Photo of me, wandering in Eymet, Dordogne, France.

Vegan in the Land of Cheese & Ham

Let’s face it, France isn’t the most appealing destination for the travelling vegan, with daily markets offering spit roasts, a hundred cheeses, cured meats and honey lollipops but fret not! There is much deliciousness to be found!

France is such a beautiful country, the pace of life is gentle with sunshine, châteaux and lots of butterflies. It is my happy place! Which is now even happier as soy yogurts, oat milk and no-palm-oil vegan butter is available in the Supermarket. Yay for France!

This adventure was for the sole purpose of rest. The intention was to actively not do much at all, perhaps a little reading, some gentle yoga, sunbathing and wandering. That was really the extent of it for two whole weeks.

I stayed at my Granddads lovely home near Coutras in the South of France. The house is in a little hamlet, on the top of a hill surrounded by fields and forest. The nearest shop is a 30 minute walk or 5-10 minute drive away. I walked daily, through the woods and along quiet (as in, almost deserted) lanes nearby, spending the sunnier afternoons relaxing by the pool.

I ate all of the vegan comfort food you can dream of. Feeding at 82 year old, strong minded Granddad a meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free meal was challenge enough so I went for the crowd pleasers. And thankfully, please they did.

We had Shepherdess pie, Farfalle arrabiata, Roasted sweet pepper and avocado spaghetti with home made garlic bread, Lentil chilli with baked potatoes and variety of yummy sandwiches using the freshest French bread (which you’ll be pleased to hear is almost always vegan, double yay!) Click any of the picture captions to link to the recipe. Shepherdess pie was the hands down favourite, French sun dried tomatoes seemed darker and slightly more bitter than normal but they totally made it!

I visited as many supermarkets as possible. Anyone else LOVE a foreign supermarket?! I love them so much that my very handsome, supermarket loving friend and I, have plans to make a coffee table encyclopedia – watch this space!

Mum, Dad & Little Sister were with us for the first week so we were able to venture out and see some different places. A rainy day took us to Libourne, to shelter in Zara. Of course. Many embroidered treats were purchased and then the sun came out just in time for us to explore the cathedral, a church and some beautiful cobbled streets – perfect!

Catherdral

We also visited a beautiful village called Eymet, with cobbled courtyard, water fountain, decorative flowers hanging from every corner and an art exhibition in a church. It really was a little dreamy dreamland. To top it off, a traditional English tearoom has recently opened so the heathens amongst us (I’m looking at you Dad), could indulge in a clotted cream cream tea with PG Tips no less.

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Best bit – Listening to Granddads stories, waking up to the sun shining through my windows and dunking fresh French bread in almond butter.

I wouldn’t – Get too het up about the weather, half of my trip was overcast and a little chilly but those afternoons chatting with Granddad were the best ones. Evening wanders were still wonderful and warm even with spits of rain.

Top tip – Vegan cheese is still not a thing in France, definitely stash some in your suitcase for added indulgence on your home cooked hearty dinners.

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Booking my flight to India on Friday – eeeep! Until then, hopefully some weekend breaks in the UK…

Much love, baguettes and garlic.

Marie x

Published by

Marie Tompkins

Sporadic Traveller - Vegan Yogi - Proud Member of Narcotics Anonymous.

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