A Vegetarian in Paris… Eating with the Locals

4 Nov

I am very fortunate to have friends living all over the world… my friend Clari is in Turkey, Sonia just moved back from Barcelona, Rocío thought a move to Australia was a good thing but came halfway around and is now living in Madrid, Mara was in Lima until last month but now is in Chicago, Jesiel is in NYC and wants to move to Paris…  But our friend Nicole is already living there… in Paris now for a year.

Nicole moved when her husband was transferred from PR back to Paris.  We were friends from the Alliance Française and she is part of the original Les Francophones group.  She was super excited when we told her we would be visiting Paris this September. 

As soon as we arrived, she and her husband Martin wanted to invite us for breakfast and to visit them at their home.  We agreed to meet for breakfast early so we could catch-up on or comings and goings and then continue with our sight-seeing.   I love hanging out with them because Martin speaks French beautifully and always lets us know when we are saying something we shouldn’t. 

Petit Dejeuner avec Nicole

This particular morning we learned how the French eat their breakfast – le petit dejeuner.    And the key word here is PETIT.  The French merely eat tartines, which are toasted baguette, or a croissant with butter or confiture.  They drink their café crème or café au lait and on their way they are.  The omelets or other egg concoctions you see on the menus is for the tourists… not the locals.  They eat them, but at other times of the day, not for breakfast.  Being the tourist that I was, that morning Martin ordered for us croissants and jus d’orange.  But I was left empty… I had to order a tartine to at least feel I had had breakfast, especially when on vacation that my appetite opens up exponentially.

Tartines Petit Dejeuner


After having had the tartine breakfast for a few days in a row, we needed a change… and we had seen a Le Pain Quotidien near our apartment.  I have mentioned Le Pain Quotidien to you on my last trip to NYC.  Their oatmeal is AMAZING and Annie Mariel and I were craving something warm and different.  To our surprise, Le Pain Quotidien in Paris, or at least this one we came to, does not serve oatmeal.  People would just never order it, and as a result, they took it off the menu.  So what did we order???  Bread and Croissants, AGAIN!!!   At least this time, the bread was whole-grain. We just could not eat the whole basket, so we took the leftovers to our picnic at the Tour Eiffel.  And the juices were freshly squeezed – orange and guess what the red one is made of…  vegetables!!!   Tasted just like a V8, but looked more like beet juice.

pain quotidien - pain    pain quotidien - jus

 Later on in the week, Nicole and Martin invited us to dinner at their Parisian apartment in the 20th arrondissement. 

Chez Nicole 1   Chez Nicole et Martin 2

Knowing we are vegetarians, they treated us to a nice variety of goodies:  puffed pastry filled with cheese, guacamole with tortilla and potato chips, as well as apple and cheese skewers for appetizers.  Dinner was a cucumber and yogurt salad, cheese and veggie quiche-like tart and a tomato and goat cheese tart.  For dessert, we had fruits, cheese, bread  and fruit tarts.  Delicious… it was a much appreciated effort knowing they are not vegetarians and they bended-themselves backwards to accommodate us. 

 Entremeses Franceses

The evening was really lovely… plus hanging out with Nicole, Martin and their daughter we got to speak in all three languages simultaneously – English, Spanish and French…  Merci beaucoup!!!

One Response to “A Vegetarian in Paris… Eating with the Locals”

  1. deborah brown pivain November 13, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    For a cruelty-free holiday celebration come to A Gentle Gourmet Vegan Thanksgiving at the Gentle Gourmet B&B in Paris this year from Thursday the 26th to Sunday the 29th.


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