An American Vegan in Paris
As the title of this post suggest, I was not alone in Paris but very happily and luckily traveling with my daughter Tara. My worldly 23-year-old progeny had been to Paris twice before and as the consummate planner and “Yelper”, Tara wanted to assure that I could eat vegan in France, despite what she viewed as the overwhelming temptations of cheese and the omnivorous French cuisine. Though I delved into more baguettes than I can count, let me assure you that this vegan did not live on bread alone.
Arriving at 7:30 am we taxied to the hotel (near the Bastille) and then wandered through Le Marais. Rainy, cool springtime in Paris…si merveilleux! I mean, look at this beautiful passerelle:
Just to the left is Les Philosophes, where Tara had planned our first bite in Paris. As pictured above, we enjoyed some wonderful deep dark black coffee and chewy warm baguette with fig jam. (Not pictured: Tara’s des oeufs, but keepin it vegan here, people!) And, yes, I ate the entire baguette as we were in for some serious walking. In fact, we averaged 11 miles of walking a day, which is apparently de rigueur in Paris. (Asking you all to forgive any and all butchering I do of the French language…I studied Spanish in high school and even that is no excuse, so s’il vous plaît, pardonnez-moi! )
Food, Glorious (Vegan) Food and Walking it Off!
So we walked and walked and took in the wonderful architecture and shops and rues and people and cafés…AND walked up and appetite. Below is a map of Le Marais, the historical district of Paris, which is renowned for its cuisine, shopping and architecture. The literal translation of marais is “swamp” and it was definitely a swamp until the late 1300’s. From that time until the late 1700’s, it was THE place for French nobility, but then, you know, the Revolution and the “let them eat cake” stuff went down and Le Marais declined into a poor working class neighborhood. Per whatParis.com , “the royal haunts gave way to slums and poverty. The neighborhood’s long-standing Jewish community suffered tragic losses during the Holocaust and it was only in the 1960s that Le Marais‘ historic importance was recognised and the area revived.”
It was in the heart of this Jewish neighborhood, on the Rue des Rosiers that we devoured the most delicious falafel at Mi-Va-Mi. It’s competitor across the street, L’as Du Falafel was closed, which made our decision all the easier (apparently they are rivals, not unlike the cheese steak kings of Philly -Pat’s and Geno’s-…I was a Pat’s back in the day 😉 .
It only took a few minutes in line, but we were positively drooling in anticipation…plus we had to get the requisite FITA shot…
It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere…the French Apéro
Ok, I admit it…we did the unthinkable, the big no-no, and took a nap! Everyone who knows Tara knows that running on fumes is not her jam (ok, me neither) and despite the enormous falafel lunch, we were dragging. No sleep for over 24 hours and we were crying for a lay. So back to the Bastille to our lovely hotel and two hours later we were ready to go…see how happy Tara is!
We crossed over the Seine (oh how Parisian I sound) and walked through the Latin Quarter, taking a little detour through the Jardin des Plantes. The garden dates back to the early 1600’s and was originally called Le Jardin Royal des Herbs Médicales.
Picking up on the theme that plants are medicine (not really but it’s a good segue), we walked some more and a glance at our iPhones revealed that it is was time for happy hour or the French apéro. We headed to the heart of the Latin Quarter and were struck by the lively mix of college kids and post-grads enjoying libations at many an outdoor café. (A quick shout out here to my sister-in-law Sue of subeeskitchen.com, who provided us with City Walks:Paris our main go-to for mapping out our walking excursions.)
Again, a baguette, some delightful fig jam and a carafe of luscious wine and this American Vegan in Paris was good to go.
Stayed tuned for Part Deux….