I had a month-long stay in Paris this summer for a school-related / art history thing. One of the concerns when eating a plant-based or vegan diet is the availability of food options when traveling - such was my mindset upon arrival (and my mom's worry for weeks and weeks prior tbh).

Within a few days in the city however, I found that there was nothing to worry about at all - the plastic, lidded container I'd packed useful only as a serving dish. (Scroll down to the numbered list to skip the spiel and get into the restaurant recs). 

It's true that I did have to plan a little bit ahead sometimes but looking back, my experience was never marred by any sort of anxiety about my meals. I looked forward to buying groceries at a new place and to trying all of the vegan restaurants I starred on my Google Maps app. I was also pleasantly surprised when I found vegan options at non-veggie establishments.

Because I was abroad and I wanted to try all the things Paris had to offer, I gave myself some leniency with the non-healthy vegan foods that I tried. While here in LA I don't like to consume overly processed foods like table sugar or white flours - I limit the amount of bread that I eat in general, and fill my plate with whole foods like beans, lentils, brown rice, vegetables, potatoes, fruits, nuts, and greens. My indulgences are things like coconut milk ice cream and falafels. This way of eating works for me, it maximizes my energy and keeps my mood in tip top shape.

While in Paris however, I definitely indulged in things like baguettes and sorbets - and often. I felt the difference it made in my energy levels but I didn't want to waste the opportunity for artisanal French breads, vegan pizza, and trips to the gelato shops. So I didn't, I went out and had fun and enjoyed myself that whole month.

Despite the indulgences, it is quite easy to be healthy in Paris in terms of avoiding additives, preservatives, and other gross unnecessaries. Open-air markets happen all around town on different days of the week, shops that sell only fruits and vegetables are easy to find, and the food sold at restaurants, the breads at the boulangerie, the orange juice in the market - it doesn't feel as if it sits in a freezer or on a shelf for weeks, but rather like it was made right then and there. In the case of orange juice it literally is.

All of this is to say that the while the trip did indeed help to cement my love of travel - it also helped to cement the love I have for the way that I choose to eat. Now that I'm back state-side I have returned to my refined-sugar free lifestyle. I don't eat out often and I don't regularly buy bread here - and feel all the better for it, although I feel a bit more liberated now that I know how these things affect my body.

Now for the fun part though - some of the restaurants I tried and loved while in the City of Lights (in no particular order):

1. ivlo | 10 Rue Lucien Sampaix | A vegetarian (though mostly vegan) vegan establishment in the 10th arrondissement. It's in a bit of a trendy area of the city where you'll also find juice bars and great brunch spots. Very yum and very affordable too - I thought about their perfect juice blend for weeks.

2. Shakespeare & Co. Café | 37 Rue de la Bucherie | Located right next to the iconic Shakespeare & Co. bookstore, this little café is the epitome of convenient. It's right next the Seine, near the Notre-Dame and the menu is simple enough to keep a long line from forming (you pay before receiving food and sitting). I came here the most often during the month, and loved their fresh juices, kombucha, and salads.

3. La Boheme du Tetre | 2 Place du Tetre | The most "traditional French restaurant" of this list, La Boheme is located in Montmartre in a very good location for sitting outside and watching people walk by, artists paint, and be asked if you want a portrait painted of you and your companions. Onto the food however, it was incredible. They offer 2 vegan options - a vegan burger and a curry. I went with the latter and enjoyed every bite.

4. Le Portager du Marais | 24 Rue Rambuteau | The woman who took our order here was super friendly, I ordered a dish

5. Ristorante del Arte | 20 Boulevard Saint-Michel | This chain Italian restaurant was convenient, affordable, and most importantly - good. The bread was fluffy, sauce flavorful, and they offer an allergy menu if you ask your attendant. All of the other pizzas I ate in Paris were delicious too however, from the restaurants inside the Versailles gardens (pictured below) to a cozy two-story Italian place called Daroco (pictured somewhere above) - the French really know their bread.

6. PH7 Equilibrium | 21 Rue le Peletier | This place was just the bees knees. I visited on one of my last days in the city and it was just what I need. The lovely lady who helped us explained what the menu said and what everything was - from probiotic benefits to balancing your pH it all was full of goodness and flavor.

7. Bertillon | 29-31 Rue Saint-Louis en Ille | This place needs no reviews - it's a Parisian classic for a reason. My favorite sorbet flavor was peach!

8. Amorino | Multiple Locations | A chain Italian gelato shop with creamy vegan sorbets! I was astounded that they had a dark chocolate sorbet, and absolutely mindblown by their pistachio one. I 100% came here more than a couple of times - they also have a location in Beverly Hills, which I have not gone to because I'm leaving that experience to be connected with July in Paris.

- a.