Healthy Food in Paris, France | What & Where to Eat Well

Healthy Foods in Paris at Le Potager du Charlotte

One of my biggest fears about traveling in France was that I wouldn’t be able to find healthy food in Paris.  France is celebrated for its indulgent cuisine (think cheese, bread, pastries and wine) and not so much for its healthy food.  It’s no secret that I love treating myself when I’m on vacation, but I also know that over-indulging takes its toll on my health.  I have to eat relatively well to feel energetic and happy when I’m traveling. With so much to see and do in Paris, I didn’t want to waste a minute of my time laying in bed asking myself, “Why did I eat so many macarons?”


The good news is that it’s easier than ever to find healthy food in Paris.  From innovative restaurants to self-catering accommodation to a little bit of menu know-how, you can easily turn your trip to Paris into a healthy one by incorporating these ten simple tips into your next France trip.

1. Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast in Paris

Healthy Food in Paris - Acai Bowl Breakfast

It’s so tempting to start your day with a little cafe au lait and a pain au chocolat, but you’ll be feeling that caffeine and sugar crash an hour later.  Typical French breakfasts aren’t really designed for tourists who could easily be walking twenty kilometers a day (or even before lunch!).

Fortunately, many cafes and restaurants have expanded their breakfast offerings with heartier dishes. You might want to go for an omelette (ideally with some whole-grain braid on the side) or a slice of quiche. Some restaurants also serve oatmeal, smoked salmon and pain perdu (you may know it as French toast!).  Technically, I ate the acai bowl shown above on my day trip to Monaco from Nice, but you can find similar dishes all over Paris.  Check below for my favorite healthy restaurants in Paris, many of which have satisfying breakfasts that will keep you fueled all morning.

2. Make Your Own Easy, Healthy Breakfast

Healthy Food in Paris - Cooking Breakfast in Your Apartment or Airbnb

If your accommodation has a kitchen, or if you have access to a communal kitchen (like in a hostel), breakfast is one of the easiest dishes to whip up before you head out for the day.  My personal favorite way to sneak in healthy food when I’m traveling in France is to start my day with yogurt topped with fresh fruit and granola.  In the bowl above, I combined strawberries, red currants and banana from the market with granola and yogurt from the supermarket.   Whenever possible, I go to the local market to pick up the fruit, as I love seeing what is fresh and local.  This healthy breakfast requires no cooking and minimal cleaning, so I have more time for adventuring!

3. Healthy Restaurants in Paris, France

Healthy Foods in Paris at Le Potager du Charlotte

Loulou Restaurant Paris Healthy Food Avocado Toast

If you limit your dining out to typical bistros, brasseries and cafes, you’ll find yourself ordering from the same selection of healthy(ish) dishes again and again.  You’ll definitely want to include some traditional French restaurants in your itinerary, but don’t feel bad about branching out into dedicated health food restaurants.  These often have gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options, making them perfect for everyone looking for healthy food in Paris.

A few of the healthy restaurants in Paris that you might want to check out include:

  • Abattoir Vegetal | Located in a former butcher shop, this 100% vegan bistro focuses on organic and seasonal dishes.  Expect to find creative menu items like leek risotto and beet tartare.
  • Wild & The Moon | Get healthy from the inside out at this international juice bar group, where the menu features hot and cold bowls, veggie burgers and lots of superfoods.
  • Loulou Friendly Diner | Inspired by iconic Australian brunch spots, Loulou is the perfect place to start your day with avocado toast (shown above), eggs Benedict or paleo pancakes.
  • Judy Diner | At this mostly gluten-free restaurant you can enjoy an open-faced sandwich (tartine) with side salad, or opt for the wild-caught fish of the day with seasonal veggies.
  • Juice Lab | Stop by a Juice Lab location to grab a cold-pressed juice or smoothie and a light meal, like steamed vegetables served with brown rice.
  • Le Café Le Cordon Bleu Paris | The Cordon Bleu is the world’s most famous cooking school, and at their on-site cafe you can find a number of affordable, produce-dense dishes like salads, stir-fries and grilled sandwiches.
  • Le Grenier de Notre Dame | Famous for their vegan interpretation of French cassoulet, this charming cafe claims to be France’s first vegetarian restaurant.
  • Maisie Cafe | Another popular restaurant with ample vegan and gluten-free options, Maisie Cafe serves avocado toast, hot and cold breakfast bowls and lunch dishes that vary depending on what’s in season.
  • Le Potager du Charlotte | A vegan restaurant in a quiet, residential area where you’ll find a beautiful Sunday brunch (one course, the savory crepes, are shown above) and a plant-packed lunch and dinner menu on the other days of the week.
  • Miznon | Their whole roasted cauliflower dish is literally world-famous, so I couldn’t not mention it.

I download an offline map of Paris in my Google Maps app, and then save all of the recommended healthy restaurants as “starred places”.  That way, when I’m out and about during the day, I can quickly check my saved map to see what healthy restaurants in Paris are nearby. Click through to see a full list of my vegetarian travel tips.

4. Choose the Whole-Grain or Buckwheat Option

Healthy Foods in Paris Include Buckwheat Crepes or Galettes

This one is just a quick tip!  If you love carbs (I sure do!) look for the whole-grain option.  My favorite whole-grain dish in France is buckwheat crepes.  In France, savory crepes are often called galettes, and the buckwheat flour used to make them is called sarrasin. Buckwheat is actually a seed, not a grain, and it is much higher in many nutrients (including protein) than regular flour.  I love galettes filled with spinach and Emmental cheese, with a glass of typical Breton apple cider on the side, but I’m always on the lookout for cool alternatives (like the buckwheat galette with vegetables, hot honey and goat cheese shown above!).

I also seek out whole-grain options when I’m purchasing baked goods from the many boulangeries in Paris.  It’s becoming more and more common to find beautiful assortments of whole-grain and multi-grain breads in French bakeries.  Many bakeries will let you order half, or a quarter, of a loaf, so none of that beautiful bread will go to waste.

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5. Look for Meal-Sized Salads at French Restaurants in Paris

Healthy Food in Paris - Order a Salad for Lunch or Dinner

Of course, one of the most famous healthy foods in Paris in the traditional salade nicoise (“Nice-style salad”).  This salad combines all the best flavors of the French Riviera: leafy greens topped with hard-boiled eggs, olives, tomatoes and either tuna or anchovies.  Some restaurants also add in additional cooked vegetables, like green beans (especially in the spring), boiled potatoes and even artichoke hearts.

As a vegetarian, I have to skip the salade nicoise.  However, there are many French salads that come without meat (or where it’s easy to ask for the chef to hold the meat).  For example, salade au chevre chaud comes topped with warm goat cheese croutons, while salade Lyonnaise can consist of bitter greens, sunny vinaigrette and a poached egg (just ask them to hold the bacon!).

Many of the healthy restaurants listed above have more creative salads incorporating non-traditional ingredients like quinoa, avocado and even meat alternatives.  For example, Loulou has a Buddha bowl with raw and cooked vegetables, assorted grains, greens, falafel balls and a poached egg, while Wild & The Moon has a lentil salad with butternut squash, confit celery, greens, hazelnut, spinach and apples. The salad shown above included wild greens, endive stuffed with walnuts and tabbouleh, roasted vegetables and a slice of beautiful local goat cheese!

6. Order (Lighter) French Favorites

French lentils, or Puy lentils, are a healthy French food you can find in Paris

Salads aren’t the only healthy food in Paris or in French cuisine.  Many traditional French dishes are surprisingly healthy, as they are made with lower-fat ingredients, seasonal or local vegetables and lean sources of animal protein.

  • Camembert cheese | At first glance, you might mistake this creamy white cow’s milk cheese for Brie, but it’s actually significantly lower in fat (23%, compared to Brie’s 29%).
  • Poisson en Papillote | When something is cooked “en papillote”, it is baked in a pouch made from parchment paper or aluminum foil.  The technique allows for flavors to develop with too much added oil, making it perfect for proteins like fish (“poisson”).
  • Puy lentils | Grown in central France, lentilles du Puy, are grown in central France. Many locals say you can taste the unique qualities of the local soil in these hearty, high-fibre legumes, which hold up well to cooking without getting mushy. Check the menu for a lentil salad (like the one shown above) or lentil soup.
  • Ragoût | Not to be confused with Italian ragu, the ragoût of France is a slow-cooked stew that is typically teeming with seasonal vegetables, and may also include meat or fish.
  • Ratatouille | By now, almost everyone knows that ratatouille is a dish made from stewed tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and/or sweet peppers, often with the addition of herbs.
  • Soupe au pistou | Pistou is France’s take on pesto, with basil, garlic and olive oil blended into a vibrant paste.  In soupe au pistou this sauce gets stirred into a light, broth-based vegetable soup made with the tastiest seasonal vegetables from the local market.

7. International Restaurants Often Serve Healthy Foods in France

Falafel is a Healthy Food in Paris at L'As du Falafel

Paris today is multicultural and cosmopolitan, partly due to the influence of immigrants from former French colonies and beyond, and partly due to the general increased interest in other cultures.  When you’re tired of hearty salads and simple omelettes, head to one of the many restaurants in Paris serving up delicious, healthy dishes from around the world.

  • Of course, there are plenty of Moroccan restaurants in Paris.  Look for one that serves whole-wheat couscous topped with veggies, or a tagine of slow-cooked chicken and vegetables.
  • At Vietnamese restaurants you can find rice noodles topped with tofu, vegetables and spring rolls (or meat, of course!)
  • Paris has lots of falafel restaurants (including the famous L’as du Fallafel, where I took the photo above, near the Picasso Museum). I like my falafel in a pita with lots of veggies and tahini sauce.
  • Paris even has a street dedicated almost entirely to Japanese cuisine, on Rue Sainte-Anne. Come for sushi, noodle bowls and matcha tea.

8. Enjoy a Healthy “Pique-Nique” in the Park

Healthy Foods in Paris - A picnic in the park or une pique-nique

Making your own healthy food in Paris can be as easy as hitting up the local market and wandering from stall to stall, selecting the ingredients you’ll need to throw together a delicious French-style “pique-nique“.  There is one caveat though – this is all a lot easier if you have a few simple utensils on hand (I personally use this travel utensil set from Amazon).

Personally, I think every picnic in Paris starts with a beautiful baguette.  Tell the bakery that you’re going for a picnic and ask them to slice it for you.  Then, grab a small portion of cheese from a fromagerie and some beautiful tomatoes from an épicerie. If you eat meat, a charcuterie can slice some ham for you. Consider adding in some fruits that are easy to eat by hand, like grapes or berries, and a bottle of sparkling water.  Top the sliced baguettes with the cheese, vegetables and/or meats, and you’ve got a beautiful tartine for a light lunch or dinner.

In Paris, it’s fine to have a glass of wine with your picnic in the park. If you shop at a local wine shop the staff can usually uncork your bottle, but you’ll want to have your own cups (like these collapsible silicone travel cups) as drinking straight from the bottle is a big non-non.

Note: You can have a picnic in many parks in Paris, though a few prohibit eating, sitting on the grass and/or sitting on the stairs.  Look for the posted rules before you put down your blanket.

9. Staying Hydrated = Staying Healthy

Healthy Foods in Paris - Free Tap Water and Hydration

Starting on January 1, 2022, all sit-down restaurants in France will be legally required to serve free tap water upon request.  To order the free water, ask for “une carafe d’eau, s’il vous plait”.  You can see the tap water I ordered in most of the photos throughout this article, actually!

Gone are the days of feeling obligated to order soda, juice, wine or coffee that you don’t want, just to satisfy social norms. Of course, restaurants will still sell natural mineral water and sparkling mineral water to customers who prefer it, but it’s nice to know that you can hydrate for free along with your meal.

The tap water in France is perfectly drinkable (potable, as they say), and throughout Paris you’ll find water fountains where you can safely fill up your reusable bottle.  Just avoid filling up anywhere labeled eau non potable (I always see this in airplane bathrooms!) as that water has not been approved for drinking.

Personally, if I’m staying somewhere for more than a day or two, I like to keep a big five-liter bottle of natural mineral water in my hotel room. It’s easy to refill my own water bottle from the larger one, and it’s also nice to hydrate early in the morning or after a wild night out!

10. Sample French Sweets & Treats on a Food Tour

Miraculous Ladybug Bakery in Montmartre in Paris

Return readers of my blog will know that I love a good food tour (prior to my current France trip, my favorite had to have been the six-hour, two-continent food tour in Istanbul that I took a few years ago!).  In Paris, a food tour is a great way to sample reasonable portions of the best unhealthy French dishes, since your guide will have worked with the staff at each stop to provide amuse-bouche-sized samples for their guests.  Some tours focus on pastries and other sweet treats, some are more wine-forward and the food pairings follow, and others offer a little bit of everything.

I recommend booking directly with a highly-rated food tour company like Secret Food Tours (an international group), Flavors of Paris or Paris by Mouth.  Alternately, many Paris foodies have started operating smaller food tours through Airbnb Experiences.

Have you been to Paris? What was the most delicious, healthy(ish) food you ate in France?  Let me know in the comments!

Planning a trip to Paris?  Check out my guide to Montmartre, my tips for getting the most value from a Paris Museum Pass, and my suggestions about where to stay in Paris.

How to find healthy food in Paris, France, like acai bowls, avocado toast, plantbased restaurants and other healthy French food.Where to find healthy food in Paris, France - These restaurants serve healthy dishes like gluten-free buckwheat crepes, plantbased vegan Sunday brunch, big salads and healthy versions of traditional French food.

 

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