Irek and I recently spent 2 weeks in France and we divided our time between Paris, Nice and Cannes. We originally planned to spend some time in Monaco as well, but the trip ended up being quite hectic so we figured it was best to do Monaco next year.
Coming from my vegan bubble in Vancouver, I was quite disappointed and discouraged to discover how lacking the country is when it comes to plant-based options (call me ignorant / naive – going into the trip, I was both). Now, when I say my ‘vegan bubble’, what I mean is that Vancouver is super progressive in terms of the acceptance and continual growth of people leading fully plant-based, cruelty-free lives. There are tons and tons of vegan and vegetarian restaurants all around Metro-Vancouver as well as the outskirts. Vancouver actually ranks in the top 3 cities of the world in regards to the amount of vegan restaurants we have…
I will clarify that in Paris you can definitely find vegan restaurants – they exist and they’re lovely. But if you simply walk down of the streets of Paris and look on the menus for vegetarian options (nevermind vegan) you will find basically none. This happened to Irek and I multiple times, and in all 3 cities we visited.
When we arrived in Nice after our time in Paris, we did some research and found a few nice vegan places but one of the locals actually told me that in the entire city of Nice there are only 4 fully vegan restaurants! And then, there’s Cannes… Not even one single vegan restaurant – not one. Supposedly veganism is picking up a bit in Nice now, and 2 more vegan restaurants opened within the last year, so there is hope. But I think the entire trip opened our eyes to the fact that animals will continue to be exploited and treated as commodities for years and years to come. The fire in me to continue the fight for animal justice has only grown and I will continue to spread the vegan message and educate whomever will listen.
Irek and I now realize that veganism truly is a generational thing. It’s up to us to ensure that our kids, and their kids, understand that there is no room for violence or for this idea that animals belong to us… All life deserves freedom. It’s so absurd to me that we continue to hold animals hostage and believe that it’s our right to choose when it’s their time to die. We will never find peace through this mentality.
I know a lot of you who read this blog are vegan – and I truly thank you for your courage to stand up and do the right thing regardless of how you’ve been raised, or what people think of you. Veganism is not a radical idea – what’s radical is killing beautiful, innocent souls simply so you can please your tastebuds.
On our very last day in the country, Irek and I were heading to grab lunch at Le Speakeasy (the first vegan restaurant to exist in Nice) and we happened to walk right into the middle of a vegan protest (peaceful of course but strong and intense). I felt like the universe put me there – for some reason we happened to walk on that exact street, during the exact half hour that it was taking place… It gave me hope and tears welled up. These beautiful people (young and old) all came together to show their support for the animals; to band together as a community who will NOT stand for violence anymore. That moment changed me, it restored my faith in humanity and I know I am not alone.
The road to a peaceful world will be a long and painful one… The worst part is that until we reach the point where plant-based diets are all that exist, so many more lives will be lost and so many will continue to suffer. It’s not fair, it’s cruel and it’s vicious. But we have to continue to spread the word, and ensure we raise our kids to understand right from wrong. I will always have hope, for like the Dalai Lama XIV once said “There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope that’s our real disaster”.
Thanks for reading… and if you’re still eating animal products, here are two resources that were so impactful in my journey to veganism. I ate meat, eggs and dairy once too but when I learnt the truth, I changed. You can too. 🙂
YouTube – “Best Speech You Will Ever Hear” by Gary Yourofsky
Cowspiracy – you can download for $5.00 here: www.cowspiracy.com
All the best,
Ps. At some point this summer I will put together a post that goes into depth on my personal vegan journey – what made me go vegan, the initial transformation to fully plant-based living, educational resources that affected me deeply, etc. Chat soon!
“Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: we are burial places! I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they look on the murder of men.”
– Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519)