dream come true for committed foodies. That is, unless you're vegetarian. With meat the star attraction of France's world-revered cuisine, don't be surprised if your assertion of vegetarianism is met with confusion. Luckily, though, dig a little deeper and you'll discover a limited yet flourishing vegetarian (and dare I say it, vegan) restaurant scene. So don't fret if the sight of yet another beef bourguignon sends you packing-- your next great vegetarian or vegan meal is just around the corner if you know where to head.
Tel.: +33(0)1 43299829
Metro: Saint Michel
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A five-minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral, this quaint little left-bank restaurant arrived on the scene in 1978. Seating is available on two floors, and the set lunch and dinner menus provide a good choice for vegetarians and vegans alike (skewered seitan, lentil moussaka, tofu ravioli, etc.) The juices are highly recommended too.
Tel.: +33(0)1 42721779
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Combine good vegetarian food with romance in Piccolo Teatro, hidden away on Rue des Ecouffes in the Marais district. Couples can enjoy an intimate, atmospheric evening here. The cuisine is a mix of Italian and Indonesian, and the menu provides a mix of hot soups, salads, curries and pasta, all of which can be washed down with a bottle of organic red wine. Main courses cost between 10-15 (approx. $13-20) and there's a special tasting menu for first-timers. Reservations are recommended.
Tel.: +33(0)1 42581557
Possibly the smallest and most intimate of Parisian veggie restaurants, Au Grain de Folie is a homey vegetarian eatery in the Montmartre district. A stone's throw from the Sacre Coeur, visiting vegetarians should not miss out on this off-the-beaten-track gem. Make sure to call ahead, though, to secure one of the elusive tables. This is a quirky experience, to say the least, but will please those with a more traditional veggie palette looking for a healthy, balanced meal. Open for lunch and dinner, Au Grain de Folie serves wholesome organic fare at reasonable prices.
6. Le Marais
Address: 54 rue Ste-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie, 75004
Tel.: +33(0)1 48874871
Metro: Hôtel de Ville or St-Paul
Formerly Aquarius, this restaurant is one of the best-known among the Paris vegetarian community. The menu is a combination of salads, wheat pancakes and savory tarts, with fish dishes also a feature (puritans beware!). Organic wine is on the menu but smoking is not, making it one of the few restaurants to offer a smoke-free environment pre-2008. Vegans should check with wait staff before ordering. There have been some reports of unfriendly service here.
Tel.: +33(0)1 42 74 24 66
Metro: St Paul
Also located in the Marais, this restaurant is a convenient stop following a visit to the Centre Georges Pompidou. Compact and hectic, the atmosphere is fun and homey. Hot soups, homemade tofu, and seitan bourguignon are all on the menu, which has a la carte and set menu options. Allow for between 10-15 (approx. $13-$20) for an a la carte meal, and the set menu (starter, main course and dessert) costs 20 (approx. $26). All dishes are prepared with organic ingredients.
Tel.: +33(0)1 42057843
Metro: Gare du Nord
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An authentic Indian curry is almost as hard to come by as vegetarian food in Paris, but fortunately, Krishna-Bhravan provides a little of both under the same roof. Crepes and basmati rice are served with spiced vegetables and sauces (which are often dairy-based, so vegans should check suitability before ordering). Value for money here is second-to-none: for less than a tenner, you'll feast on a main course, pappadams, soup, salad and a traditional Indian dessert. Take-out is also available.
Tel.: +33(0)1 40279479
Part of a chain of restaurants, this French cafe offers a tropical atmosphere and an innovative menu. While not exclusively vegetarian, it's worth a mention as there are plenty of healthy, meatless options to choose from, including soybean salads, skewered tofu and pineapple, and Indian vegetable curry. Main courses range from 10-15 (approx. $13-$20). Inventive ice creams, juices and smoothies average at 7 (approx. $9), and are a must for any visit here. Great for a refreshing spring or summer meal.