The Best French Gastronomy at Home and Away – Bon Appétit!

Soya Cantine Bio, 11thsoya-cantine-bio

Just a short walk from the trendy Canal Saint-Martin area, Soya is housed in a former workshop, and honours the original utilitarian design of the building with its lofty atelier-style windows, plain stone walls and even an old hoist still in evidence (be warned, there is no formal signage, so look for the street numbers).

While the decor is plain, the ‘fusion food’, as it is billed, is anything but, offering 100 per cent organic vegetarian and vegan options. From the carefully designed menu, I chose a flavour-packed lasagne, featuring the soy-based smoked tempeh, seasonal vegetables, cheese, and bechamel and tomato sauce, accompanied by a tasty side salad. Other equally appealing options include curry masala and a vegetable couscous dish. Soya is a little pricier than average, but worth every penny for the fantastic fare, authentic setting and friendly service.

While You’re There: Stroll along the Canal Saint-Martin, a 19th-century waterway that has undergone a period of gentrification and is now a prime people-watching spot.

Le Potager De Charlotte, 9thle-potager-de-charlotte

Having been launched just over a year ago, Le Potager de Charlotte is still something of a hidden gem. However, as it opens just three evenings a week at the moment (Thursday to Saturday), you’ll still have to book early to get a table. Although they are open at lunchtime as well (Thursday to Sunday), the atmosphere is extra-special in the evening. With an intimate, fine-dining feel, the candlelit tables are beautifully presented, the service is excellent and the food is first-class: 100 per cent vegan, mostly organic fare, along with a range of wholesome smoothies and juices.

The menu is concise, with just three options for the main course, but my smoked tofu, with potato gnocchi, butternut squash and girolles, was the best I have tasted. I chose an organic Cotes du Rhone to accompany the meal and it’s hard to think of a better combination.

While You’re There: A short stroll north brings you to one of the most famous landmarks in Paris, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, where there are panoramic views of the city.

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