Paris is for lovers… and vegans!
They say that Paris is for lovers. We have recently found that it is also a pretty good spot for vintage shoppers, vegans and fans of conscious fashion. Give this one a read to check in on our game as eco-tourists. A veil-free, healthy dose of self-judgement as travellers and a couple of green tips too.
Getting to and around Paris, France (WOMB’s Green Score: 4/5)
Paris is conveniently connected by railway with many other European cities, but with two airports, flying in is easy, fast, convenient and… tempting. And we were not delivered form that temptation, for which we accept the minus in our green score.
As soon as we got to Paris though, we greened up our transportation game big time. From public bikes and electric scooters to an amazing network of buses, metro and regional trains, it is easy, fast and convenient to travel around the French capital only using means of public transportation - also if you want to do day trips outside of Paris!
If you like saving money as much as you like saving energy, try buying 10 metro tickets at one time, it will automatically generate a discount. And if you are anything like us, at some point you will also feel like ditching the public transportation and simply enjoy the long strolls around this magical (and highly walkable and easy to navigate in!) city.
Green eating in Paris (WOMB’s Green Score: 5/5)
Yes, foie gras, high-fat cheeses (recently, thanks to this article published in New York Times we found how the negative imprint on the environment varies with the type of dairy, eg. the imprint of cheddar cheese can be higher than that of chicken meat!) and “blue”-served steaks are what many associate with the French cuisine. But we promise you, in Paris, you will find much more than that!
Vegetarian options are available everywhere, not every place serves vegan yet, but there are many vegan cafés and concept stores like Aujourd’hui Demain where you can not only find vegan bites, but also culinary supplies, hair- and skincare products and even vegan fashion! Wild & The Moon Chain caters to all dietary needs - vegan, vegetarian, gluten- or refined sugar-free. You can grab your healthy vegan lunch at SO NAT by Notre Dame de Lorette or at Végét’Halles near the Pompidou Centre. And as much as we prefer promoting small eateries and quirky cafés, we must also give credit to Le Pain Quotidien for being everywhere, always ready to serve a vegan coffee, vegan meal and healthy snacks.
Conscious shopping in Paris (WOMB’s Green Score: 5/5)
For decades, if not centuries Paris has been the fashion capital, and it is still home to a sea of luxurious brands and… an ocean of (very popular, of course) fast fashion chain stores. These are the “obvious” ones, however, conscious fashion and slow design are finding their way into the Parisian scene. Even in giants like Galerie Lafayette, we found a Veja store! We know, we know, it’s still not the small, independent fashion designer who has a zero-waste production line and all items are hand-stitched by one tailor whom the designer knows by the first name - but it’s still a step in the right direction.
Strolling around the streets of Le Marais we found many small, independent brands. Not many of them were cruelty-free, but slow-fashion is definitely not uncommon in Paris. Check out Ekyog, Botzaris, and Les Boudeuses - The Feminine Concept Store (by women for women) for mindfully made garments and accessories (from handbags all the way to vibrators and scrunchies, ladies!).
For vegan fashion and accessories, we will, once again, recommend you Aujourd’hui Demain who sells “Vegan Vintage” and “Trash” (a zero-waste, garment brand who make their clothes out of recovered fibres from old garments and other recycled materials). In need of a pickpocket-safe vegan bag? Arsayo would be the answer - clever design meets cruelty-free manufacture; all bags are made in Portugal.
The trip to Paris happened shortly before 50% of us were returning back to Morocco - we were in need of (affordable!) light garments and we found… Nina Kendosa! Mostly made of natural fibres like cotton, linen, bamboo (viscose), the clothes were all one-size (partly solving the problem of over-production of a garment in a certain size), manufactured in either France or Italy. We ended up buying a pair of light. viscose trousers. It so happens, that the trousers are being worn as we are writing this, so we can vouch for, it was a good and durable purchase.
Waste (WOMB’S Green Score: 3/5)
Like other European capitals, Paris has also proclaimed the war on plastic. Grocery stands usually give you paper bags for your fruits and veggies, and in supermarkets, you are encouraged to either remember to bring your own bag OR buy a durable (non-plastic) bag at the cashier. Chains like Starbucks have stopped putting the plastic stirrers out and you can only get one on request.
Around the city, there aren’t many recycling bins though, and even when taking out the trash out at the Airbnb, we were confused in regards to the recycling policy. There were different bins, but it was not marked clearly which one was for what and all waste seemed tossed in plastic sacks anyway. Not that we speak French and would have understood writing instructions, but pics are always nice…
Living in an Airbnb with the possibility to cook, we did groceries on our own, but ended up buying a few plastic-packaged items and did not know where to bring the empty glass jars for recycling, so we deserve a minus on our “waste” chart.
Eco travel Conclusion
Paris turned out to be a city where the greenness of your travel is completely up to you. Trying to marry consciousness, conscience and convenience, we ended up with a total of 17/20 green points.
Unlike Copenhagen (that we visited not too long ago), Paris did not have the “let’s save the planet”, slightly hippie vibe with vegan cafés on every corner, recycling bins everywhere and more trafficked bicycle lanes than highways. When you visit Paris, it really IS all up to you, your consciousness and… conscience! Eco-options are everywhere, but they aren’t “in your face” obvious, and sometimes you have to ask an extra time, request for a special menu or walk one block further to grab your electric scooter or get to the right metro station.