Located just a few steps from Voltaire Metro Station in the 11th Arrondissement, this cozy vegan confectioner offers fine French baked goods, from classic croissants to fancy miniature cream cakes.
“I feel like I’m making a difference in the neighborhood.”
I met founder Bérénice in her shop, all of this long before Covid was a thing. She was very busy but kind enough to take a couple minutes to sit down with me over over a cup of the Pâtisserie’s excellent coffee, while I tell her how impressed I am by the fluffiness of her croissants.
“Before I opened Pâtisserie Vegetal, I had been working as a food engineer for Nestlé” (of all places) and “felt an identity crisis coming”, Bérénice told me.
It was then when she decided that it was time to do something else for a living and was looking back on her first year at her own bakery already at this point in time. For context, this was in 2018.
“I honestly didn’t expect it would be that much work,” she admits, “but I love my new job. Especially since I feel like I’m making a difference in the neighborhood.” Her baked goods attract not only vegans, but people from all walks of life. Some might be lactose intolerant, some might not even know the croissants they buy here are vegan. Others are curious when reading the signs outside, pop in and ask what the “Végétale” in the name means. It lures people in without confronting them with the full concept of veganism right away.
“In France, people think veganism is a cult.”
Not a coincidence but a tactic, as I learned next. “I didn’t want to put the word ‘vegan’ on the sign”, Bérénice told me. “In France, most people still don’t really know what that word means and think vegans are a weird cult or something. I thought it would be too much of a risk.”
Now when people come in to ask what a “Pâtisserie Vegetale” is supposed to be, she can explain and give it the right ring — and they take something home to try it. And, not too much of a surprise here, people tend to come back because of the quality of what Bérénice offers.
And rightfully so. Everything in the bright display of the shop looked amazing and every treat I tried is gorgeous. Although using only the best ingredients, Bérénice and her staff aim for their goods to live up or even outplay non-vegan offerings, meaning they’re sinfully sweet, fluffy and buttery, deliciously creamy and come with rich textures and the right crunch.
Let’s be honest, you might not want to indulge in French pâtisserie goods when you’re in a phase of counting calories…and these vegan treats right here are no exception, sorry folks. They do have a couple gluten-free options though, if that does something for you?
Well, either way a stop here when in Paris is definitely worth it. Even worth a train ride to Paris, if just for petit déjeuner at VG.