Trip 10 Holland and Belgium
The Vegan Tour the France continues... The purpose of this trip was to attend a demonstration in Flevoland about the #Oostvaardersplassen. We only spent one night in France, in Amiens, in the camping Parc des Cygnes https://www.parcdescygnes.com/ , before heading on to Rotterdam in Holland the following day. Rotterdam seemed to be a good starting point for visits to The Hague, Voorburg, Leidschenhage, Delft and Lelystad.
The camping Parc des Cygnes in Amiens has a bar plus restaurant. Vegan options are very limited, so to still our hunger after a beer, we ordered some french fries and added our own sauses / vegan mayonaise.
The trip to Rotterdam was long and tiring, so after arrival and setting up camp we stayed in the campingsite http://www.stadscamping-rotterdam.nl/ and prepared our own pasta plus veggies. The following day we decided to stock up on our food reserves and went to our usual shopping mall Leidschenhage from the time we still lived in Voorburg. It had changed incredibly. Building works were being carried out to create the largest shopping mall of the Netherlands. In the supermarket Jumbo https://www.jumbo.com/ we found plenty of vegan food. It was a pleasure to see the immense variety of meat replacements, vegan cheeses, pizza's, icecreams, etc. There is no excuse anymore to not go vegan when you see the choice there is today. The evening we spent in the Old Harbour of Rotterdam enjoying a nice drink and a lovely meal in the vegan restaurant Dumbo: http://dumbo.restaurant/, with very friendly people, good service, good food and a very nice ambiance. If you are in Rotterdam please pay them a visit. They will be grateful.
The next day we met some old friends in Delft. They organised a tour for us through the "new" building of the department of Architecture of the Technical University of Delft. A couple of years ago the original building where Marit graduated her architecture degree, caught fire. Surprise, surprise, also in the University vegan/veggie food becomes normal. The evening we joined another friend and ate in a restaurant called Hummus https://www.facebook.com/hummusdelft/. Very good food. Definitely worth a visit.
Day 5 we went to visit our old usual pub in the Hague. To get there we parked the car in Voorburg, took the tram into The Hague (which we used to do in the olden days) and walked through the shopping centre to the Fiddler http://www.fiddler.nl/ Again after a cold beer we became hungry and ordered vegan flammetjes (twice because they were so nice ) chips, a sandwich and a vegan wrap. Lovely food! Lovely atmosphere.
The next day it was time to demonstrate once again against the horrors of the Oostvaardersplassen (you can read more about it on this page: http://forestsfromfarms.org/Boycott-the-Netherlands.php ) It was a succesfull gathering of people who won't stop to change the situation for the Konik horses, Heck Cattle and Red Deer in this so-called nature reserve. On the way back to the camping we quickly popped into the Albert Heijn in Leidschenhage. We were disappointed with the choice of vegan food they had.
The next couple of days we spent with family. Just before leaving for home we payed an evening visit to Brussels (the city where we once met ) We had some beers on the Grand Place and in a pub called "Le cerceuil" (coffin in english) and ended the evening in the lovely vegan/organic café "The Sister" https://anti-speciesism.com/Our-Vegan-Tour-de-France.php enjoying vegan tapas and for afters vegan waffles.
"If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others... why wouldn't we?" A quote of Edgar's Mission.
Below you'll find the fotos published on facebook and the translation of this text into French :
This time we didn't take the caravan but we rented a bungalow in a Center Parcs a couple of hours away from home, just to relax from the habitual tasks of looking after the animals, cleaning, going to vets etc. The very first night when we arrived we ate in the bungalow as most restaurants in the Parc were shut. The self-service restaurant didn't really have many options for eating vegan. There was a small supermarket in the center of the Parc (a Carrefour) that had some vegan products and we had brought some things from home. Pindy, our small parrot enjoyed the meal that he shared with us.
The next day we went to look for a supermarket in the area. We found a small Auchan in Ferté St. Aubin where there was plenty of vegan food available. Again always check the label in case it contains eggs or milk products. We did most of our shopping there in order to stock up for a couple of days. That evening we went to the Italian restaurant Il Giardino in the Parc.
They were very pleasant and flexible. You could order a vegetarian pizza (there were several options) without the cheese and add other ingredients instead. We had a very enjoyable meal. At the end they asked us whether we would like to fill in a survey and of course we mentioned that more vegan options would have been very welcome. Otherwise we were very happy with the service.
Most days we ate at home. We visited the town of Orléans one day, where we were surprised to find a little shop called Etik & Bio https://www.etiketbio.eu/index.php with plenty of organic (so not vegan) and also vegan products. We decided to do a wine, bread and vegan cheese party at home so we bought a number of vegan cheeses. Some were very nice, others were a bit disappointing.
The stay in the parc was very pleasant. We were visited by a peacock the very first day and when he found out there was food available for him he called the others. In the end every morning we heard them hammer on the door for breakfast so Henrietta had to share her grains with up to 9 peacocks.
The purpose of this trip was to attend three demonstrations: one in Paris against hunting in France, a demonstration in Holland against the culling of 1000 deer in the #Oostvaardersplassen (which in the end did not take place) and a demonstration in London asking for another vote for Brexit.
So the first stop was a campsite near Paris, at Maison Lafitte. Pricy but very pleasant. During our internetting hour we made friends with a local cat that was very well looked after by the campsite. https://www.sandaya.fr/nos-campings/paris-maisons-laffitte? https://www.facebook.com/Sandaya.Campings
The number of vegan restaurants in Paris seems overwhelming. We selected some restaurants from the site Happy Cow https://www.happycow.net/europe/france/paris/
We found out however that even though they mention vegan, the options can be limited so always phone in advance to avoid making long trips through Paris only to find out that the restaurant can't really provide you with a vegan meal.
The very first day we had a hamburger at the demonstration from a traiteur/restaurant called My Kitchen: www.mykitchn.fr/Welcome.html. They were very nice.
The second day we stayed in Maison Lafitte, a very pleasant little suburb from Paris. We had a beer in the local brasserie Le Cosy http://www.lecosy.fr/fr/ and afterwards headed to one of the Indian restaurants in Maison Lafitte: Ganesh https://ganesh78.business.site/ where we had a lovely indian meal.
The third day we headed back into Paris to visit the Sacré Coeur and Montmartre. We asked various restaurants on "Place de Tertre" whether they had vegan food. We were pleasantly surprised that they did have at least one dish. A very nice atmosphere however a bit too touristy. And we wanted to visit an only vegan restaurant. The first tearoom we found in the area was not totally vegan https://www.facebook.com/soulkitchenparis . So we ended up in Cantine Le Myrha with only vegan and organic food https://m.facebook.com/LeMyrha/ It's a sort of selfservice restaurant. Very pleasant food, atmosphere and of course a cat to keep us company in the restaurant. On the way back to the camping we popped into a local organic shop "La Vie Claire" where we found plenty of vegan products and cheeses. https://magasins.lavieclaire.com/…/mai…/maisons-laffitte/207
Day 4 we went to an Asian buffet/Wok restaurant called Palais du Chine in Maison Lafitte. You can choose your own food. It is easy and fast. Afterwards we went to see the film A star is Born in the cinema of Maison Lafitte. If you haven't seen it yet and still plan to, do not forget our handkerchiefs
Next day we headed for Calais. We popped into the Auchan where again vegan options were plenty. There is really no excuse any more for wanting to eat meat or cheese.
We ate out twice in Calais. The first night we went to an Italian restaurant Le Milano http://www.le-milano.fr/ where we had a very nice pizza without cheese beforehand we visited the local Pop Rock Bar for happy hour. https://www.poprockbar.fr/?lang=en
The second night we went Indian again, where we had our very best indian meal in France ever. The restaurant is called Bollywood https://www.facebook.com/Bollywoodcalais/ They also do buffets during the week.
Conclusion. Again if you ask restaurants whether they have something vegan they always do or they can prepare you something special. Veganism is getting more common especially in the larger cities and also the supermarkets mostly have vegan options. But do check the labels. Milk or eggs are still used in many vegetarian products. The chain of shops of "La vie claire" was a good find during this trip. Organic is always better. We have been going on trips now for a year and we have the impression that things are already getting easier than a year ago.
It is early July. There is a heat wave in the Vendée. So we decide to go a bit more north, to Brittany where the temperatures would cool down a bit in the coming weeks. We arrive, early evening, after a very hot trip without airconditioning in the car, at the campsite Les Pins close to Crozon. https://www.camping-crozon-lespins.com/campsite-france-brit… Setting up camp takes us now about an hour. It's our aim to eat out as much as possible, but tired and have taken some leftovers from home we decide to eat at the campsite. Gives us all some time to stretch our legs, Henrietta, our pet chicken on her lead investigates the area for bugs and herbs and Pindy likes the protection of the tents.
The first day our first mission impossible is to find some vegan products in the nearby supermarkets. It is a Sunday. The only supermarket that is open is an E Leclerc Express in Tal ar Groas. There is nothing vegan at all, but there are some vegetarian products. Again what seems to be vegan, in french "végétale", does very often contain milk or egg products. So be careful and always read the labels. We come back with some essentials like carottes rappées, taboulé, and other salads etc.... The evening we eat out in a small beach village called Morgat, near to Crozon. Lovely ambiance. We end up in a restaurant called "La Flambée" https://www.facebook.com/laflambee29/ that serves vegetarian pizza's. They are mentioned on the menu, so we ask if it would be possible to leave off the cheese. Very friendly people and a very nice meal.
Day 2 It starts to rain. Everything is wet as we didn't really prepare for it to rain. However, our day isn't ruined. While things are drying we spend the day in the caravan with the animals and pamper ourselves with some gin and tonics.
Day 3 Time to do a proper shop. The E Leclerc in Crozon is very well equipped with vegan products. We buy the most important things to keep us going for the rest of the week. After a stroll over the rocks and on the beach at La Pointe de Dinan https://www.tripadvisor.fr/Attraction_Review-g1194610-d7040…, (we come back with a small plastic bag with rubbish found on the beach) we have a light lunch with plenty of veggies and bread. A red squirrel and a blue jay join us. We aim to eat out again in the nearby village of Camaret sur Mer. However, due to car problems we decide to stay in and eat our meal at the campsite.
Day 4 The car starts again. So that evening we make a second attempt to go out and find a restaurant in Camaret sur Mer. The Finistère is well known for its seafood. So not much of interest for vegans, unfortunately. So we end up in an Irish Pub called "the Donegan" https://www.facebook.com/The-Donegan-1495643490653172/ for a drink. Becoming peckish after one pint of beer we ask whether it would be possible to order a vegetarian pizza without cheese. Again pizza was our best option for that evening.
Day 5 After a lot of organization for getting a replacement car (read more about our car problems on our timeline https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=550364762026258&id=100011582169346 ) , we end up in Camaret sur Mer again. We visit our "local" pub again for a drink and to do some internetting. We were not very confident in finding another restaurant that serves vegan food. However, on the way back to the car, we see a sign on the pavement with the words "vegan welcome". With great enthusiasm, we enter the restaurant called "Bistro/crêperie La Marine" https://www.tripadvisor.fr/Restaurant_Review-g1087668-d6855… and order a vegan pancake and a salad. Very friendly staff who are really prepared to help. We have a little chat about veganism. They told us it is becoming more and more normal even in the Finistère .
Our last day before leaving for home, we go back to the E Leclerc in Crozon to do some last shopping, where we also end up eating a vegan pizza in their cafeteria for lunch.
Conclusion The Finistère is not (yet) really vegan-friendly although they are working on it because it is very touristy. Restaurants offer vegetarian pizza's. The main shops like E Leclerc do sell vegan meals and products, however, it is important to read the labels of the products as "végétale" in French does not always mean no eggs or milk products are added. A good side effect of our visit to the Finistère though was that we came back home and had both lost a little bit of weight after all these fat free pizza's and salads. You'll find more photos on our facebook page Vegan Tour de France