Meatless in Paris: Dining for vegetarian visitors

By JENNY BARCHFIELD, Associated Press Writer Jenny Barchfield, Associated Press Writer – Sat Jul 18, 3:20 pm ET

PARIS – Cote de boeuf, foie gras, escargot. French cuisine is hardly the stuff of vegetarians’ dreams.

In Paris restaurants, vegetarians often are met with looks of pity, headshaking incomprehension, even snorts of disgust. Eating out can mean endless “salades au chevre chaud,” the warm goat cheese salads that are the only reliable meat-free menu item.

But veggie visitors need not despair.

Tasty meatless dining is possible here, where choices include a Michelin-starred establishment renowned for garden-fresh vegetable dishes, tiny tofu joints and restaurants dedicated exclusively to all things cheese.



At L’Arpege, vegetables are the centerpiece — literally. All the tables in this chic restaurant are adorned not with a tasteful floral arrangement but with ripe vegetables, like artfully sculpted crookneck squash or bouquets of asparagus stalks.

One of just 26 restaurants in France with a top, three-star rating by the Michelin Guide — the country’s culinary bible — L’Arpege is the only one dedicated to vegetables.

Its most celebrated dishes include “tomate confite aux douze saveurs,” a stuffed, preserved tomato, and “l’oeuf fermier de la Bigottiere en chaud et froid,” a concoction of egg yolk, whipped cream and maple syrup served in the eggshell as an appetizer.

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