France encompasses medieval cities, alpine villages and Mediterranean beaches. Paris, its capital, is famed for its fashion houses, classical art museums including the Louvre and monuments like the Eiffel Tower. The country is also renowned for its wines and sophisticated cuisine.
Our Vegan Tour of France
We are a Paris based vegan travel agency and have travelled in France for the last 40 years. That's the time you need to explore all the regions, each with their own character and attractions. Our journey started in the south in Provence, with it's many medieval towns and diverse landscapes, from the Southern Alps, rolling vineyards, olive groves and lavender fields. You can travel along the Côte d'Azur (or French Riviera), where the elegant city of Nice and glamorous resort towns such as Saint-Tropez and Cannes line the coast. To the east visiting towns like Aix, Avignon, Nimes is like going back in time. Traditional, regional, freshly prepared food is at the heart of French culture. The French Alps have the best skiing in the world, we go there every year, providing about the only vegan food you will find there. December is the best time to visit Strasbourg, for it's famous Christmas market. Close to the German border the towns there are known for their half timbered houses.
Paris is a city you will quickly fall in love with. Wandering down the river Seine from the Eiffel Tower to the 12th-century, Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral. Drop into a café and watch the world go by. The Louvre is where you will see the Mona Lisa, though my favourite art gallery is the Musée d'Orsay with a great selection of French impressionist paintings.
A short drive to the south of Paris is the Loire valley, famous for it's many chateaux. To the east you can visit the Champagne region. Traveling on to towards Lyon, we can take you to all the best vegan vineyards.
How vegan friendly is France?
France has suddenly become very vegan aware. It's a country where the cuisine has evolved over hundreds of years and new ideas are not often quickly accepted. However, once they decide to make the leap, they can move very fast. France has a tradition of hunting and eating anything that moves from snails to frogs and will try anything if you add a little garlic. Special occasions require "foie gras", though in 2008 the association L124 was founded to fight this as well as animal causes in general. Today in cafés, across France young people especially can be heard espousing the virtues of a plant based diet. It's something that I never thought I would witness and it's really quite surreal.
France has always been a nation of animals lovers. When I first arrived there were more pets than people. Today there are around 14 million cats and 8 million dogs. The dogs are generally well trained and always pampered. The book A Year in the Merde comically told of Paris's dog poop problem on the pavements. I am happy to report that the problem has miraculously cleared up. Today France has spent $5.2 billion in 1988 alone to care for 35 million domestic animals.
In Paris the vegan scene has exploded and we have gone from zero to 50 fully vegan restaurants. More amazing still, is the number of restaurants offering a vegan option.
To see what is going on check here
Vegan restaurants and cafes
In Paris the vegan scene has exploded and we have gone from zero to 70 fully vegan restaurants in just a couple of years. Dozens of cities and towns across France have at least one vegan and a couple of vegetarians restaurants, to cater for the rising demand. Happy Cow is listing around 500 in total, it's phenominal. More amazing still, is the number of restaurants offering a vegan option. They are everywhere, not just in the touristy areas. The café chain "Pret-a-manger" in Paris introduced a whole range of vegan options and are maintaining at least one opton. As well as finding "le bigmac" there is now also the "McVegan", so you can join your friends in their fast food lifestyle.
In bakeries instead of asking for a normal baguette you should try "une baguette tradition", which is made with pure wheat flour, water and salt, and no additives at all. A baguette de tradition must be baked on the day it is sold and the dough cannot have been frozen. There is an increasing variety of wholemeal breads available.
Check our vegan restaurant guide.
Vegan friendly accommodation
There is a great selection of B&Bs in every region of France. They generally only have a few rooms and can get booked up quickly, especially when they are on a tourist route. Another option is to look for eco certified hotels, which will be able to offer at least a vegan breakfast when notified in advance.
See our full list and reviews here....
Vegan food shopping
All basic items like plant based milk and yoghurts can be found in all supermarkets and even local convenience stores. There is also a massive network of organic food shop chains. The biggest player is Biocoop, which has existed in France for over 40 years with 530 stores. It is followed by La Vie Claire with 325 stores and Biomonde with 200 stores. Another great entry in to the market which has expanded quickly is Naturalia with 150 stores.
Naturalia have opened 4 stores in Paris that are 100% vegan.
See here for a list of food brands....
Paris Walking tour
Explore the very chic and historic 3rd district of Le Marais, its narrow alleys, secret gardens and its typical Parisian atmosphere.
Eat in the best vegan restaurants of the area, discover a cruelty-free leather brand and grab a bite of cashew cheese.
From the famous Place de la République to Arts et Métiers, through the "Archives" and the Temple area.
Vegan culinary courses
Super Natural propose high quality (organic / local ingredients) vegan cooking classes in Paris and in the french countryside. In Paris they have an atypical space in Montmartre, the 18th district . Light, space and charm make this workshop an ideal place to cook differently.
The atmosphere is warm, welcoming, like at home, with a culinary library corner, lounge area with piano, breakfast area and of course large open kitchen!
The Super Natural Workshops end with a warm meal accompanied by a glass of wine, a perfect time for sharing.
Land in France is still largely farmed in traditional ways by smallholders practising bio-diversity. This has left many parts of France's rural environment relatively intact with a rich insect and plant life and it's wildlife more diverse. Despite an overall decline in wildlife due to industrial-scale agriculture, there are areas, especially in the hills of the southern half of France, where wildlife continues to thrive. Some species that had almost died out have reappeared or been reintroduced, such as griffon vultures in the Massif Central and the Pyrenees; bears, bears in the Pyrenees; wolves in the Alps, marmots in the Massif Central; there are even some elusive lynx in the Jura.
See the rut of the Red Deers in the southern French Alps,
Head to the mountain regions, the Alps or Pyrenees to spot these along with wild sheep.
There are several places with colonies of hundreds of Griffon vultures
Cranes can be seen at Lake Der-Chantecoq, which is the largest artificial lake in Western Europe.
The flamingo is the bird emblem of the Camargue. Also famous for it's breed of white horses.
This is an amazing project to build an elephant sanctuary in the heart of Europe, to look after retired elephants and give people a chance to see them in a different way and learn more about these majestic and intelligent creatures.
There are no elephants yet.
The construction of the elephant barn and fence is in progress.
EHEES = Elephant Haven European Elephant Sanctuary
Elephant Haven is a sanctuary for zoo and circus elephants.
More and more European countries are banning wild animals in circuses.
There are more than 100 elephants in circuses in Europe.
We want to help because relocating them back to their country of origin is not always possible, while creating a safe haven for them is possible.
There is a need for elephant sanctuaries in Europe.
To offer elephants a place for life
The resocialisation and rehabilitation of elephants.
To develop informative programmes about elephants and their behaviour, in captivity and in the wild.
To develop educational programmes about the local fauna and flora.
To encourage a re-connection with nature and with all her creatures, to raise awareness and respect for the environment