These days it’s all about going green, natural, organic, or anything else that is friendly to the environment (and to our bodies). When you’re home, it’s easy to support local farms through farmers’ markets or buy organic goods from the supermarket, but traveling internationally could pose a threat to your health-conscious lifestyle and eating habits…unless you know where to go to find organic products and eco-friendly services.
In 2009, with the help of President Nicholas Sarkozy, Paris became proactive in supporting organic agriculture. The government cut subsidies given to large farms and redirected the financial aid to smaller organic and family owned farms. Paris has been the center of these organic or biologique (or bio) changes and boasts a number of successful organic and natural supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants, wine shops, and even hotels.
Supermarkets and Organic Markets
For those of you lucky enough to rent an apartment and enjoy an extended stay in The City of Light, grocery shopping is a must. Biocoop and Naturalia are two organic supermarkets in the Paris region. Biocoop has more than 300 stores throughout France and offers organic and fair trade products as well as eco-friendly cosmetics.
At Naturalia , you can pick up anything you need from your typical grocery items like pasta and cheese to useful household items like insect repellent and water filters. If you’d like to make the most of the chore of food shopping, take a trip to one of the several food markets throughout Paris.
Do as the celebrities do and shop at Marché Raspail , which is Paris’ most famous outdoor food market. It is wholly organic on Sundays (open from 9 am to 2 pm), offering products ranging from produce and meat to jams and vegan pastries.
You’ll go home with an array of delectable and good-for-you goodies. If you do shop at the Marché Raspail, be prepared to spend a little more than usual, as this market is also Paris’ most expensive organic food market. In the 17th arrondissement, the less expensive but equally impressive Marché Batignolles attracts visitors interested in fresh and organic food. This market is open on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm, and offers a variety of products. You can even grab a quick lunch while you shop!
9 Avenue de Villars
Metró: Saint Francios-Xavier
11 rue Montorgueil
Metró: Les Halles
Marché Biologique Raspail
Boulevard Raspail, Entre la rue du Cherche-Midi et la rue de Rennes
Metró: Ligne 12 – Rennes
Sundays from 9 am to 2 pm
Marché Biologique Batignolles
Boulevard de Batignolles
Metró: Rome or Place de Clichy
Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm
Boulangeries, Patisseries, and Restaurants
Paris is known for culinary excellence and fresh-baked goods—croissants, baguettes, and fruit tarts that will make your mouth water. These days it isn’t too hard to find an organic boulangerie or pâtisserie while meandering through the streets of Paris. Moisan is a 100% organic bakery known for its organic loaves of bread that are crispy on the outside but warm and fluffy on the inside.
This boulangerie provides many companies and hotels with their pastries and breads. Stop by to pick up a few pastries for breakfast or sit down and enjoy an organic lunch with Moisan’s assortment of sandwiches and quiches. Even though it’s organic, prices are no higher than the average boulangerie, so go ahead and indulge!
Crepes are also another favorite in Paris, and you can find delicious buckwheat crepes at the organic hotspot Breizh Café. Breizh Cafe uniquely blends the owners’ ethnic backgrounds—Breton and Japanese—into tasty organic dishes at a reasonable price. They are most famous for their buckwheat crepes filled with a variety of fresh ingredients. Wash down your meal with a cup of coffee or one of the homemade ciders.
Bio and vegetarian (and even vegan) restaurants have grown popular in Paris, popping up all over the place. Au Grain de Folie is a small organic and vegetarian restaurant not to miss! This tiny restaurant in the 18th arrondissement offers salads, casseroles, tarts, and other dishes that are inspired by French, Greek, Turkish, and Indian cuisine. Before you go, call ahead for a reservation and stop at the automat for cash since Au Grain de Folie does not accept credit cards.
For another intimate dining experience, go to Le Potager du Marais, another small organic and vegetarian restaurant with the high quality that matches Au Grain de Folie. The menu is quite extensive, offering numerous appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Even though the cuisine is vegetarian, non-vegetarians also rave about the food (especially the soups and desserts—chocolate mousse anyone?) Because the restaurant is small, try to go earlier or make a reservation.
2 Rue de Bazeilles
109, rue Vieille du Temple
Metró: Saint Sebastien-Froissart
Au Grain de Folie
24 rue de La Vieuville
Le Potager du Marais
22 rue Rambuteau
Wine seems to have caught onto the organic trend also. These “natural” wines are not only made from organic grapes, but the winemakers also harvest these grapes in their natural soil—the soil they originated from. Winemakers pay close attention to their grapes and treat them with the utmost care, producing fresh wine for you to enjoy.
In the 10th arrondissement, check out Le Verre Volé, a unique wine bar and restaurant, for an assortment of natural wines. While you can order wine by the glass (along with something to eat), you can also buy bottles of wine for a reasonable price. You can enjoy your wine at one of Le Verre Volé’s cozy tables, bring it on a picnic in one of Paris’ beautiful parks, or simply savor a glass in the comfort of your hotel room.
For a wider selection, stop by La Cave des Papilles, which has over 1000 different wines from all the French regions. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to suggestions or recommendations. Good prices, good service, great wine: what more could you ask for?
Le Verre Volé
67 rue de Lancry
Metró: Jacques Bonsergent
La Cave des Papilles
35 rue Daguerre
Metró: Denfert Rochereau
These days, eco-tourism is an up and coming movement happening in travel. Two notable hotels in Paris pride themselves on their popular “ecotourism”: Hotel Gavarni and The Gentle Gourmet Bed and Breakfast. Hotel Garvarni, located near the Eiffel Tower, is a new kind of hotel—an eco-hotel. It is sustainable as it uses renewable energy and controls the flow of water consumption to avoid water waste.
The service staff use eco-friendly detergents on the linens, and the hotel provides guests with an organic and fair trade breakfast. The best part about Hotel Gavarni is its exchange rate. Here, one Euro is equivalent to one US dollar! Imagine that: saving the environment and your precious pennies at the same time!
The Gentle Gourmet B&B, located near the Arc de Triomphe, is known as the “vegan place” in Paris. Run by three environmental activists and vegans, the Gentle Gourmet B&B uses organic and cruelty-free products (even the bedding, towels, and toiletries). The passionate owners provide guests with numerous activities and travel ideas that are all vegan friendly, including an organic wine tour and tours of the Kitchen Gardens throughout the regions of France. They even offer takeout picnics!
As the name suggests, The Gentle Gourmet Bed and Breakfast is not solely about a place to stay; it is also a place to eat. Two of the owners are chefs at the B&B, concocting vegetarian and vegan specialties (made from organic and seasonal ingredients of course) for the complimentary breakfasts and optional dinners. Even if you don’t decide to stay at the Gentle Gourmet, stop in for a gourmet dinner.
5 rue Gavarni
The Gentle Gourmet Bed and Breakfast
17 rue Duret