Our Vegan Tour de France
Trip 23 of our Vegan Tour de France - again in Akkrum Friesland December 2023
Trip 22 of our "Vegan Tour de France" - Akkrum Friesland October 2023
A week of rest at our family home in Friesland - that was the purpose of this trip 22, with visits to relatives along the way. It's a long trip to do in one go from France. We did a stopover and stayed at the hotel Ibis, which to all our delight accepted a "bird in a cage" in the room. https://all.accor.com/hotel/9188/index.fr.shtml
The hotel was very clean, pleasant welcome and service. On arrival, we asked where we could eat vegan. That was possible at the Italian restaurant "Il Ristorante" https://www.ilristorante.fr/
. We after a beer at the hotel bar, headed to this restaurant. It was very busy there, but we were helped quickly. When we said we were vegan, we were given a separate menu for vegetarians. There was quite some choice, but everything had cheese on it. The result : we could only order pizza without cheese and ciabatta breads. Very disappointing. The ciabattas were burnt and the pizza very dry. It remains difficult for vegans in France. Breakfast the next morning at the hotel was also to be lamented. There was really nothing, not even margarine for bread. They only had soy milk.
After visiting relatives, we left at the end of the day for Friesland - the village of Akkrum. There is a Chinese restaurant in the village that we know very well, even from before we were vegan https://lotusakkrum.nl/
. On the way, we phoned to ask whether we could order vegan dishes there too. We could. So on arrival in Akkrum, we went straight to the Chinese restaurant. We came back with food for up to 3 days....
It's still surprising how easy it is to eat vegan in a restaurant in the Netherlands. And also the selection in shops like Albert Heijn and Jumbo is excellent! Even in the smaller supermarkets like POIESZ https://www.poiesz-supermarkten.nl/
there is always something for vegans. Even vegan cheese. There's really no fuss about it anymore. That's different in rural France.
The rest of the week we enjoyed:
1. a tomato soup for lunch at Van der Valk Drachten https://www.hoteldrachten.nl/
2. a veggie burger menu at eatery Kromme Knilles in Akkrum https://krommeknilles.nl/
; just be sure to indicate and reserve in advance that you want to eat vegan there; coincidentally when we were there they had a vegan option on the menu.
3. you can get vegan "croquettes" to go with a beer almost anywhere: this time we ordered them at the restaurant "De Walrus" in Sneek and later at hotel restaurant Goerres https://www.goerres.nl/
in Akkrum. In both these restaurants, however, there was not much else for vegans but for vegetarians.
4. a delicious curry at estaurant "Aan de gracht" in Sneek https://aan-de-gracht.nl/
5. a MacPlant menu without cheese but nevertheless really very tasty at MacDonalds that did a promotion for plant-based burgers for a month. The sauces are vegan.
On the way back home to France, we walked into a little Mexican restaurant , NACHOS https://nachos.fr/?restaurant-mexicain=villeneuve-dascq
, where we were able to order a delicious Fajita. But even at the hotel NOVOTEL Lille Aéroport, there was again nothing for vegans for breakfast. Very disappointing.
Conclusion: In France it remains difficult, you really should always bring something to eat in case you can't find anything in a restaurant or hotel. Keep up the good work Netherlands, you are a good example for this country.
Vegan birthday meal in La Rochelle
Lunch in Rennes
Our Vegan Tour de France Trip 21 - Friesland (The Netherlands) August 2023
Here the report of Trip 21 of our "Vegan Tour de France". Our destination was Friesland for about 10 days. Not to France, in other words. Indeed, it is our intention to expand our Vegan Tour to other countries. Which also gives us the opportunity to see how huge the difference can be/is between different countries.
We were at the campsite of the marina "De Domp" in Sneek with our little ERIBA Puck and additional tents. A very good campsite, well maintained and centrally located. You can be in the centre of Sneek on foot within ten minutes. We had just missed "Sneekweek", it had been very busy , we heard later from most people.
One advantage of camping is that if there is nothing to eat, you can always cook something yourself. We enjoyed doing that several nights. There is plenty of vegan food in the shops. Especially in the Albert Heijn supermarket, where the price tickets on the shelves show whether products are vegan, vegetarian or organic. The Jumbo also had a pretty good selection of vegan products.
And now the list of restaurants where we ate:
1. the first day a cup of tomato soup at the "Van der Valk" hotel in Drachten https://www.hoteldrachten.nl/ ;
2. "Jacobs kitchen" in Sneek https://jacobs-kitchen.nl/ where we had a delicious Indian and Dutch dish in good portions.
3. Restaurant "Stoof" https://www.restaurantstoof.nl/menu/ (Sneek) for snacks with a drink and a day later a delicious meal of stew dishes accompanied by fries, rice, pasta, atjar and vegetables and a delicious vegan dessert for afters;
4. Restaurant "Markt 23" https://markt23.nl/ (Sneek) , was actually a bit disappointing. If you left out the meat and dairy and egg products, not much choice remained.
5. "Brownies and Downies" https://www.browniesanddownies.nl/sneek (Sneek), for a delicious lunch and vegan croquettes (which were available in a lot of restaurants, by the way);
6. "Himalayan" restaurant in Sneek https://himalayanrestaurantsneek.nl/ , for starters a soup and after that some individual dishes that we shared (we actually always do that when we eat in an Indian restaurant);
7. "Paviljoen Salt" in Terherne https://www.paviljoensalt.nl/ on the Zoutepoul for a cup of coffee and a piece of lemon cake;
8. Picknickers in Terherne https://www.picknickers.nl/menukaart/ for a portion of fries and vegan mayonnaise (they often had that in restaurants);
9. Restaurant "De Kajuit" in the marina "De Domp" https://www.dekajuit.com/ , a delicious Thai curry of vegetables and rice;
10 Mac Donalds on the way back to France, a spicy vegan chicken burger menu.
The difference between France and the Netherlands is heartbreaking. There is no fuss about being vegan in the Netherlands. On the contrary, we were made to feel welcome..
La Roche sur Yon, 23 July 2023
Our Vegan Tour de France Trip 20 - Belgian coast and Bruges (Belgium)
Below a brief resume of our last trip to the Belgian coast, with the main aim to visit our family in Belgium. It's a trip of 8 hours so plenty of pee stops and we had to charge our electric car a couple of times. To our pleasant surprise the Starbucks café in one of the petrol stations gave you the option to have a plantbased milk (at least 4 types) in your coffee. https://www.sanef.com/.../ser.../baie-de-somme-autoroute-a16
We stayed in the same accommodation as last time when we mainly visited the city of Oostende and were surprised at the possibilities to eat vegan in restaurants. This time we went to Bruges. Again we were surprised at the vegan options. There are 2 restaurants that are completely vegan (vegetarian) and we went to both of them. In the other restaurants one could chose a vegetarian meal, which of course isn't vegan but it is a start.
The two restaurants were:
Garlic and Greens in Bruges http://garlicngreens.com/
an Indian restaurant and the meals were lovely.
The second restaurant and this one really deserves a thumbs up, is Atelier FLORI in Bruges https://www.atelierflori.be/
. The very first day when we intended to eat here it was fully booked. And even 2 days later it was difficult to squeeze us in, but we did get a table. So you really need to reserve in advance. It is very popular. They even won a prize : the Belgian Vegan Award. Everything is vegan. Very friendly people. Original interior. But again reserve because they are very busy.
Another restaurant in Bruges to recommend is the WASBAR https://www.wasbar.be/en
where we had a very nice desert: banana cake.
I shouldn't forget to tell you that even in the holiday park "Sun Parks" things have improved. Eating vegetarian is no problem at all. As for the vegans they offered you vegan "croquettes" (which are a dutch, usually meat based snack often found in pubs) with chips as a side dish.
At the end of the trip we left Belgium with a bag full of vegan products that we are not able to get here in France. It is clear that Belgium is far ahead of France with regard to feeding people vegan.
ps In the holiday park we fed the feral cats (as we always do when we see stray cats). They looked well. We know that there is an association that is looking after them.
Our Vegan Tour de France Trip 19 - ROYAN (Charente Maritime)
It's always difficult to get away when you have the responsibility of so many animals. But finally, with everyone OK and in good healt,h we packed our bags, we prepared our little ERIBA PUCK caravan plus tents and drove to ROYAN in the Charente Maritime department for a couple of days. Apart from some vegan salamies, cheese and salads we didn't have much in our fridge. The plan was to eat out as much as we could and see what Royan has to offer for vegans. Business as usual.
Compared to the last trip to Belgium it was a bit of a disappointment. At arrival in the campsite "Le Royan" (a very good camping by
the way) we looked up the possibilities on the internet. Getting a pizza at Domino's seemed like a good idea for the first evening as we
were quite tired after the trip and setting up the tents.
The next day after a slow start, we prepared a salad for lunch. We went to a supermarket E Leclerc. Even there the options were limited compared to the Vendée, where we live, and that's pretty limited!
For the evening the plan was to go to a Thaï restaurant "BOON saveurs", that said that all its recipes were available in vegetarian or
even vegan. A good start, we thought. The restaurant opens at 7PM. We were a little early and so waited for a couple of minutes in the car. Exactly at 7PM we entered, we got a table. There were already 2 tables occupied. We said we were vegan. The waitress told us that they would be able to adapt their dishes. While we looked at the menu, two more couples entered and got a table. They got served drinks and starters almost straight away. About 30 minutes after we had arrived the waitress had still not been back to see us, not even to take an order for some drinks. We felt pretty uncomfortable. So we left, something we have never done before. Why weren't we served, we don't know. Was it because we were vegan? On the menu there were only three options: meat, chicken or fish...
After this very unpleasant experience, we were still hungry, so we looked up an Indian restaurant. There was one not far away, "The Taj Mahal". And there we were welcomed warmly by a young waitress, and even though it was quite busy and we also had to wait a little
bit we left after a very good meal. Our plates were almost polished clean...
The next day we decided to go out for lunch. We found a cute little takeaway restaurant "Une cuisine dans ma rue". The cook prepares only vegetarian dishes, but vegan is not a problem. She leaves out the cheese and replaces it with something else. The desert was very nice.
And one day we went out for a drink and found a hamburger place called "Chez Laurent." They did a veggie burger. And then after that it was becoming quite difficult to find something we liked. We already had had pizza, Indian, a hamburger, salads. Royan and its neighboring villages are at the seaside, so there are lots of fish and seafood restaurants. The French cuisine itself is very limited with regard to vegan food.
But camping gives you the possibility to eat in.... a quick visit to a Organic food shop "Les comptoirs de la Bio" and we finished the trip with our own vegan barbecue.
A tip: always phone before you want to go somewhere to make sure the restaurant is open and to ask what is available, to avoid any disappointments.
Our Vegan Tour de France Trip 18 March 2023 this time not in France but in Belgium
This trip we went to Belgium and were able to compare the situation for vegans. We discovered that Belgium is way ahead compared to France with regard to the offer of vegan products. In supermarkets we found a lot more choice and in one supermarket it was even standard to mention on the shelves which products were for vegans. This makes shopping a lot easier, even though we do recommend that you still always check the labels. We found out for example that a veggie "Steak Américain" contained milk. Also in restaurants eating vegan was easy. There were several options available in each restaurant. And even some hamburger fast food restaurants provided with reasonable choice of vegan food. Below an impression of our latest trip to the coast of Belgium.