(I would just like to put out there that I typed this entire post without the usage of the "s" key on my computer. That's right...copy/pasted the letter in all it's various forms. Much harder than you'd expect!)
Ah, Paris. The City of Lights. Last winter, I went through a serious quarter-life crisis. I booked a flight to England, bought some train tickets, found some couches to crash on, filled a backpack, and away I went! It was easily one of the best months of my life. I met some amazing people, saw some awesome sights, and ate FANTASTIC food.
Being a vegan in Paris was definitely a challenge. I had done a bit of homework before I left, leading me to the likes of La Victoire Suprême du Coeur, the deliciously rustic Le Potager du Marais, and my life saver, Maoz Vegetarian. Fellow vegans, do yourself a favor and don't expect Parisian restaurant staff to help you veganify your dinner. It just won't happen. They will scoff, they will glare maliciously and they might even laugh at you. There are exceptions, of course, but definitely have the names and locations of veggie friendly eateries or Bio Coops written down somewhere secure for your travels.
I couldn't find a place to crash my last two nights in Paris, so I found a cheap hostel in the Marais District. It stated clearly on their website, "No check in before 3pm, but we will hold your bags in the office starting at 9AM. " I like to think of myself as a savvy traveler, and the thought of trusting my bags in the hands of some stranger didn't exactly make me feel cozy inside. Plus, the reviews on the hostel booking website said the owner could be a real douche ball. Alas, my aching feet spoke loudly. I knew I couldn't lug my world around all day and not be burdened. I rang the bell.
Owner: "Hello!! What you WANT!!"
Me: "Um. Yes. I'm booked here tonight. I just want to leave my bags. The website said I cou..."
I enter his office. He shuffles about angrily a bit, grabs my bag and sits down at his desk.
Owner: "Last name?"
Owner: "Whaaat?! You spell!"
Owner: "What you do today in Paris?"
Me: "I'm going to try to find this Vegan restaurant I've been dying to try."
The owner's demeanor immediately softens. A HUGE smile spreads across his face as he morphs into an entirely different human being.
Owner: "You Vegan?! I Vegan too!!"
I nod, secretly sighing relief. He pulls a small paper-back book out of his desk and shoves it into my hands. It is the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association, known to many as Supreme Master Ching Hai International Cult, handbook. I try really hard not to laugh, but at least it's a Vegan cult...and at least this guy's not being a meanie anymore. And he even sent me to a hole-in-the-wall where I could buy all vegan pastries! Baguettes, eclairs, croissants, and of course...galettes! It was so delicious.
If fake bleu cheese is not your thing, check out this little beauty...