Ah, Paris ! Rue de la paix, Montmartre, the French chic, croissants, café… France, and especially Paris carries a sort of historical, romantic atmosphere throughout its streets. Even the (strong) possibility of having rain in June or July can be eclipsed by the effortless magic beauty of the old city. Unfortunately, its croissants, cafés au lait and baguettes jambon-beurre are far from being really healthy, gluten-free, let alone vegan… And indeed, the French cuisine is not (yet) famous for its adaptations to those kind of diets.
But no need to feel sad. Despite the seemingly difficulty to accommodate your diet – whether you follow it for ethical or health reasons – to French specialties, there are in fact a lot of restaurants that offer gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options. Feeling relieved ?
I went to one of those restaurants. It’s called Maison Bon, which translates into « The House of Good » – so we’re off to a good start, aren’t we ? This gluten free vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant is located in the 10th arrondissement (the equivalent of district) of Paris. Why did it caught my eye ? Because this place has a particularity. Not only it’s 100% vegetarian with vegan-friendly options (notably their lunch and salad of the day) which is great, it also uses 100% organic ingredients and cooks with no gluten at all.
Maison Bon is a very small restaurant. There are around 10 sitting places arranged around a counter facing big bay windows, but it does take out. In fact, their size is an asset because it ensures every ingredient used is fresh in addition to being organic, and you’re served very, very fast (I’m speaking about a 5 minute-long wait here !). That also explains why they offer a rather small range of choices, limited to the best options possible.
If you decide to go to Maison Bon for breakfast, you’ll be able to chose from a wide range of products : homemade granola, chia seed puddings, yogurts with fresh fruits, cookies, carrot cakes, compotes… which can also be eaten for desert after lunch, or for an afternoon snack as the breakfast bar is open all day long. For lunch, you’ll have the choice between the big fresh salad of the moment, or the meal of the day. As sides, they also make cakes and soups.
When I went there, I had the good surprise to be served a chili sin carne made with basmati rice, carrots, corn, red bell peppers, red lentils, avocado, sweet potatoes and a cacao sauce (as I said, it was raining, even despite the fact that it’s supposed to be summer so I opted for the hot meal rather than the salad!). It was really good, and the portion was quite filling too. And if you want to accompany your food with a fresh drink, I recommend their fresh smoothies.
I had the chance to have a few words with the owner, Chloé, in between two clients. She is a graduate of the French school of gastronomy, Ferrandi, and decided to open this restaurant because one day she was cooking for a friend who is intolerant to gluten, and realized the wide range of options possible with this kind of cooking. She decided to combine the vegetarian and vegan aspect of cooking that she supports for health reasons with the gluten free element. Indeed, health is a very important matter for her and in her restaurant, hence her choice to only use organic ingredients. The result is an innovative combo.
When asked about where she finds her inspiration to make new meals every day, she answered that being a cook, it is kind of easy for her to make them up by herself : « it’s more about invention than research to be honest ». She especially relies on her food inventory to know what she has, and what needs to be used up in order to avoid any waste. The menu changes with the seasons as well as with the availability of produce in the market. Nothing is wasted, everything can be transformed.
After exchanging those few words, I left the restaurant quite satisfied. The cozy atmosphere and the smile of the owner and her team allowed me to enjoy my lunch break in the proper sense of the term : I had a real break.
Concerning their prices, their lunch of the day is usually around 10-13€, and combined with a desert the formula comes to 15€ which is kind of a good deal considering you’re in the capital. Plus, the water’s free. For the deserts and snacks – called “bonneries” there, literally “goodness” – everything’s around 3.5€ to 4€ and they also sell homemade spreads and compotes (6.9€ for 200g) as well as granola (6€ for 150g).
In conclusion, I recommend Maison Bon if you’re looking to grab a quick yet healthy lunch in a place where the breakfast space, the bakery, the fine foods corner and the juice bar, fuse into an innovative and refreshing concept. Chloé and her team are very nice and ready to accommodate to your needs and preferences. As their website points out, « enjoyment is the only rule to be followed » there.