Where is the raw food in Paris?

27 Jan
Not remotely raw french onion soup

Not remotely raw french onion soup

There’s only one answer to that question. There is none. Other than, of course, the fresh market fruit and veggies on every second street corner. But who on earth would consider eating raw food in Paris anyway? Well. Me. I did. But only for a very, very brief amount of time.

I thought that, in a country famed throughout history for being the leading innovator of cuisine, surely there would be a couple of raw food restaurants, such as SAF we have here in London or RAW in New York. My research began and ended with a list from http://www.HappyCow.net of 38 Parisian vegetarian restaurants, with nothing obviously raw. Nevertheless three hours later I’d checked into my hotel in the Latin Quarter, print out and raw food intentions in hand.

I meandered around nearby Parisian cobbled rues and boulevards, salivating involuntarily. I’m sure someone with more resolve would have jogged past the many restaurants and bistros, without being tempted for a moment. That person would have ducked into a supermarche, bought a pile of seasonal organic root vegetables, julienned them with their pen knife and eaten them piously in their hotel room. But not me.

I scanned my eighteenth menu outside a small and crowded bistro on a busy square. I looked briefly at the salad option; ‘salade du chef prepare selon humeur de jour’ – roughly translated as ‘salad of the chef according to his mood of the day’. The deal was done. Raw or not, I was not going to be victim of a stereotypically moody Parisian chef. I sat down and ordered the French onion soup loaded with melted gruyere on toast. I followed it with duck confit on truffle sauce. I could easily have skipped the duck. The soup was rich, filling and more than enough. But I’m glad I didn’t. The flesh du canard melted heavenly off the bone, onto my fork, and into my hypocritical mouth. On a positive note, I ate all the lettuce, which was 100% raw.

I slept badly and felt sluggish with a sore stomach the next day. I know if I’d eaten raw I would have felt light and fresh. But, I’m sorry to say, it was worth it. Next time I visit Paris, I’ll have to psyche myself up properly, do adequate research and stay somewhere less ‘cooked-french-food’ concentrated, if that’s even remotely possible. Any ideas?

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