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A friend invited me to a vegetarian cooking class at her yoga school: Centre Sivananda de Yoga Vedanta. This 3-hour class (held in French) actually began with a one hour lecture on aryurvedic principles. The instructor ‘om’-ed and chanted beautifully and had a saint-like aura. I found her approach really interesting and often inspiring and it felt good to hear someone in Paris say that if we eat an animal we are eating the emotions, the fear of the animal. Ah, compassion!

After the lecture in their big sunny yoga room, we moved to their on-site kitchen where we observed the making of Mung dal, veg Sabji, Upama, coconut chutney, endive salad, and halva. It was hard to wait so long, but once all this was prepared we were served a healthy portion. The menu was not vegan and they use ghee in most of the recipes but I was touched that the instructor very kindly used olive oil instead for me. I had to pass on the chutney and halva as they contained dairy.
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I had the feeling this yoga studio took their practice and dedication to health very seriously and unlike any studio I’ve ever visited they prepare and serve vegetarian lunch for their students daily. A full meal is 7.50, just soup for 2.50 and they offer really delicious looking Indian vegan cakes for 2.50. I didn’t try these cakes but they looked so good, I’ll have to go back! Not everything is vegan though so you may want to call ahead before stopping by.

(Check their schedule of ongoing cooking classes.)

Centre Sivananda de Yoga Vedanta
140, rue du fbg Saint Martin, 75010
Métro: Gare de L’Est
01 40 26 77 49

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Although it is no London, there are plenty of Indian restaurants in Paris. My favorite has to be Krishna Bhavan, located in the Little Jaffna neighborhood between Gare du Nord and La Chapelle which is home to the city’s Tamil population.

It is said that Tamils consider serving food as a service to humanity, and it shows in the warmth of service you get at this 100% vegetarian restaurant. When you tell your server that you need non-dairy food they will try to make anything on their menu vegan for you. Last night our lovely, English-speaking waitress even went out of her way to reemphasize that everything she was serving us was vegan.

And she served us plenty, because the combination of low, low prices and delicious, delicious food is a deadly one. Last night we started with banana pakoras, which were plantain-like and savory. Samosas were next, in a philo-style pastry followed by idlis. I almost never see idlis over here so I had to order them and they were lovely with their curry and chutney accompaniments. The highlight was the finale of masala dosas: massive, deliciously crispy, potato stuffed lentil-flour pancakes. With my cardamom tea, I was very happy.

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There is even more good stuff on the menu, although the one on their site is slightly different than the one they are actually serving at the moment. And if you are not in the mood for a restaurant meal, they serve the same food across the street at their take-out branch. Also in Little Jaffna you can explore the various grocery stores, boutiques, veg-friendly restaurants and cd emporiums in the bustling and welcoming community.

Pros: Vegan friendly, cheap and very welcoming
Cons: No beer

Krishna-Bhavan
24, Rue Cail, 75010
Métro: La Chapelle
01 42 05 78 43

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