Gastronomy is at the very heart of french culture and tradition. Eating is a social event and the french will take their time, to savour and share, discussing not only about the meal, but also what the next meal will bring. It's a convial time spent, sat around the table, with friends and family.
The tradition goes back centuries and the knowledge and recipes are passed down through the generations.
Due to the great climate, meals are often eaten outside, in the garden, or on the terrace of a bistro, where you can hide from the midday sun and watch the world pass by.
Each region has its own local cuisine and there are several dishes for vegans. Ratatouille from the south, is a stew of aubergines, courgette and peppers in a tomato sauce. Socca is a traditional dish from Nice, essentially a large chickpea pancake. Salads can be made easily from only vegetables. The provence area in the south is known for it's olive oil, with it's rich deliciouis aroma. You can visit the city of Dijon, famous for it's mustard. The Champagne region is a short journey from Paris and there are guided visits of the cellars where they explain how the each bottle is turned by hand each day.
In Paris today there are around 50 vegan restaurants, whereas just a few years ago there were none. The awareness has been fueled largely by the various activism groups, such as L214. They have infiltrated and filmed the reality of what goes on inside abatoirs. Leading meat producers such as Charal, have been hurt and have turned to massive advertising campagnes as has the dairy industry.
Vegan protesters have been BRANDED with red hot irons in an extreme demonstration demanding an end to the meat industry in France.
All generations are questioning their eating habits, but the young in particular are flocking to the vegan lifestyle and ideal. Thre are several social groups organising meetups, for discussing and sharing recipes.
Animals and nature
France is a great nation of dog lovers, with around 7.4 million, there are also many cat owners. For wildlife enthusiasts, France has a wonderful diverse rural landscape, due largely to the small scale farming methods.
It is possible to find wild boar, chamoix, martens, red squirrels, peregrine falcons and hen harriers, which are all protected.
There are many national parks, where wildlife thrives and some species have been reintroduced.