23 Mar How to Eat Healthy in Paris
Eating healthy in Paris can be a challenge if you’re not big on research and are easily tempted by a cabinet full of chocolate éclairs or a neighbouring diner’s plate of soft cheeses. But, for all it’s indulgent stereotype, modern Parisian cuisine outside the tourist traps actually has a lot to offer in the way of delicious, healthy eating.
From vegetarian cuisine and gluten-free patisseries to classic French dishes, there’s more than enough options for your next healthy holiday in Paris. Let us show you how to eat healthy in Paris.
Eat like a local
Classic French dishes that are JERF-friendly
When we talk about eating healthy, we’re mostly talking about JERF – Just eat real food… like your great-grandparents did in the 1930’s. And luckily for us, Paris had a 1930’s as well, and it wasn’t all crème brûlée and baguettes! And outside of the obvious indulgences on offer, most brasseries have several JERF-friendly dishes, including salads and protein-and-vegetable options to choose from. Many are actually considered classic French dishes.
Here’s a few to keep in mind when perusing the menu:
> Salade niçoise – tuna salad with black olives, hard-boiled eggs, and tomatoes.
> Boeuf bourguignon – beef stew prepared with beef braised in red wine.
> Coq au vin – chicken braised with wine, mushrooms and garlic.
> Ratatouille – a vegetable stew with olive oil, aubergine, courgette, bell pepper, tomato, onion and garlic.
Get an apartment
We love staying in apartments when we travel. It means we can prepare our own healthy meals using local fresh ingredients, at least some of the time. We found a cute little AirBnB in Le Marais district that was close to a couple of organic supermarkets (see below) and walking distance to Notre Dame.
Eating out at restaurants three times a day can hurt your wallet and leave you feeling a little sluggish. And what better way to live like a local than in one of their actual homes? If you’ve never used AirBnB, you can use our referral link and save $50 AUD on your first booking.
Health food supermarkets
There are two main health food supermarkets in Paris – Naturalia and Bio c’Bon. Both sell lots of organic produce, snacks and health foods like coconut milk, gluten-free cereals and superfood powders.
These are perfect if you chose the apartment option and can prepare your own breakfast and cook some of your own dinners using local, fresh, organic produce.
A typical Naturalia Health Food Supermarket.
Even better than a supermarket are the local markets that pop up around Paris multiple times a week selling fresh fruit and vegetables. Not only can you get local, fresh produce direct from the source, it also gives you a sneak peak into the life of local Parisians as they make their weekly haul.
You can use this map (in French but you can auto translate in Chrome) to find one nearest to you but the pick of the bunch would have to be Marché Raspail. This traditional open-air market, a short walk from Luxembourg Gardens is open Tuesday and Friday and operates a special biologique (organic) market on Sundays.
First things first; you’re not going to find many (if any) healthy options meandering along the well worn tourist routes. If you do get desperate and find yourself in a brasserie around the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame, try one of the classic French dishes above.
If finding trendy healthy eating spots on your travels is your idea of culinary bliss, then here’s a few restaurants to research before you go.
Lunch at Noglu.
Noglu | 16 Passage des Panoramas, 75002 | www.noglu.fr | Tucked away in the Passage des Panoramas, Noglu’s entire menu is certified gluten-free. There is also a takeaway gluten-free bakery across the alley for anyone who just needs a light meal on the go or to satisfy their celiac-friendly sweet tooth.
Bob’s Kitchen | 74 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003 | bobsjuicebar.com/kitchen | An off-shoot from Bob’s Juice Bar, this canteen-style restaurant offers vegetarian, vegan as well as some fish dishes. It’s a busy place with a reputation for salads, soups and snacks.
Umami Matcha Café | 22 Rue Béranger, 75003 | umamiparis.com/matchacafe | With a mission to familiarize the French with the green superfood, Matcha Café ’s menu is designed to combine Japanese flavours with fresh and seasonal produce.
Vegan and vegetarian options
Vegan desserts at Gentle Gourmet.
Gentle Gourmet | 24 Boulevard de la Bastille, 75012 | gentlegourmet.fr | Family-run restaurant delivering the very best of vegan haute cuisine. It’s basically fancy French plant-based dining, without the price tag.
La Guinguette d’Angèle | 34 Rue Coquillière, 75001 | laguinguettedangele.com |Gluten-free, vegan takeaway café based on naturopathy principles of healthy eating. There is also a tea salon in the 11th arrondissement.
The gluten-free chocolate éclairs from Helmut Newcake.
Helmut Newcake | 28 Rue Vignon, 75009 | www.helmutnewcake.com | The first gluten-free bakery in Paris. Not exactly healthy but an option for traditional French patisserie indulgence for anyone sworn off gluten. They use organic flours and it’s all certified gluten-free.
Admiring our macaron haul from Ladurée and Pierre Hermé on the Champs-Élysées.
If you’re only going to indulge in one classic French dessert, you can’t go past the famous Parisian macarons. It’s basically just sugar, almond flour, egg-whites and flavouring. So unless you are planning to devour an entire box, it’s not really going to ruin your healthy holiday plans.
If you’re looking for the best then you have two options. You’re either a Ladurée or Pierre Hermé fan. We obviously had to taste-test both… because, well, you know!? I think I’m in the PH club – my tastebuds made a pretty persuasive argument after trying the jasmine white tea macaron. There’s various locations of each throughout Paris but you’ll find both on the Champs-Élysées. So there’s plenty of options for eating macarons while ogling the Arc de Triomphe.
Healthy Travel Tips
1. Try some classic French dishes like Boeuf bourguignon and Ratatouille that are actually pretty healthy, real food options.
2. Get an apartment and prepare some of your own meals using fresh local produce from the organic supermarkets or local markets around Paris.
3. Research some healthy restaurants as well as vegan and vegetarian options available before you leave.
4. Just because you can’t eat gluten doesn’t mean you can’t try some of Paris’ famous pastries… gluten-free bakeries to the rescue.
5. If you’re going to indulge, try a macaron on the Champs-Élysées..
Do you have and of your own tips, tricks or favourite healthy eating spots in Paris? Share them with us below!