Paris, Day 1 – Airport Food, Touristy Stuff, A Kitten, And Of Course Vegan Noms
OMGawd, I’m Going To Europe!
A few weeks ago a good friend of mine informed me that he was heading to Europe, at the end of April, for the largest veg event in all the land, VeganFest 2012! Being a supporter of Will Travel For Vegan Food from day one, he kindly invited me to come along on what’s sure to be the perfect compliment to this grand vegan adventure. Sure, sure the trip is focused in the US but could I really pass up an opportunity to find out what the vegan scene is like in another country?! I think not!! And hey, we did go to Montréal a few months back. So really, some branching out had all ready begun! ;)
As it goes with much of my life these days, a trip to Europe came up rather last minute. Thankfully my friend took care of all the details, so in no time we were in route to Italy… um… with a 3.5 day “layover” in Paris!!! Eeee!! I’ve never been to either France or Italy so hold onto your hats (***pause for brief hyperventilation***), and as The Joker would say… here. we. go. (***resume hyperventilation***)
The timing of all of this is actually quite perfect. My friend, who did the planning and inviting (yay!), is currently stationed in Virginia for work. And where did my latest vegan adventures place me just in time for a joint adventure? Virginia of course! So, on Sunday afternoon we hopped a quick flight from VA to DC and then from DC to Paris.
Our flight to DC was delayed by at least an hour or so due to weather so we ended up missing our connecting flight to Paris. However, all was NOT lost! After about three hours in line at customer service (no biggy!) we were booked on the next flight to Paris which left only a few hours after our originally scheduled flight, and happened to be a shorter flight as well. Perfect!
This did leave us some time to scout out vegan noms at the Dulles Washington airport as we weren’t flying out until nine-something. After walking up and down Terminal C a few times, asking around a little, and doing some label reading to no avail, we eventually found ourselves staring at the menu board at a place called California Tortilla. To our surprise the word ‘vegan’ appeared on their menu. Just once! But that’s enough for me!! Especially when I’m a hungry hungry hippo! The “No Meato Burrito” – sauteed veggies, rice, black beans, guac, spicy sunset sauce, leaf spinach, and salsa “(vegan friendly)” hit the spot. Perfecto!
Not bad. Not bad at all.
During the 6.5 hour flight to Paris we were delighted to receive vegan chana masala as the main meal on board!! This is actually kind of a big deal. I’ve only been on one super long flight once before and I think the airline gave me a tuna sandwhich as their veggie option. Um. No. So this was a nice surprise. Although the side salad with cheese and ranch dressing, and bread and butter, were left untouched, this fairly tasty main course was gobbled up in no time.
Aaaaand sleep (sort of).
We arrived at the airport in Paris, picked up our luggage (thankfully it traveled with us despite the delay and missed flight), taxied to our hotel, checked in, took a two hour nap (if you’re like me and have an extremely difficult time sleeping on airplanes — even during red-eye flights — then this part is key), and then set off to find vegan food! Yaaay!!
Our very first dining out experience took us to one of the oldest veg establishments in Paris, Le Grande Appetit. Very cute and very welcoming. The server and chef/(owner?) were very kind and thankfully spoke English pretty well. Better than either of us can speak French!
9 Rue la Cerisaie (at Bastille)
Paris France 75004
01 40 27 04 95
Since we had arrived before 7PM we were initially told that they were only serving limited items. However, the chef came out to say that we could order anything we wanted off of the regular menu. How lovely! We decided on a piece of the chickpea and caramelized onion pie, as well as the nori rolls. Pretty good!
As we were finishing up, another English speaking couple came in and sat a few tables down from us. They asked us if we were from the States and then ended up chatting with them for a little bit. One of the two are vegan, though her partner jokingly admitted that he’s on the cusp or has been toying with vegetarianism for a while. We learned that they’ve spent quite a bit of time in Paris. It’s one of their favorite cities though they currently reside in North Carolina.
They were incredibly kind and made a few vegan restaurant recommendations as well as explained to us how the city is broken up into twenty arrondissements municipaux administrative districts, or arrondissements (see map here). Once we understood how this worked it made it much easier to get around.
Now that we were rested and full it was time to do some exploring! Pictured below: a beautiful side street (I need to take some pictures of the super cool doorways and courtyards around here!), metro tickets (one per ride!), a kitty on the metro (what!?), and the Eiffel Tower (oooh aaaah).
Believe it or not it was close to 9PM when I took the picture above, of the Eiffel Tower. Pretty light out! But given the time we needed to find a place to eat before heading back to the hotel. We ended up going to Loving Hut as it was open late and my friend Aurelia (who lives here!) said that it’s worth checking out. Perfect!
92 Boulevard Beaumarchais
Paris France 75011
01 48 06 43 84
This is by far the best Loving Hut location I’ve been to (there are hundreds of locations worldwide). From the decor to the food, this place is really great! They also sell some to-go items, pictured in the case below, and carry some educational materials – like Colin Campbell’s The China Study and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, in French (of course!).
For food we ordered the fresh spring rolls, pho soup, and pizza! For dessert we had a banana split. Eating vegan in Paris?! No problem, ami!!!
On our way out I left behind a ‘Will Travel For Vegan Food was here’ decal and business card. I might have also staged a business card, for a vegan sweets place here called Vegan Folie’s, as well as a flyer for VeganFest in Italy, in this pic. Teehee!
It’s around 11:30AM on Tuesday right now. We’re going to meet up with a friend for lunch, do some more sight seeing, probably more food (w00p!), and then back to the hotel so I can update you on even more vegan goodies from Paris! Weeeee!!!!
PS – I feel blessed beyond words for this experience and am over the moon to be able to share it with each of you. xoxo :)