5 Best Vegan Spots in Lyon

Lyon has really become this past year, a much more vegan-friendly city. There are tons of new restaurants, coffee shops and organic groceries, popping up everywhere around town. Here are some of my favourite spots in the city that are worth the visit if you are plant-based!

1) My Petite Factory – Located on Rue Neuve, right in downtown Lyon, My Petite Factory is heaven for those who follow a plant-based diet. They have the most delicious buddha bowls, sandwiches, soups and homemade desserts all made from scratch and fresh daily. They not only serve vegan options but also gluten-free options, making them a hotspot for not only locals but also tourists.

2) Harvest Cuisine – This pizza joint is new to the city and prides itself in serving farm-to-table style pizzas and pasta. They work with local farmers to get the freshest in-season ingredients. They have a handful of vegetarian options and also the most delicious vegan pizza made with cashew cheese. Harvest Cuisine is definitely revolutionizing conventional pizza making in the area.

3) Moi Pur Jus – One of the newest juice bars and cafes to open up in Lyon this past year. Also located on the presqu’île in downtown, this beautiful café offers a wide variety of cold-pressed juices, chia puddings, snacks and treats that are both vegan and gluten-free. Moi Pur Jus is 100% organic and in addition to offering food and drinks, also offer different health and wellness services.

4) Slake Coffee House – A great spot for breakfast, lunch and also to spend the day working on your laptop. Slake Coffee House is located in the most beautiful antique building that offers a real vintage and warm vibe. They’ve got lots of salads, snacks and warm drinks to choose from. It’s not 100% plant-based but a great place to spend time people watching and catching up on work while in the city!

5) Les Cafetiers – If you don’t mind waiting in line, you’ll want to pay Les Cafetiers a visit. Their minimalist setting and Australian influenced coffee shop (you can even order a Flat White there!) is without a doubt the trendiest coffee shop in the city. They serve up delicious brunch (hello avocado toast!), sweets and drinks and though not everything on the menu is vegan, they’ve got some delicious options to choose from.

5 Workouts Worth Checking Out in Lyon

Planning a trip to Lyon, France? Here are a few recommendations for workouts and activities that will keep you moving while you’re in the area.

1) M.ROC – Bouldering has become a super trendy sport in North America and apparently in France as well. M.ROC is a super neat concept bouldering space that offers not only a ton of different walls to practice your climbing skills but also offers a place to relax and be social after climbing with their cool cafe. This “Bloc and Bistro” as they call it has three locations in Lyon. It costs around 15 Euros/day including shoes.

2) Bikram Hot Yoga – Yoga is slowly making ground in Lyon. The latest and greatest studio to open up is a Bikram Hot Yoga studio right downtown on the presqu’île. The studio recently underwent some renovations to be able to accommodate it’s growing number of customers. Owned by a husband and wife duo, they’re rapidly becoming the go-to spot in the city.

3) Parc de la tête d’or – Looking for places to run while you’re in Lyon? Le parc de la tête d’or is an absolute must! The park can easily remind someone of Central Park, minus the madness. It’s located right next to Rhône, so you can easily run through the park and then run along the waterfront, getting the most beautiful views of the city. In the park, you’ll also get to see the botanical garden and the city’s zoo.

4) CrossFit Enyento – Located in the 9th arrondissement, this CrossFit box is home to some of the city’s best athletes. CrossFit Enyento offer a wide-variety of classes that specialize in weightlifting, cross-training and more. They offer free trial classes for newcomers and have great trainers that will make everyone feel welcome and provide you with great training tips.

5) Go to the Alps – Because Lyon is located just 90 minutes away from the French Alps, going on a day trip to the mountain is a must.  There are plenty of resorts and mountains to choose from, whether you’re looking to hike, snowboard, run or even eat local mountain food. Worth checking out: Les 2 Alpes, Alpe du Huez and Courchevel, just to name a few.

5 Best Vegetarian Spots Paris

fullsizerender-29

Vegans and vegetarians traveling to Paris rejoice!

Heading to Paris soon and looking for the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the city? I’ve got you covered! Check out my top 5 spots from my most recent visit!

1) Wild and The Moon – This new Paris hotspot located in the 3e arrondissement reminds me a lot of places like Café Grattitude or The Butcher’s Daughter in California. This juice bar, to-go counter and dine-in vegan restaurant is without a doubt one of the best in the city. Unlike their American counterparts, they’ve added a French twist to some of the dishes they serve adding different ingredients and serving things like a raw tarte. They’ve got a great selection of organic cold-ressed juices and milks, homemade salads, soups, crackers and snacks as well as desserts. Their hot drinks are also incredibly tasty. The perfect spot to eat clean, plant-based pure meal.

fullsizerender-31

fullsizerender-32

fullsizerender-41

2) Season – This farm to table group of restaurants and to-go spots combines fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to make delicious tartines, bowls and salads that are perfect for a breakfast, brunch or lunch. Their restaurant located in the 3e arrondissement in Paris is always packed at lunch time so make sure you arrived before 1pm if you don’t want to have to wait in line.

fullsizerender-33

fullsizerender-35

fullsizerender-34

3) Café Pinson – Also located in the 3e arrondissement in Paris, this restaurant serves healthy and organic meals that change on the daily. Their small carte of appetizers, mains and deserts features delicious seasonal ingredients that combined together with beautiful sauces and accompaniments create comforting dishes good food for the soul. The beautiful and cozy decor makes it a perfect date-night spot.

fullsizerender-36

fullsizerender-39

4) Hank Vegan Burger – This small vegan burger joint located in Le Marais, one of the most sought after neighborhoods of Paris, serves up cheap but finger-licking-good burgers for 8 Euros. Their 4 different burgers are all equally tasty. You can add potato wedges or coleslaw and make it a combo with or without homemade dessert. It’s a great place to have a quick lunch or dinner.

fullsizerender-24

fullsizerender-23

5) Ten Belles – You’ll find this cute coffee shop nestled on a side street right by the Canal St-Martin in the 10e arrondissement in Paris. Though not everything they offer is vegetarian, they have a great selection of focaccia and bun sandwiches, salads as well as soups that are vegetarian. Their homemade cookies, breads and treats are also incredibly yummy.

fullsizerender-28

fullsizerender-25

fullsizerender-26

Maman à Table

Processed with Snapseed.

Since they opened up last summer, Maman has been creating some fun and unique dining experiences for Torontonians. Their latest offering is a staple in the French culture but has yet to be discovered by most Canadians. The “formule du midi” or “plat du jour” lunch is omnipresent in France and very sought after by workers in urban areas.

fullsizerender-58

The concept is to offer a prix fixe 3-course meal including an appetizer, main course and also desert (usually a café gourmand) and for much cheaper than it would in the evening. The meal called Maman à Table is served either on their beautiful outdoor patio or wooden communal table inside the restaurant for $20 every Friday from 11:30 am until 2 pm.

fullsizerender-59

As a starter, they offer either a choice of grilled tomato gazpacho or de-constructed avocado toast, both of which are vegetarian. For mains, you have the choice between a delicious croque maman, salade niçoise or their daily quiche with mixed greens, which are all delicious. And for desert, they offer a choice of coffee or tea with some of their yummy mini cakes, which include mini chouquettes and madeleines.  Wine and beer are also available for purchase during lunch time.

Processed with Snapseed.

The warm Maman atmosphere allows you to escape the busy Bay Street bustle and makes you want to extend your lunch hour just a little longer. Their French-inspired design and cuisine is homey yet sophisticated and continues to make people flock to the restaurant from all over the city. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more Maman openings around Toronto in the near future.

fullsizerender-62

For more information on Maman à Table, their daily menu or bar & tapas offerings, go here.

 

5 Cities to Visit on the Côte Basque

b8

1) Anglet

b5

This small surf town is located in the northern part of the Côte Basque region of France. One of the things that makes the city so beautiful is its pine forest that makes up 10% of the city’s territory. The coast of Anglet contains 11 beautiful beaches that stretch 4.5 kms. The beaches are a top spot for local surfers and even members of the international surfing community. This summer, the first ever #ProAnglet surf competition was held Sables d’or beach, an WSL Qualification event. On the Anglet beachfront, you will find a variety of cute little shops, cafés and restaurants.

b9

b1

b2

Downtown Anglet is also incredibly cute. You can feel the small-town relaxed vibe in this city but you’ll find everything you need. Anglet is where you’ll find the headquarters of local surf brand Oxbow, who are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. This rad brand once sponsored surfing greats like Laird Hamilton and now work with local groms.

b21

b20

If you like biking, you’ll be able to take their multipurpose path up and down the coast and the entire Basque region of France.

This little city is definitely a surfer’s paradise!

2) Bayonne

b22

This city located just north and east of Anglet and is a cultural and historical haven. You may have heard of this place before due to its annual Fêtes de Bayonne, a 5-day celebration that starts on the first Wednesday of August and attracts people from all over Europe. People flock to the city to watch parades, dance, music, eat food and drink.

b28

b27

Bayonne is also where the famous “Bayonne Ham” originated from. The city also has a famous rugby team.

b29

What makes the city so special, is its 17th century fortification and historic buildings. Some of the sights you’ll find in the city date back to the 12th century, such as their castle and their church. You’ll also see traditional Basque homes, with half-timbering and shutters in either red or green.

b25

b24

b23

If you’re looking to learn about the local history, this will be your go-to spot!

b26

3) Biarritz

b7

This is probably the most famous and internationally recognized town of the Côte Basque. It’s renown for its surf and also its luxury. Many people compare this city to the Cannes of the southwest.

b3

b10

There is plenty to see and do in Biarritz. They’ve got a beautiful Museum of the Sea, they have two large casinos on the waterfront by the Grande Plage, the annual Biarritz Surf Festival, great shops and also fantastic restaurants like Le Clos Basque, that offers local Basque specialties.

b11

b4

b14

IMG_3888

b16

b17

b18

b19

There is also a real sense of community and youthfulness in Biarritz. There are many great up and coming local designer shops and businesses that can be found throughout the city.

b13

b15

b12

4) Guéthary

b34

This is a small fishing village that has been around since the 12th century. The arrival of the train in 1884 brought a lot of families and tourists area, looking to build secondary homes along the coast. A lot of these homes remain visible to this day. The village is now a destination for French surfers and also a great spot for longboarding. The marina still remains to this day and so does a lot of the local agriculture.

b33

b32

5) Saint-Jean-de-Luz

b42

The village of Saint-Jean-de-Luz is located just a few minutes away from the Spanish border. The city’s wealth originated from its port but it also became well-known as a result of the wedding of Louix XIV and Maria Theresa, the Infanta of Spain in 1660 in the city’s church.

b38

b35

b36

b37

Today, it is a great spot to visit for those looking for great cuisine, sandy beach and traditional architecture. The Spanish influence can definitely be felt in this town, it’s a great place to get eat tapas. That said, it is also a great place to grab a traditional Gâteau Basque, which can be found in all the bakeries around town.

b39

b40

b41

Beach Bum

FullSizeRender (29)

Well… after a lengthy day, 2 days of traveling, we finally made it to Europe. The 9 hours of jet lag definitely has me feeling a little funky but I knew that going to the ocean today would be the best thing to get me feeling energized again.

FullSizeRender (33)

FullSizeRender (30)

No surfing for today, just enjoying the lovely waves, the sun and the beautiful Côte Basque scenery. Some days, it’s nice to be a beach bum, I rarely get the chance to just lay by the beach so I’m making the most of it!

FullSizeRender (35)

FullSizeRender (37)

Excited to be heading to the #ProAnglet surf competition later this week. Got any recommendations for the Côte Basque? Send them my way!

FullSizeRender (34)

FullSizeRender (31)

FullSizeRender (32)

FullSizeRender (36)

Photos by @Offner

Sanuk Women’s Shuffle Sidewalk Surfer (get them here)

Bench women’s short 

TOMS Traveler matte grey (get them here)

Nixon mint green waterproof watch 

 

Maman Toronto

FullSizeRender(10)

I couldn’t resist posting about this wonderful new French bakery & café called MAMAN that just opened up in Toronto. The reason being: it’s a little piece of French heaven! I first stopped in before the weekend to get a first look at this cute place that just opened up on the Mezzanine Level of First Canadian Place. I’m always curious to check out anything France-related so I was enchanted when I got to MAMAN. Not only did the decor remind me of beautiful Southern France and La Provence, the food and drink menu seemed just as dreamy.

FullSizeRender(16)

FullSizeRender(11)

MAMAN is a collaboration between five partners including Armand Arnal, head chef at Michelin star restaurant La Chassagnette in the South of France. They serve breakfast, lunch and are also open for cinq-à-sept or cocktail hour from 5-7pm from Monday to Friday. Their menu consists in a variety of yummy quiches, savoury tarts, sandwiches, salads and a ton of delicious baked goods. Everything is made fresh in-house. I was delighted to see some traditional French items like Madeleines, Financiers, Croques, etc. I also like that they added their own unique twist to some classic French items, making them even more special.

FullSizeRender(9)

FullSizeRender(12)

The atmosphere inside the place is very serene and beautiful. They have two beautiful communal tables, a small bar area and also a decent sized patio outside. Though it’s not an area I typically hang out in, with organized Bingo nights soon coming and my constant search for yummy French food in the city, you may catch me there pretty often!

FullSizeRender(15)

FullSizeRender(14)

FullSizeRender(13)

5 Things to Do in Lyon

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

1) Visit the zoo in Parc de la tête d’or – The Parc de la tête d’or is the biggest and most beautiful park located in Lyon. The park reminds me a lot of Central Park. This 19th-century park is filled with beautiful statues, tall trees, flowers, fountains and also the coolest zoo that is open all-year-round. It’s a great place to go for an afternoon stroll or even for a run. At the zoo, you can pet ponys, see girafes, bears, monkeys and a handful of other beautiful animals that live outdoors in beautifully crafted habitats. The zoo is vast and is surrounded by lush gardens. A beautiful place for kids and for kids at heart 😉

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

2) Have an ice cream at the Grand café des Négociants – Around since 1864, the Grand café des Négociants has been a hot spot in Lyon for artists, politicians and traveling salesmen who come to discuss and enjoy either a drink or a homemade ice cream. The café is decorated with the most beautiful mirrors, moulded ceilings, drapes and paintings. You will find it located right in the heart of the business and arts district on the Lyon peninsula.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

3) Spend time in La Croix-Rousse – If you’re looking for a trendy spot to spend the afternoon or even to stay (they’ve got the most beautiful Canu loft apartments available for rent on airbnb that you can get for $50 a night!), you have to visit La Croix-Rousse. The area is filled with lot’s of yummy cafés, patisseries, restaurants, bars and shops. The architecture is also incredibly beautiful in the area. Paddy’s Corner, L’atelier du Boulanger, La brasserie des écoles and the weekly market are some local favorites.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

IMG_2549

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

4) Go for a walk or a run on Quai Rambaud in the Confluences – Les Confluences is a brand new area of Lyon that has been around for two years or so. They recently inaugurated a the Confluences Museum in December and there is also a huge shopping area that was recently developed on the waterfront with hotels and also restaurants. The Quai Rambaud, is located just a few minutes of walk from there. It’s where you’ll also find the trendy new bar and exposition spot La Sucrière. On the quai, you’ll also find a bunch of barges. It’s also a popular place for running amongst locals.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

5) Take a ride on the big wheel at Place Bellecour. If you’re looking for one of the best views of the city, take a ride on the big wheel located on the Place Bellecour. It allows you to see not only the peninsula but also get a view of both rivers that surround Lyon. It’s only 8 Euros per adult for the ride.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

5 Things to Do in Paris

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

1) Grab a coffee at Springsioux – One of the hottest concept stores in Paris is now serving coffee daily. Grab an espresso, latte or they’re own Sprinsioux special coffee while you browse through their beautiful shop, people watch or walk around Le Marais. Ste. Croix de la Bretonnerie is booming right now, with tons of new shops and restaurants in the area. You never know who you’ll bump into in that area.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

2) Visit the National Museum of Natural History – If you’ve got a couple of hours to spare, head over to the beautiful National Museum of Natural History, located across La Seine and from the 4th arrondissement. This 17th-century palace houses plants, animals and a HUGE collection of skeletons, fossils and more particularly dinosaur skeletons. It’s such a magical place because it’s nothing like current museums. The building itself is so unique and has such an old vibe. There’s also beautiful gardens and outdoor exhibits that are worth looking at. The Great Gallery Of Evolution was by far my favorite, see the incredible photos below!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

3) Drink a Monaco at Les Philosphes – Les Philosophes is one of the most sought after bars in the Le Marais area for a post-work drink or appetizer on their terrace. It’s the best spot for people watching on the bustling Rue Vieille du Temple. They’ve got the best salads and appetizers. Be sure to grab a Monaco (a French drink composed of beer and grenadine syrup) or even a Picon bière while you’re there.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

4) Jardin des Tuileries – This beautiful garden may be well-known by tourists but is still totally worth checking out. The gardens are located in the 1st arrondissement and is also in proximity to the Louvre Museum. The public garden was originally created by Catherine de Medicis in 1564 and was opened to the public in 1667. It’s beautiful all-year-round is a great spot for a picnic, a walk or just to sit down and enjoy the sights. It’s also  great spot to observe the beautiful Parisian architecture.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

5) Carnavalet Museum – Located in the 4th arrondissement otherwise known as Le Marais, since 2013 this lovely mansion is dedicated to the history of the city. The museum is located in the former Hôtel Carnavalet and Hôtel Le Peletier. You will find different collections spanning from the 13th century onwards past the French Revolution and up until the 20th century. I loved the mix of paintings, drawings, engravings, photographs that were present along with furniture, ceramics and decorations from the different eras. My favorite room was this golden room below, which was just stunning! Also, as an added bonus, the museum is FREE!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

What are some of the things you love doing in Paris? Let me know 😀

Friday Faves

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

1) Le Petit Marseillais deodorant spray – France loves Le Petit Marseillais. I’m always on the lookout for new beauty products and had never really seen any spray deodorants for women in Canada before, especially some that didn’t contain paraben or aluminum. These spray on deodorants are so awesome because they don’t leave any white stains or yellow marks and dry super quickly! I also love the smell of this one – “green tea“, it’s light and also a little sweet. I was so stoked on this product, that I actually brought back a bunch of them with me. You can get some Le Petit Marseillais products online via Amazon, if ever you’re not planning on making it out to France any time soon.

2) BelVita Biscuit Petit Déjeuner – I recently discovered these amazing breakfast cookies while in France. They come individually packaged in packs of four and are great accompanied by fruit or even yogourt in the morning. They have a bunch of different kinds – some sweeter than others. To my surprise, I found BelVita cookies at Fiesta Farms in Toronto, but funny enough in Canada, they’re made by Christie and not by LU and don’t have the same health standards. So to my utter disappointment, these cookies in Canada as healthy and awesome as they are in France. Luckily we brought back a few boxes but that just means we’ll have to go back and get more 😉 SO YUMMY!

3) Chestnut Spread –  As a kid, my mom would eat chestnut spread from France every morning. She would put it on toast with butter. I never really liked chestnut spread until I became an adult but now, I love putting it on raisin bread toast (any one else grew up eating raisin bread all the time?!). I like it because it’s not too sweet and this particular spread we brought back from France is actually local and all-natural. You can find similar chestnut spread at Whole Foods or even Fiesta Farms in Toronto.