Overall, France is not yet the vegan heaven that we all wish it to be. It is still the bastion of traditional meat and cheese-based “haute-cuisine” and it is not ready yet to give up on that image. It holds on tight to its celebrated leadership in high-fashion and may not be quite ready yet to give up fur or ambergris (from whale’s digestive system) in its perfumes.
But hey, look at the French and their revolutions, they know just how to do an almost instant 180 degree turn when the time is right. Don’t forget they are the ones that have set a butcher’s shop on fire last year. Whether that was wise or not, the French demonstrate frequently and use crowds and radical actions to bring about changes. Once upset, they want action.
So, France is changing and nowhere else is that change felt more than in Paris. This happened fast, within the last couple of years and in such a short period of time the national understanding of what veganism is, how it affects your health and the wellbeing of the animals has become wide spread. Vegan times are here to stay and France seems to have understood that.
Within a handful of years, demonstrations about the cruelty incurred by animals in the meat industry have managed to attract tens of thousands of people in the streets, and the topic of cruelty to animals has managed to become a widely talked about subject in the news.
Doctors are creating groups requesting from the government to publish research articles that prove that a vegan diet is safe at all ages. They insure that their demands be published in the main newspapers.
Let’s not forget that the French statistically own the largest number of pets in the world. It is through their love of their pets that some people reach the realization that other animals are sentient too. Once woken, people can’t go back to a complacent sleep any more, not with Fido watching TV on their knees anyway. Though the correlation of owning a pet and not eating meat is slim, one can imagine that 50 million pets (almost one per person) would act upon the French consciousness.
Vegan and vegetarian restaurants have sprouted all over Paris and are convincing the staunch
sceptics that vegan food can be good and it is not “cow’s food”.
The chefs now bring the same know-how and refinement to vegan versions of French cuisine, as can be seen and tasted at the VG Patisserie, which is already making lots of local adepts out of proving that one can be cruelty free and still protect the traditional taste of French favorites like croissants and mille-feuilles.
In 2018 at least 10 well know chefs have started offering vegan option in their Michelin starred restaurants or have converted the whole establishment to being vegan.
Supermarkets are catering to the 3% estimated number of vegans in France and vegan milks, yoghurts, puddings, biscuits etc. can now be found in all food store chains. Many people using those products are not vegans but get tantalized through the great taste of the products.
You can still find many articles in the main French newspapers warning of the risks of a vegan diet, but in the last couple of years they are being gradually replaced by pieces genuinely interested in understanding and informing the public in a less biased manner.
Health education is percolating right down to the people. Vegan physicians appear on TV. Many schools are serving a meatless option everyday at the cafeteria, some make it a point to serve a full veg. meal once a week.
France was just voted among the 10 healthiest travel destinations in food trends in 2018.
Paris is now the new IN place to go to as a vegan. The world is changing fast.
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