Vegan's Chronicles + [Vegan]

Alien's Day Out in Paris (Pt 6)

Wow, I can't believe it but my vacation has already come to an end. I'm currently at Narita airport, waiting for my flight back to Seoul, where I must face reality. My plane from Paris was delayed for 3 hours so I missed my connecting flight to Incheon. They’ve put me on a new flight, but it’s waaaay later than scheduled and I have about 6 hours to kill, just hanging around the airport. Sigh.

Anyway. I'll talk more about the flight later, but first, here's a recap of my last day in Paris!

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I jumpstarted my day with a cuppa coffee at Les Deux Magots, an apparently historical cafe by St. Germain, where some famous writers and philosophers used to go. It's directly across the street from yet another famous cafe called 'Cafe Flore.' The coffee there was considerably more expensive than other cafes, but it was a really nice chill-out spot and their coffee was really good. They also put a mini chocolate on the side, but I left it there since it contained milk. One thing I love about Paris cafes is the way everyone sits facing outward, so that they can see people passing by. It's quite amusing.

Then later, my friend and I got together for lunch during her midday break. Even though I was staying at her place, she has been crazy-busy with her job lately and has had to stay at her office til late at night, so we barely got to hang out. I pretty much just saw her very early in the morning and then right before bedtime because she was working overtime. But we wanted to get at least eat one quick meal out before I left, so we met up by her office and went to a salad-sandwich bar called Bleu Canard, which is a good spot for health-conscious, on-the-go workers. 

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Everything was pre-made and ready to go, so people could just pick what they wanted and then could either take it out, or eat it in the upstairs dining area. While there were loads of vegetarian options, unfortunately, almost everything had cheese in it, and since everything was pre-packaged, there wasn't a whole lot I could do.

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However, luckily, I found this lentil, green pea salad that was totally vegan, and for dessert, I picked a fresh fruit salad. The lentil salad was really great and surprisingly filling. While walking around Paris, my sister and I actually passed by a lot of these types of salad-sandwich joints and almost all of them had this lentil salad, so it seems to be the standard vegan option.

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I love lentils and I probably needed the extra protein and iron since the majority of my food while traveling consisted of carbs, carbs, and more carbs. Healthy, and tasty. :)

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Walked through St. Madeline chapel... .

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Saw some funky graters at a designer gift boutique shop called Pylones.

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Other random items.

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Oh, and I finally got in the Musee D'Orsay, after trying on two other days when they were unexpectedly closed! It had some amazing works, my favorites being those of Henri Rousseau.

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For dinner, I went to Le Grenier de Notre-Dame, which is possibly one of the most well-known vegetarian restaurants in Paris. I knew I wanted to go all out and treat myself for my final meal in Paris, and I reserved this restaurant for such the occasion. :)

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I ordered the couscous dish, not really knowing what to expect, but when the server brought over a huuuuuge covered ceramic bowl and then lifted the lid to reveal the dish, I knew I had made the right choice. The whole thing was so amazing, I'm trying not to drool as I think of it. It was like a tomato stew with various veggies such as chickpeas, eggplant, zucchini, and carrots, spread and then baked over a huge serving of couscous underneath.

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On top, there was a skewer of large fried seitan chunks, and a garnish of lemon.

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The seitain chunks were crunchy-fried on the outside, and dense and chewy on the inside. They didn't have too much flavor on their own, but tasted really great when combined with all the other components in the bowl.

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My favorite part was definitely the soft veggies cooked in the tomato stew, which made everything so delicious and saucy. The bowl was so large that I think two people easily could've shared this dish... but I ate it all myself and was about to explode by the end. And as if that weren't enough food, I even got a basket of whole wheat bread!

When I got to the restaurant, the place was totally filled up, but luckily, I was able to snag a table right in-between some other diners. We were all sitting literally right next to each other, basically sharing a long table. Since everyone was in such close proximity, we couldn't not share small talk, such as where we were from, how long we had been in Paris, what parts of the city we enjoyed seeing the most, etc. :) During the first half of my meal, I chatted with a mother and daughter visiting from England who were an absolute delight to talk to, and then later on, I talked to two Australian women who had just arrived in Paris a few hours prior, and had come to the restaurant for their first meal. It was so great sharing thoughts on traveling as a veggie in Paris, and I was even able to make a few food suggestions for them. Funny thing, all the diners that were also sitting outside were English speakers (no native French people)... Their customers are probably mainly tourists since it's located right by the Notre Dame and the Shakespeare & Company bookshop. I love meeting strangers while traveling! But only the nice, sane ones, ofcourse.

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Then after dinner, it was getting dark, so I braced the on-coming thunderstorm and headed to the Eiffel tower to see the light show, which goes on for 5 minutes at the top of every hour after nightfall. It was really windy and wet when I got there, but there were still plenty of other tourists waiting for the same spectacle, and everyone gave a cheer when all the lights started to flash.

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It was quite a beautiful sight and the grand finale of my Paris adventure.

So that's just about it... I said au revoir to the great city the next morning and am now almost back to Korea. I had such an amazing time and I have to say, Paris far exceeded any expecations I had both in terms of sights and vegan eats. I thought I would be eating nothing but baguettes and jam the entire time, but I ended up trying so many diverse foods that I was never bored or hungry. So to all you vegans out there with dreams of visiting Paris- don't let France's notorious meat and dairy-centered cuisine scare you away. There was so much abundant fresh produce at the outdoor markets, numerous health food stores to stock up on vegan products, and many delicious vegetarian restaurants to try out, that I only wish my trip had been longer!

Ok.. that's all for now. My tummy is growling so I'm going to go see what vegan snacks I can find at this Narita Airport. See you soon, Korea!