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Vegan in Southern France

As I shared previously how my experience was as a vegan in other countries, today I am talking about how it is to be a vegan in Southern France. I mentioned before that we’ve been to multiple cities, so this is quite an accurate representation. Overall there is a struggle to have vegan dishes as most of them don’t understand what vegan is. With a bit of explaining, “pas de beurre, pas des oeufs, pas de lait” it gets clear, but not necessarily easier. Unless a restaurant has a clear vegan marking on their dishes is pointless to ask. Some small restaurants would make something specific for their clients though.

hotel

I will start with the hotel breakfast choices. We had various jams with bread. It’s great for a day or if you are a 5-years-old. We were not impressed by day 2. There was no salad, despite being in a place with amazing veggies. It was just puzzling.

The nearby shop had some vegan sandwiches and houmous, but they ran out before we finished our stay there. We went to a bigger shop and they had a lot of options, but we had to take the taxi to get there.

Aix en Provence vegan restaurant

Now, let’s talk about restaurants. We had this meal at a lovely restaurant in Aix-en-Provence. The only issue with it is that Horae is open from 7pm to 9pm from Wednesday to Saturday. There was another restaurant open for about 2 hours at lunchtime, which had a schedule that never worked for us.

To put it into perspective, Aix-en-Provence has the same population as York. There are 6 fully vegan places in York and 2 more that are veggie. There are also lots and lots of vegan options at the other restaurants.

Aix en Provence

We had to have burgers in one evening because it was the only option. None of the other nearby restaurants had vegan options. We did have fun that we had French fries in France though. The burger was lovely, no questions about it, but I would have liked something French.

Aigues-Mortes

Aigues-Mortes is a small city with under 10k people, but it is visited by a lot of tourists. The falafel and fries were naturally vegan. The sauce was tahini, so again it worked. The mocktail was lovely. I liked that they had quite a few options for non-alcoholic drinks.

Avignon

Avignon was possibly the best for food. This was our lunch at the V&G, with white wine, of course. The menu changes daily or every few days and it was fantastic. This is the only veggie place in the city centre though.

Marseille

In Marseille we had a lovely vegan lunch at a non-vegan place. It was clearly labelled on their menu, so we went in. Funnily enough, we were not the only vegans (or vegetarians) there, as so few places cater for vegans. There was a nearby vegan place, but the staff was unprofessional, so we’ve avoided them.

Nimes

Nimes was slightly better, with 2 places in the city centre. Above is a picture of our lunch at the vegetarian Le Caboulot de la Serendipite, near the arena, so very close to the city centre. They have a crazy schedule: from 12 to 2pm and from 7.30 pm to 10 pm from Wednesdays. You either make your schedule to accommodate them or try your luck with the shops. The food was good.

Below is another place from Nimes, Copper Branch. We once again had burgers. The staff was lovely and the place is 100% vegan, but burgers again. I got the bowl, which was lovely.

Nimes

Tunisian sweets

In Aix-en-Provence we found Tunisian sweets. These were traditionally made with oil, thus they were vegan. I loved that place, all of these were so good. I would have any of them again. The one with the almond on top was very moist, the others were biscuits filled with stuff, like dates.

shop - juice

What was interesting and I haven’t seen before, this make-your-own-pressed-orange-juice. It was in a shop near the train station in Marseille, not expensive either. I loved it.

shop - tomatoes

Just look at these glorious veggies. I had so many tomatoes. We bought tomatoes and had them with crisps and houmous at the hotel. On our second week in France we stayed in another place where we had a hob and fridge. For some reason I didn’t photograph the vegan options from the supermarket, but the bigger places have quite a few options.

shop - veggies

2 Comment

  1. Perhaps I’m stereotyping, but maybe the French are too enamored of their cheese, cream, and butter to cater much to vegans. Even here, I find people don’t always truly understand the difference between vegan and vegetarian.

    I can usually count on fries (chips) when I eat someplace, especially if they’re hand cut… but did you know that (at least in the US) McDonald’s uses some additive in their fries that makes them no longer vegan?

    Those Tunisian sweets look delightful.

    1. You are right in a way, they do add butter to everything. But I don’t think that is because they like it, but because they are rather conservative. Thinking of stereotypes, the British are seen as conservative, but in fact the society is accepting and engages with new cultures and minorities. For example, most shops including shops in services off the motorway have things like houmous. Theoretically that would cater for a small percentage of the population, but it was adopted by Brits everywhere.
      In France I only saw Frech food, pizza, burgers, and, strangely, a lot of sushi. In UK there are lots of different restaurants and takeaways – Chinese, Turkish, Indian, Italian, Caribbean, Thai, Lebanese, and so on. Despite having a significant population of Africa origin in southern France, I haven’t seen a lot of African products.

      I had no idea about additives. Not all fries are vegan in UK either, mainly because they are either fried in the same oil with other stuff like cheese or chicken.

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