I’ve been writing an article for France Magazine about the “green” restaurants and markets in Paris as part of a larger issue on “Green Paris” coming out in the fall, and wanted to give you all a sneak preview of some places I like in particular.
But first a disclaimer: everyone has different ideas about what is “green” or healthy or environmentally responsible. In the food world, I’ve noticed it goes from “homemade, fresh, locally grown” on one end, to “fair-trade, organic, vegetarian” on the other. Most of these places have shades of all of these, but none have all of the above (this is Paris, after all; they’re still chuffed about the arrival of juice bars).
Favorite gourmet organic restaurant:
1, Quai François Mauriac, 13th
Tel: 01 45 85 66 88
This is the only certified 100% organic restaurant in France, and in a custom-built environmentally-friendly building, too. I like the views overlooking the Seine and the Batofar, and the menu that seems so “normal” (there’s duck on the menu, mmmm) that you could con your anti-organic friends into eating there (and hopefully footing the bill).
Favorite affordable vegan restaurant:
Victoire Supreme du Coeur
27-31 rue Bourg Tibourg, 4th
Tel: 01 40 41 95 03
I wouldn’t normally go vegan, even after being a vegetarian for nine years, but this place serves great dishes that aren’t just a pile of grains and veggies (no names will be named, ahem). Their location in the Marais is ten times better than the dreary one they had at Châtelet for years, and they now serve organic wines, beers and Champagnes in addition to the fresh juices (again, sometimes the only way to con our French friends into dining with us — and picking up the tab — is to ply them with alcohol). Bonus points for the weekday lunch buffet under €10.
Favorite alternative to crêpes or falafel:
3 Place du Louvre, 1st
Tel 01 40 13 06 80
14 other locations in Paris
Sometimes I just want something cheap and fast. Healthy would be nice, too! There are many juice bars in Paris now, but Cojean goes beyond, with an excellent selection of sandwiches and wraps and salalds to go that use interesting mixes of ingredients. They even have wheatgrass shots, but I’m not that hardcore in public, someone might think I’m weird (yay for the home juicer; boo for not having any wheatgrass growing wild in my ‘hood). Now if only Cojean would open a branch on the Left Bank, preferably near the Butte aux Cailles, I wouldn’t have to schlep across the Seine for it.
Favorite health food shop:
Bio Coop, 9 locations in Paris. The one at Blvd Sebastopol, “BioCoop Lemo” is cutest with its lime green walls, but the one at Glacière is the biggest near me, and has a decent selection of produce, cleaning supplies, dry goods, and fair-trade organic chocolate.
Favorite organic bakery:
Boulangerie du Monge
123 rue Monge, 5th
Tel 01 43 37 54 20
So part of the reason I like it is that I can walk there (although sometimes I take the bus back up the hill), and also that standing in line isn’t so bad considering the amazing organic loaves they have in fig, walnut, rye, spelt, multigrain, and chestnut. In the winter they sell oysters outside. Now if they opened them and served some white wine by the glass, I think the lines would be even longer. 😉
Favorite organic market:
Marché Biologique RaspailFrom Rue de Rennes to Rue du Cherche Midi, 6th
This is probably the hippest market in Paris, with the St Germain des Près crowd, cute chefs, and beautiful couples browse between tourists for all sorts of organic, fair-trade and otherwise “make me feel good” stuff. I ride the Vélib there and, if I want to take a tray of wheatgrass home, hop on the bus 83. Of course, I don’t go that often, since I can’t seem to woo the stall holders into throwing in a few extra strawberries like I do at my lovely local market (at Blvd Auguste Blanqui, 13th). Last week I went and overheard a young British couple talking. “Should we go to the Aligre market?” “Yeah, everything here is going to cost a fortune!” And it’s true, a handful of beets and three small cucumbers runs me almost €9. A tiny red cabbage is €2.75. It’s worth a trip if you’re looking for something rare from the realm of healthland that you can’t find anywhere else. Oh, and the prettiest people watching on the Left Bank.
PS Bonus Info: The discount grocer ED now has its own line of organic products. I only know this from their billboard in the metro, not because I’ve tried it yet. If anyone else does, please report back, merci!