France and I, we go way back. It’s been mostly a terrible experience as far as vegan food is concerned. My heart was wide open for the Carcassonne vegan, as with much of the vegans living in France. Twenty years ago I was literally crying in a phone booth in Gordes when some guy who happened to recently open a pizza shop saw me and actually spoke English to me and made me some pizza because I thought I was going to lose my mind if one more person tried to feed me ham. But, I digress…
France and me have a tough history. Not much has changed as far as the attitude towards veganism and the hospitality associated with it. I am not talking South of France or Paris, where you can pretty easily get some very good vegan food, I am talking about the rest of France, where “veganism” is a dirty word and “American” is an even dirtier word.
So, I write this more as a survival guide than an admiring France fan. Don’t get me wrong, I know Americans who love France. Who live and thrive in France. This isn’t for them. This isn’t easy like England or Italy. This is for the vegans who need some help navigating the super cute and worth-the-visit Carcassonne.
Let’s Start with What’s Actually Vegan in Carcassonne
Mademoiselle Naturozen, Salon de thé végétarien Bio / 4 Rue de Verdun, 11000 Carcassonne, France
I walked past this place maybe eight times before I realized it existed. No joke. You will see what appears to be a boutique with some yoga offerings and jewelry in the window. I thought it was the closed down building next door and past off as another vegan business who met the chopping block during the pandemic.
To my surprised, behind the shop is the sweetest lady who makes a vegan lunch a day, complete with a yummy dessert. Mostly you will find offerings of the curry-kind, pilaf-esque, and cous cous based. Things that come in a bowl. Basically a grain topped by something homemade. Take away is possible, and you can also eat in the shop or on the quirky patio outside.
There is a tiny handwritten sign in the front window, so if you get stumped like me, you’ll know you are in the right spot if you see a shop with a tiny sign in the window.
That’s Really it…
Well, kinda. There are a small number of places like an ice cream place inside the castle walls with some vegan offerings, a somewhat fussy and hard to understand place named Restaurant le 104 which had reviews about the food being bland – so we skipped all together. Carcassonne vegans, where are you?
As for coffee with plant milk, though I searched daily, I never found one..
So How did we survive a week?
It really came down to sucking it up and making our own food. Not the plan for this trip, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
Le Fruititier is a decent produce shop. We went everyday to stock up on whatever we could that was fresh to get us through the week. Thought the protein selection is limited and I was trying to avoid cooking every day while on holiday, it did the trick in conjunction with the MonoPrix in the center of town. They had vegan speck by La Vie and great vegan cheese by Nurishh. We also phoned it in one night with some vegan nuggets, tofu and burgers from MonoPrix. It is worth noting the spicy olives and canned (sardine style) artichokes at Monoprix were quite good.
The Bio Vivre in town had a nice produce selection, but we were staying on the other side of town and had already been enjoying Le Fruititier.
I was able to grab a few snacks for our son, some emergency “ready made” food and extra tofu. This was a huge departure from the selection we usually find in the Italy biomarkers.
Here is how we did…
Quite literally nothing to write home about, but if you are staying in a place with a kitchen, you may thank me later. Eggplant was plentiful, so we ate a lot of eggplant. I imagine if you are a Carcassonne vegan, you cook a lot and probably do quite alright.
I was eager to not stockpile pantry staples during our trip and stick to as much fresh stuff as possible so we would use it up quickly. Towards the end of our trip, my friend, who lives there, shared her local market with us – which was quite lovely, alas we were too close to the end of the trip to stock up on anymore produce.
This would actually be an awesome time to download my free vegan kichstart guide just for the simple recipes alone.
A Wonderful Surprise
les mille poetes / 2 Av. Élie Sermet, 11100 Narbonne, France
If you have a car, I can highly recommend a place we found outside Carcassonne. A saving grace if you will.
This place was excellent. In a little less than an hour you can get there. It’s vegetarian with at least 1/2 the menu being vegan.
In Summer of 2022 for vegan offerings they had an antipasti plate which was excellent, a Lebanese galette, which I loved, Joey’s vegan tartar burger came with the most delicious polenta fries and the pizza was also very good.
It was such a treat to have such well crafted food after a bunch of swing-and-misses.
Of course this is only our experience…
As a town, Carcassonne is a special little gem of a castle town. It’s truly an impressive castle and worth a visit for sure. If you are a vegan, I would spend two days here, tops. We had another agenda, besides just scouting the vegan food, so we stayed a bit longer.
I consider myself a fairly good researcher when it comes to travel, so I was wildly disappointed when all the things I found didn’t quite pan out.
You, of course, may have a totally different experience. Are you a Carcassonne vegan with some tips? Have you found amazing vegan food around Carcassonne? Please share below! I am hoping to help people find the vegan food while traveling, so any little gem helps!