WINNING TIP: Loving Hut, Menton, Côte d'Azur
This was an unexpected find, offering an international menu, ranging from veganised French favourites to Asian fusion. Top of my list is the douceur d'Asie, a delicious blend of chopped-up spring roll, fresh herbs, vermicelli noodles, veggie 'meat' and fresh salad with a slightly spicy sauce. Not only was the meal superb, but the sea view and calm atmosphere made it perfect.
+33 4 92 07 32 57, menton.lovinghut.fr
PARIS AND THE NORTH
L'Arpège, 7th arrondissement, Paris
With three Michelin stars, this place is legendary in gastronomic circles. Alain Passard creates phenomenal dishes using produce grown in one of his three gardens. I was presented with a huge silver platter of a beetroot baked for hours in Guérande sea salt, carved up with more style and aplomb than any joint of meat I've ever seen.
+33 1 47 05 09 06, alain-passard.com
Soya Cantine, 11th, Paris
Soya has a French sense of style despite serving very un-French food. Simple yet elegant wooden tables are shared with other diners, giving the place a convivial atmosphere that is helped by the relaxed and amiable staff. Try the wonderfully light vegetarian lasagne and the apple crumble with roasted hazelnuts and orange zest.
+33 1 48 06 33 02, 20 rue de la Pierre Levée
Macéo, 2nd, Paris
Run by Englishman Mark Williamson, this place has sober yet beautiful interiors and a cellar boasting 10,000 bottles of wine. The menu always includes at least two vegetarian options. It's the perfect spot for a special lunch or dinner.
+33 1 42 97 53 85, maceorestaurant.com
La Lieutenance, Honfleur, Normandy
This lovely restaurant serves French cuisine of an innovative nature in good-sized portions. There is always a vegetarian starter and main course. The wine is pretty good as well. Very high-class food and friendly service.
+33 2 31 89 07 52, restaurant-honfleur.com
Tchai Walla, Die, Rhône-Alpes
Hidden in meandering lanes is the intimate vine-covered courtyard of Tchai Walla. Imaginative organic vegetarian dishes are served simply with exquisite flavours and creativity. Spend the morning exploring the market selling produce of the Drôme valley before heading to this enchanting restaurant and tea house.
+33 4 75 21 00 94, tchaiwalla.com
Toutes les Couleurs, Lyon
We searched out this place on a little back street miles away from any kind of tourist route. Inside it was very boho chic, communal, with quirky lighting and tiling. It's vegetarian and vegan only, and organic. I had courgette gratin, followed by a mixed plate of things like curried black rice risotto, and finished off with pear pudding.
+33 4 72 00 03 95, touteslescouleurs.fr
Olive oil enthusiast Nadim runs this place with a warm humour that charms everyone who walks through the door. Several of the dishes on the menu are suitable for vegetarians, and all come paired with one of Nadim's carefully selected oils. The food is simple but cooked really well.
+33 4 93 13 06 45, oliviera.com
La Faim des Haricots, Toulouse
About to give up on finding anything vegetarian while on a stopover in Toulouse, we came across this amazing veggie restaurant. You choose one, two or three courses, or the set menu, including wine and coffee, and eat as much of the wonderful home-cooked food as you like. Fantastic salads, quiches and daily specials.
+33 5 61 22 49 25, lafaimdesharicots.fr
At the best cheese shop – and restaurant – in Toulouse, you are served over a dozen cheeses, with bread and salad, to be eaten in a specified order, with matching wines. It's great fun and the cheese is phenomenal. They can make you the meal on a platter, decorated and labelled, to take away as well.
+33 5 34 45 59 45, xavier.fr
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