Veganism can be sometimes seen as a cult or as an unhealthy lifestyle in France. In addition, there is a lot of stigma attached to vegans right now: after a terrorist attack in March 2018, in which a butcher died, an important member of the vegan community cheered about his death. Whether we hail or condemn him, the fragile image of vegans was temporarily harmed, in the media at least.
The French have always perceived themselves as a beacon of great cuisine and rejecting animal products can be taken as a personal insult to their culture. Also, in France, your waiter/waitress might think that vegans can eat fish or other animal products, as some vegetarians do. You need to explain in detail what one does not eat when vegan.
This being said, veganism has made some good strides forward thanks to great ambassadors like the VG Patisserie, which attracts vegans and non-vegans alike as well as some respected health experts who recently took a stand on plant-based nutrition. In the Mecca of French cheeses, Paris as well as other main cities count several vegan cheese stores such as the now famous Jay and Joy.
There is a great growth in vegetarian meals in restaurants and supermarkets, but much less in vegan meals and foods. Do not lose hope! You will almost always find something to eat in a regular restaurant because the French do like their vegetables and absolutely LOVE their wine. There is plenty of vegan food by default in the local cuisine. Consult our Local Food page to get all the names of those dishes as well as those that can be veganized.
A good solution is also to buy your own produce and fruits (some of the highest quality in the world) in the local markets. Indeed, you will taste some of the best fruits and vegetables you ever had. Even the nuts taste better here!
Paris is by far the most vegan friendly city in France but other cities like Lyon and Bordeaux also boast many vegan establishments. On your way outside of major cities, pile up on local Vegan Snacks for your trip and for the first few hours at your destination until you can orient yourself. Here is a bit of Vegan Vocabulary for you to use, print or screen-shoot.
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