This summer I’m travelling around Europe on a mission to discover some of the best yoga, wellbeing and eco friendly retreats for the Around the World Retreat Guide i’m writing. Between retreats I love to dive into a bit of city life and decided to create a series of wellness guides to share my finds on where to practice yoga, eat delicious healthy food and stay fit whilst in the city.
This guide covers my two week trip from Paris to Chalabre to Porto.
Where to eat
Gentle Gourmet Cafe: Vegan restaurant, cafe, deli, and boutique. 100% vegan seasonal vegan menu that changes 4 time per year.
Address: 24 Boulevard de la Bastille, 75012.
Le Potager du Marais: Organic vegetarian and vegan restaurant in the Marais that does a healthy and meat free twist on traditional French dishes.
Address: 24 rue Rambuteau 75003.
Cafe Ginger: Cosy cafe with a bright green exterior and serving homemade vegan and vegetarian food.
Address: 9 Rue Jacques Coeur, 75004.
Soul Kitchen: Cute cosy and quirky cafe ran by two sisters and perfectly positioned between Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur.
Address: 33 Rue Lamarck, 75018.
Bob’s Juice Bar: Healthy, vegetarian food and good vibes.
Address: 74 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003.
Le Pain Quotidien in the Marais: Not solely vegan or vegetarian but has delicious options and a perfect place for the digital nomad to work from (good wifi and power sockets!).
Address: 18-20 rue des Archives, 75004.
Vegan Cooking Course with Paint It Green
My first ever vegan cooking course with the lovely Camilla from Paint it Green Vegan who provides vegan cooking courses and catering. We made spring rolls with tahini sauce and courgette pasta with raw tomato and basil sauce! Find out more about the courses on the Paint It Green website.
Paris is beautiful in the summer and two of the best ways to discover the charm and culture of the city whilst enjoying the sunshine at the same time are by foot and by bicycle.
Walk along the river Seine which flows right through the heart of Paris where you’ll find beautiful views of the city, the famous historical monuments such as the many bridges, Eiffel Tower, Musee D’Orsay, Place du Concorde and delightful cafe bars to rest in and people watch from.
Vélib is a self-service bike system available 24 hours a day, all year round and offer 1 day, 7 day or longer term bicycle hire subscriptions. This is my favourite and very authentic way to explore more of the city and take lots of photos. You can’t beat capturing a magical moment or something that catches your eye and stops you in your tracks.
Courtesy of my friend Angélique Thiriet here’s a list of recommended studios to practice yoga at. I’ll be trying these out when I’m back in Paris again this summer and will be adding more to this list.
Tigre yoga Club 19 Rue de Chaillot, 75116.
Casa Yoga 4 Rue de Paradis, 75010.
Yoga Village 39 Boulevard des Capucines, 75002.
From Paris I travelled by train to Carcassone via Toulouse where my ride, the Yobaba bus arrived to take me to a retreat in Chalabre, a 45 minute drive away in the South of France.
Yobaba Lounge Yoga and Wellness Retreat
I enjoyed 5 days of pure bliss on this retreat, my days consisted of eating, relaxing, meditating, deepening my yoga practice and pampering myself with oils and epson salts in the heavenly bath tub whilst gazing out of the window at the stars.
I think the pictures do an excellent job of explaining what the food was like. In a nutshell, super healthy, delicious and exquisitely presented by the soul food extraordinaire and host Gertrud. Thanks to Hannah Sillitoe of Beyond Fit for the food images and creating the video of the retreat.
Watch the video to get the full low down on the retreat and visit the Yobaba website for the full calendar of retreats.
Feeling super healthy, de-toxified and full of energy after the retreat I flew from Carcassone to Porto, the second largest city in Portugal for two nights.
Where to eat
Thanks to Twitter and Instagram and a hashtag search of #veganporto I managed to track down a couple of vegan travel bloggers who shared their recommendations on their favourite vegan cafes. Happy Cow is also a life saver and the best app and resource for finding vegan and vegetarian restaurants based on your geographical location.
There was a famous dish of Porto that I was eager to try, the vegan version that is. On the recommendation of Vegan Miam, at Lupin restaurant I got my Francesinha (meaning Little Frenchie or simply Frenchie in Portuguese), a Portuguese sandwich originally from Porto, normally made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer gravy. The vegan version of it pictured below was absolutely delicious.
Lupin: The new kid on the block located about a 30 minute walk from the city centre on a residential street and has a nice outdoor garden. Ran by a lovely couple who recently moved from London back to their home town.
Address: Rua Arquitecto Marques da Silva, 74 4150-483.
Black Mamba: Vegan fast food that does amazing vegan burgers with delicious topping and vegan cupcakes and cheese cake in case you have any room left for a dessert.
Address: Rua dos Mártires da Liberdade 130, 4000.
Casa da Horta: A community based cultural association, ecological centre, shop and restaurant serving vegan food.
Address: R. de São Francisco 12 A,. 1000-234.
Liquid Juice Bar: A juice bar with extensive menu and also serves wraps and sandwiches. There are no exclusively vegan dishes on the menu but you can improvise and I asked for avocado to replace the cheese in the wrap that I ordered.
Address: Rua do Almada 203 4000-407 Porto.
Well if you didn’t know, there are millions of hills in Porto so walking is the only exercise you’ll be capable of. Tip for girls – don’t wear heels, it doesn’t look glamorous when trying to negotiate the cobble stone roads! Porto’s a great city to get lost in and see where you end up, with plenty of culture, cute boutiques and galleries to explore. A must see is Porto’s oldest book store, Lello, founded in 1906 and classified as the third best bookstore in the world.
I ended up at the most incredible magical garden with peacocks by chance, on my way walking back into the old town from Lupin restaurant. It’s called Palacio de Cristal and offers beautiful views across Porto and little pockets to explore with fountains, statues and the sweet smell of roses. For a picturesque walk go along the river at sunset then across Luis 1 bridge across the Douro river into Gaia.
Namaste Yoga Shala Rua villa nova 140, 4100-510
Iyengar Yoga Centre Rua do Campo Alegre 484, 4150-170
After Porto I headed to the Portugese mountains for my next retreat at Vale De Moses and as I publish this blog I’ve just got to Lisbon where I will be spending one night before heading off to my next retreat tomorrow, Yoga and Surfing at Vale de Lama in Lagsos. Follow my blog to catch my next article and find out how the travelling vegan yogini got on.
I’d love to hear from fellow travellers, yogis and yoginis and vegans. Always happy to share my tips and recommendations with you, send me an email or connect with me on social media to say hello!
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