Home Guide Is it Hard to be Vegetarian or Vegan in France? Attitudes towards being vegetarian in France

Is it Hard to be Vegetarian or Vegan in France? Attitudes towards being vegetarian in France

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Salut mes amis! Today I have stolen the lovely Maria from Prana at Work (Check her Youtube out HERE: https://goo.gl/A6WZJe) to speak about being vegetarian in France (or being vegan in France as she transitions). With such a long history of heavily meat-based dishes, veganism in France and even vegetarianism in France are slightly less developed lifestyles than they are in other European countries such as the UK and Germany.

So, amongst the other French cultural differences, is it hard to be vegetarian in France for an American? Or is it easy? Maria shares with us openly and honestly about her experiences so far!

Do you have similar vegan or vegetarian experiences in France? Do you know about being vegan in Paris? Or vegan in the French countryside? Let us know down in the comments below!

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35 Comments

  1. Not Even French

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Salut friends! What do you think about this topic? Can you relate or was Maria's experience exceptional? Would love to hear your opinion! Bonne journée!

    Reply

  2. Monosetopia

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    I mean I'm halfway through the video but I can't figure anything out, bad chemistry, political correctness, so many cuts,… you can't get anything across

    Reply

  3. Rachael B

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    'm a French teacher leading an exchange and I'm super stressed out about how it's going to go, based on the reaction of many of my other French friends when I went vegan. I'll be in a small town and the other teachers whom I've never met will want to show me their culture – which means eating French food. I was so conflicted by this last summer than I did try to eat omni for the time I was in France. And I had the worst stomach issues of my life!!!!! I will not do that this time for anyone. But I'll be in quite a rural area so I think it will be difficult.

    Reply

  4. Amandine Le Thily

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Coucou Rosie, Je suis française et végétarienne depuis plus de 3 ans. Effectivement j'ai trouvé que c'était difficile de l'être en France. La viande est dans tous nos plats, quasiment. Lorsque je vais au restaurant les serveurs sont choqués que je puisse demander un œuf ou une tomate à la place du steak. Lorsque je voyage en Europe, je n'ai pas du tout ce problème, au contraire. Je trouve l'Italie et l'Angleterre particulièrement ouvertes au végétarisme! Bien sur la France s'ouvre doucement au végétarisme mais ça reste compliqué à mon goût…

    Reply

  5. Kalt Kalt odieux !

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Convivialité, co-pain, convive etc…une règle de base de la politesse française, est de manger ce que l'on te donne, sauf allergie, et de préférence d'avoir l'air satisfait. On peut aussi préférer sa propre individualité, imposer ses goûts, refuser le partage et le compromis au nom de ses principes. Choquer des gens, des proches. De ce point de vue, non seulement je ne suis pas choqué que certains refusent de partager un repas avec des gens qui "mangent des animaux morts" comme si la carotte restait vivante dans le tube digestif… mais j'approuve. Il vaut mieux que ces gens très individualistes, très sectaires restent entre eux. Leur nombrilisme, cela commence avec la nourriture, mais très vite, très souvent, on voit leurs exigences s'élargir. Cela vous ferait mal au sein de manger un steak pour ne pas faire de la peine à votre maman russe ? Est ce que vous prenez la peine de faire de la viande à vos invités non végétarien, si du vous en avez ?
    La misanthropie est un droit. Il ne faudrait pas la transformer en devoir.

    Reply

  6. Julia Milano

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Je suis végétarienne depuis 4 ans, à la maison il est totalement possible de manger vegan. Dans les restaurants je suis d'accord que c'est plutôt compliqué de manger vegan, toutefois là où je suis moins d'accord c'est que de plus en plus de restaurants proposent au moins 1 plat végétarien à la carte (de ce que je constate dans ma region : La Normandie). Mais même lorsque je voyage dans d'autres régions (la Savoie, l'Auvergne… qui sont des régions très viandardes) je parviens toujours à trouver, les établissements s'adaptent de plus en plus car c'est un régime qui devient (un peu) plus courant qu'avant. Et à Paris il y a beaucoup de restaurants vegan 😀 Par contre les remarques que l'on peut voir (surtout sur les réseaux sociaux) c'est terrible. On est pâle, on est maigre et on est hippie xD !

    Reply

  7. Paul Guignard

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    … Bof. Faites comme Bouddha, mangez de la viande quand vous êtes invité et qu'il n'y a pas d'autre option et basta…. Au moins vous évitez de jeter cette bête déjà morte à la poubelle et toutes autres considérations de ce genre, non 🙂 ?

    Reply

  8. JENNIFER BLOOMFIELD

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Been to France many times and managed to cope being vegetarian. It does help to know what some things are in French so you can read labels. I think there are a few meals that are French that are vegetarian and of course there is always the margheritta pizza which isn't French but still they do make amazing pizzas made fresh. I don't think it is any worse then any other country. Britain is still pretty bad at it. If you go to a restaurant there will only be one or two things on the menu or the vegetables have meat mixed in with them. Spain doesn't have much vegetarian either but if you ask for a vegetable paella they make amazing ones though they do tease you about it as well. Even when we went to Cyprus and went to a restaurant they don't have much vegetarian but there aren't as many vegetarians as meat eaters. Every where I have gone except maybe Madeira there has been something that I can eat or they make if you ask them. Islands tend to be more into fish but then they have lack of resources so it's kind of understandable. But generally never had too much of a problem in France.

    Reply

  9. Rose Davidson

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Ive been a veggi my whole life (mum brought me up veggi) and everytime ivr been to france ive had to live off pizza or the hard to come by veggi burger..i was quite shocked at the lack of choice

    Reply

  10. Debbie R

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Salut! On the subject of food in France and vegans, what about those with food allergies or food intolerances? They must have peanut allergies etc ? Would be interesting to find out. Thank you for your very interesting and informative videos!

    Reply

  11. 144Donn

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    This is a shame. My friend from France are here in the ststes for a visit and I am talking up Veganism…now they have ti gio back to this? They do not stand a chance!

    Reply

  12. Grand Duc

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Bonjour,
    Il ne faut pas oublier qu'il y a eu plusieurs famines et guerres en France et que pendant ces periode, la viande etait beaucoup trop chere (mon arriere grand mere ne mangeait que des legumes, d'ailleurs elle ne supporte plus la rutabaga) . Bref, je suis trop jeune pour en parler correctement, du coup je te conseille de parler avec des personnes d'un certain age qui ont connu ces moments de l'Histoire.

    Reply

  13. Sakura Zaki

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Je savais pas que c'était si difficile…moi aussi j'ai des "tendances" végétariennes mais comme je suis encore sous la responsabilité de mes parents…ils m'obligent à manger de la viande (le poisson ça va…j'arrive a ne pas en manger en majorité) à cause des apports en protéines puis juste que ils aiment la viande….et encore on en mange moins que les autres….
    Je pense que tu n'auras pas de mal dans la vie de tout les jours chez toi, te préparer à manger, le tofu, légumes etc est moins chère que dans d'autres pays…
    Juste c'est j'avoue difficile dans les restaurants….c'est pour ça qu'en général je fais une scène pour ne pas manger dehors…

    Reply

  14. TheMizuchy

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Je ne suis pas tout à fait d’accord sur le fait que les français ne s’intéressent pas à la condition des animaux, je pense que les jeunes (bien sûr ça dépend lesquels) font plus attention à ça, et sont au courant de ce qui se passe dans les abattoirs. Cependant beaucoup restent critique notamment du fait que ce soit une « mode » que beaucoup de gens suivent car c’est aussi « tendance » en ce moment, mais on sait aussi qu’il y a une question d’argent et de marketing dans tous ces nouveaux produits de gamme « végan ». Quand aux OGM, les Américains peuvent bien en parler, là France n’en produit pas, et l’importation d’OGM est principalement retrouver dans la nourriture pour élevage (donc dans la viande il est vrai) mais au niveau des légumes frais qu’on trouve en supermarché, on n’a rien ou très peu d’OGM contrairement à eux.

    Reply

  15. Oxana Dyomina

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Actually, plumpy girls are having a very hard life in Russia where every girl is trying to be as much slim as possible. :-)))

    Reply

  16. klik-klik

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Please record audio on one level and stick to it, the level goes up and down from video to video. great videos otherwise 🙂 For this video I had sound on max and could just about hear the video, so maybe you could record audio louder 🙂

    Reply

  17. Antoine

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    In my opinion, it's the fact that some people like to brag about how great it is to be vegan and want to give lessons to others. Like "it's better for the environment, you eat meat so you are killing the planet", that kind of things, the judgy side of French people I guess. I'm not saying this for every vegetarian/vegan, it's a minority, but since they are the ones to brag about it, maybe we only see them. As a non vegan/vegetarian, I think that's the thing that made me somewhat "against" vegans at a certain point. Luckily, I've thought about it, told myself "that's dumb, everybody can eat what they want", and I don't anymore. I'm even amazed by what you can do without meat. It's a new food culture, and it's pretty interesting to discover it as it becomes bigger and bigger.
    And I think it gets better, I don't hear many "lesson givers" anymore, and that's good for the vegan community, let's hope people and restaurants become more open to it.

    As many people in the comments already said, there's obviously the French food culture involved. A majority of our culinary specialties contains meat, cheese, or even both, and some people might see vegans as a threat to this huge part of our country. That's pretty dumb if you ask me, there will always be someone to eat raclette or boeuf bourguignon, it's not going to disappear any time soon. We can both preserve this, and make room for vegan food so that everybody has what they want.

    Oh, and I'd like to say that I just discover your channel a really love your videos. You have a very positive way to see things, you try to understand things that I never even question myself about. Even better, I think you get French culture better than some French people do. It's our culture, so sometimes we can't see why we behave like this or like that, we just do and don't ask about it. I never noticed that we talked about food while eating food before you said it 😂 I'll continue to watch, I might learn some things about my own culture ah ah

    Reply

  18. chlore2amine

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Végétarien, végétalien ok. Végan non ! Ce sont des extrémistes et comme tels sont des intolérants envers tous ceux qui ne pensent pas comme eux

    Reply

  19. Louis Haas

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    You might want to invest in a new camera.

    Reply

  20. jekennedy108

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Vegan, living in Paris. I cook a lot of my own food, with supplies coming from Naturalia and Bio c Bon. I often use the soy products from those stores. I just wanted to mention that there are a lot of vegan/veg restaurants in Paris and even vegan pattiseries, so it's possible. I'm doing just fine 😃

    Reply

  21. 777wicca

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Je ne trouve pas cela difficile d'être végane en France, je trouve que nous avons de la chance même! Oui il y a Biocoop, Naturalia, La Vie Claire, Satoriz, etc Mais les supermarchés ont maintenant tous un rayon bio où l'on peut trouver facilement des produits végétal, les grandes marques industrielles s'y mettent aussi, certes les produits sont peu sains, mais ce sont des options qui n'existaient pas il y a quelques années. Et enfin, il ne faut pas oublier les marchés! Nous sommes un pays de marché, c'est parfait pour se constituer des plats végétaliens avec des produits locaux. Le seul point négatif, si on sort des très grandes villes, il n'y a aucun restaurant présentant un plat végan, mais il y a encore quelques années en arrière, même dans des grandes villes (en dehors de Paris), il n'y avait pas non plus de choix, les choses ont rapidement évolué et il y a une très grosse communauté végane en France!
    J'ai tellement ri quand vous dites qu'on ne peut s'empêcher de parler d'un plat que l'on a mangé pendant que l'on mange 🤣🤣

    Reply

  22. Julien Alimondo

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Je pense que le fait d'être végétarien ou vegan devient à la mode vu que de plus en plus de produits végétariens et existent en supermarché (Burger, steak, etc…)

    Reply

  23. Rosie

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Le plus dur d'après moi, c'est en effet le regard des autres par rapport à mes choix alimentaires. Je suis végane et française, et à chaque repas en famille, on me parle de mon véganisme de façon… je ne sais pas, comme si j'étais folle. Au final, on s'habitue, il faut juste faire attention à sa santé et ne pas renoncer à ses choix à cause du jugements des autres, si on est convaincu(e) par ce que l'on fait. Bon courage à tous!

    Reply

  24. merlina mazari

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    C'est vrai que culturellement parlant, c'est difficile de ne pas manger de la viande, les gens jugent et critiquent beaucoup, il n'y pas de plats vraiment végétarien, ils enlèvent juste la viande…
    MAIS, les français mangent beacoup de fruits et légumes, c'est pas chère. Donc c'est facile d'être végétarien chez soi, mais difficile en société. ..

    Reply

  25. Pierre Chateau

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Très dommage, les français sont très cons et très fermés d'esprit là dessus, même les jeunes et même dans les écoles de sciences qui sont assez de gauche en général

    Reply

  26. Mike Trebert

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    I'm vegetarian. I've visited Paris 3 times in the last 5 years or so. There are a few vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Paris now. Try the Happy Cow app for your phone – with it you will find vegetarian and vegan restaurants in most cities all over the world. It will also list restaurants nearby which offer vegetarian options. I shopped for groceries at Naturalia and Bio c' Bon – both franchises with shops everywhere. Also lots of local open-air markets here and there throughout the week.

    Reply

  27. IMANE The

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    the modern changes like gym culture ad vagan etc arent yet happenning in France, people here are still attached to the old culture and traditions specially when it comes to food so vegetarians are few in a number and hard to accept, changes are happening but the thing is that France is really late in these domains, so its still like a cliché or a tabou in here. Its not that people are mean, its all just 'accepting the new' thats hard.

    Reply

  28. Mabite Danstoncul

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Another problem in France (and maybe in other countries) is that stupid vegans make a lot of noises so people tend to hate vegans for that. Always wants to give lessons etc … so people become stubborn and start to hate vegan lifestyle for no reason.

    Reply

  29. Coraline L

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Definitely hard to be a vegetarian or a vegan in France. I'm half French half British and I became a vegetarian when I was at high school in France (nearly 10 years ago). I was at a boarding school so they forced me to go to the doctor's to get a paper which said I could be a vegetarian! The doctor, as he was open to non mainstream things, accepted but just put I couldn't t eat meat but could have fish (although I hated it) because otherwise I'd have no proteins…

    In France, get ready to justify yourself all the time. People suddenly become nutrition experts and most of them will remind you that you need meat for the proteins and that vegetables don't taste of anything and blablabla.

    If you go to a bakery and ask for a veggie sandwich they'll offer something with chicken or fish. They have no clue what you're on about! Otherwise they'll probably comment on the fact that you only eat grass.
    If you cook for yourself, it's no problem, you have tons of options, great farmers markets and organic shops. The problem is if you go out or you are invited to eat at someone's.

    Reply

  30. Lex DMY

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Can you explain to me why asking for a vegan version of a course? I really don't understand

    Reply

  31. Chloé SA

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    I'm quite surprised by the troubles to get vegetarian options in restaurants ! I've been vegetarian for two years now, and every chef has been really thoughtfull, one was even thrilled to have a little challenge and made me the best veggie burger ever, he came three times to check if I liked it 🙂
    It is quite difficult though, but even in only two years, I can say that people are becoming way more open !

    Reply

  32. Sevatar

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    C'est un sujet complexe et sensible la nourriture 😀 surtout en France, entre les traditions Chrétienne d'alternance entre jeûne et fêtes religieuses. La tradition paysanne ou beaucoup de gens disposait de boeufs, porcs, poules voire moutons. (pas beaucoup mais un peu de tous). Enfin sur le plan de la santé, la France ne s'en sort pas trop mal avec un plus faible taux d'obésité et de maladies cardiovasculaires que le reste de l'occident. Il n'y a pas de raisons réelles (en France) d'accepter culturellement les végétariens. seuls l'arguments écologiques est notable (on a vu les dégâts de la ferme aux milles vaches, de celles au 4000 veaux, des élevages de volailles en Batterie). Si chacun mange comme ils le veux chez lui, il est très très mal vu d'imposer des contraintes aux autres en société (société qui comprend les restaurants, les marchés etc etc). Par ailleurs avoir le temps de se soucier de sa nourriture, de son impact et de pinailler peu être vu comme une lubie de bourgeois déconnecté du réel. Bien chanceux l'homme qui peut être végétarien.

    Reply

  33. Andrew Pritchard

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Maria: "this is France! The meat is good! You're not in the states!"
    Me: "Hey!" Lol 😂

    Reply

  34. Andrew Pritchard

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Wow! That was interesting! I am by no mean a vegetarian, so I'm moving to France! Lol

    Reply

  35. woip7761

    November 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

    In France the pleasure of eating is primordial. Life is not worth living without it. I can’t imagine a family meeting around vegetables only, without traditional recipes. We like animals … on our plates!

    Reply

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