Mooch around the food market, cycle around the lake or along the canals, sip on an oat milk coffee down a quiet street in la vieille ville (the old town) and feast on wholesome plant-based grub at one of the city’s vegan restaurants (yes, there’s more than one!)
Discover what to do, where to eat and how to ask for vegan food in my vegan guide to Annecy.
Why this vegan guide to Annecy?
Besides being the only one that appears on Google (at the time of writing)…
I’ve been there! I visited Annecy whilst housesitting in the east of France.
And, being the sort of curious and intrepid vegan that I am, I investigated Annecy until I uncovered some of the best activities and food hotspots suitable for other plant-based explorers.
Useful vegan phrases in French
I’m going to be honest, being vegan in France is not very easy. Compared to many countries (and believe me, I’ve been to a fair few), it can be difficult to find plant-based options, particularly since many places don’t seem to differentiate between pescetarian, vegetarian and vegan.
Learning some French vegan phrases will really help you out!
I’ve included a few essential ones here but check out these French vegan phrases for a more comprehensive vocabulary.
I am vegan
Je suis vegan/e (male/female)
Excuse me, do you have any vegan options?
Excusez-moi, avez vous des plats vegans?
Excuse me, do you have any plant-based milk?
Excusez-moi, avez vous du lait végétal?
Quick tip: If you’re scared about speaking French, or if you’re pronunciation’s not great, print out our phrases to show to people!
Attitudes to vegan diets in Annecy/France
It’s getting better. Whilst many people will still dismiss you as soon as you ask for vegan options, many others are incredibly helpful.
There’s a growing vegan scene in Annecy, with a few vegan-friendly and 100% vegan restaurants now available. Many of the sellers I spoke to (in very broken French) at the old town food market were very accommodating and did their best to determine whether or not they offered a vegan option. Having said that, others just outright said they had nothing, when I knew they probably had a loaf of sourdough that didn’t contain animal products.
Eating out as a vegan in Annecy
It may take a bit of extra effort to find vegan options in Annecy but there are still plenty of delicious and satisfying meals and snacks to choose from.
Vegan sweet baked goods are the only things lacking in Annecy, particularly those you would associate with France (e.g. croissants, pain au chocolat, etc.). Unfortunately, none of the bakeries I went to offered any vegan options aside from bread and the vegan restaurants only served the usual brownie and cookie-based goods, which were delicious nonetheless! But I was really hoping to tuck into a plant-based croissant to go with my oat milk cappuccino!
The following are some examples of where you can eat out as a vegan in Annecy, including fully plant-based/vegetarian establishments, vegan-friendly restaurants, cafes and food stalls at the thrice-weekly street food market.
Vegan & vegetarian restaurants in Annecy
Granny Smith (vegan)
One great option for vegan food in Annecy is Granny Smith. A cosy yet vibrant restaurant offering organic and locally-sourced vegan food. Everything is made on-site with efforts to reduce food waste. Their menu changes daily but you can be sure to find plenty of healthy dishes, including raw and cooked options.
Plus, they have a great selection of vegan pastries and desserts!
Just be sure to book ahead, particularly during the holiday season…it’s a popular place and it can be difficult to get a table!
Kia Ora (vegetarian)
Another option is Kia Ora, a small vegetarian restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whilst they do serve egg and dairy-based meals, they also offer a vegan option for each dish. What’s more, all of their pastries and desserts are vegan. If you’re lucky, they will have made a fresh batch of jam-filled doughnuts for your arrival!
Greenpoint Burgers (vegan)
Many of the French vegan restaurants I’ve been to seem to follow the healthy-living concept, focusing on locally-grown, organic, wholesome foods. Which is great…but sometimes you just want a burger!
Starting off as a food truck, Greenpoint Burgers now have a vegan restaurant in Annecy with indoor and outdoor seating. They serve a range of delicious burgers (including the Beyond Meat patty), street food, homemade fries and desserts.
Other places to eat as a vegan
First of all, it’s worth noting that many French restaurants may not have specifically labelled vegan options on their menus. However, there will often be accidentally vegan options and many chefs are willing to accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences, so it’s always worth asking your server if they can make any substitutions or modifications to dishes to make them vegan.
The great thing about restaurants in France is that they usually have a menu displayed outside of the restaurant, so you can take a quick glance to see if there is anything that looks remotely vegan-friendly before asking for a table.
I didn’t stay long enough to explore anything past the vegan venues but my research has revealed that there are also a few meat-serving restaurants that offer vegan options, including:
Old town food market
Here’s a list of the vegan items I found in the food market in la vieille ville:
- Herbs and spices
- Flowers and plants
- Fresh juice (the apple and pear juices are divine!)
- Cider, beer and wine (always check)
- Fresh fruit and veg
- Mustards (watch out for special flavours, including honey/miel)
- Nuts (again, if they’re caramelised, watch out for honey)
- Tapenades (made with olives, tomatoes, etc. – watch out for parmesan)
- Lumpia and vegetable noodles – from a Filipino stand with a very friendly and helpful stall owner who spoke brilliant English
Unfortunately, you will have to walk past a few stands with cheese and meat. Both the pasta stands told me they used eggs in all of their products but it’s probably worth re-checking this if you go in the future.
Accidentally vegan foods in Annecy
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of accidentally vegan food in France.
Having said that, Provençal dishes (from the area of Provence) offer a few options that are either already vegan or can usually easily be veganised. They often feature lots of vegetables and sometimes incorporate haricot beans. I didn’t come across any during my stay in Annecy but keep your eyes open for them!
- Pistou soup – this is absolutely delicious and was served to me during an incredible Airbnb stay in Beynat. It’s a Provençal cold sauce made using a garlic, fresh basil and olive oil base (basically pesto!) with the addition of beans and vegetables (modern recipes often use hard cheeses so watch out for this).
- Croissants (most are made with butter but some supermarket brands are made using sunflower oil instead – look for ‘huile de tournesol’ instead of ‘lait’ and ‘beurre’)
- Provencal onion pizza (cheeseless pizza usually served with anchovies but you can ask for these to be excluded)
- French baguette
- And yep…salad
Discover the easily veganised & accidentally vegan foods
Shopping for vegan food in Annecy
Many of the French supermarket chains have vegan products like plant milk, soy or almond-based cream, etc. You can find some more vegan products in the bio/healthy food aisle but there are also some awesome vegan surprises dotted around the other sections.
For more specialist vegan ingredients, you’ll want to go to a bio shop or organic market. There you can find tofu, seitan, tempeh, lentils, nooch and even vegan chocolate! Biocoop and La Vie Claire are both great shops to check out.
What to do in Annecy
You mean you don’t just travel to eat all of the delicious vegan food you can find?!
Ok, ok…if you’ve had your fill, here are some other activities you should definitely do when visiting the beautiful city of Annecy:
1. Stroll through the market
Markets happen all year on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays from 7am until 1pm.
Whilst you won’t find much street food that’s suitable for vegans, the market is vibrant and well worth the visit! The fruit and veg are top quality and the smell of freshly baked bread wafts through the air.
Grab a bottle of cider or freshly squeezed apple juice or treat yourself to some natural wine from the bio wine stall. During my visit, a Filipino food stall was serving a few mouth-watering vegan options. I recommend trying the vegetable lumpia, which is reminiscent of a spring roll.
2. Explore the medieval town
Afterwards, take a leisurely stroll down the charming cobbled streets that run alongside the picturesque canals of Annecy’s medieval centre, fondly called the Venice of the Alps. The buildings in the area are breathtaking, with peeling paint hinting at a once vibrant and colourful town.
3. Take a picture of Le Palais de I'Île
Perhaps the most photographed part of Annecy, le Palais de I’Île seems to float in the middle of the river. It was originally the residence of the Lord of Annecy but was also used as a prison, a courthouse and an administrative centre. It was even a drawing school for stonemasons and carpenters at one point!
As well as being extremely instagrammable, you can visit the museum inside. For the non-French speaking amongst us, there are some signs inside with English translations (but not throughout).
4. Climb up to the Château d'Annecy
Pre-warning, I found out whilst visiting that the museum contains a fair few stuffed animals and has small aquariums in the basement. There were also basically no English signs.
Instead, I recommend checking out whatever exhibition they have on (there was a brilliant landscape photographic exhibition when I went) and admiring the view from the courtyard.
5. Cycle around the lake and gardens
Nestled in the picturesque Haute-Savoie region of France, Lake Annecy is a breathtaking natural wonder. Fed by fresh mountain springs, the lake boasts crystal-clear waters that are renowned for their purity and cleanliness. This makes it a popular destination for swimming, diving and other water sports.
One of my favourite experiences in Annecy was cycling around the edge of the lake, taking in the breathtaking mountain views along the way. On a warm day, you might even want to cool off with a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters!
If you’re looking for a more leisurely way to enjoy the scenery, there are plenty of gardens to explore, such as the picturesque Jardins de l’Europe. These lush green spaces are perfect for a relaxing picnic or a peaceful stroll.
6. Hike to the Angon waterfall
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to visit the Angon waterfall, located in Talloires on the east shore of Lake Annecy. But I seriously recommend you go, if you have the time (and energy)!
This 60-metre high waterfall can be accessed via a narrow path that runs along the side of the cliff. In addition to summertime canyoning experiences (for those brave enough to abseil), Angon waterfall offers spectacular views of the lake.
Vegan-friendly places to stay in Annecy
There are currently no vegan hotels or hostels that I know about. Instead, I recommend staying in a self-catered apartment so you can order some of those vegan takeaways I mentioned earlier!
Alternatively, check out my Trusted Housesitters review to see how you can find free accommodation (with animal companions) in or near Annecy.
If you know any vegan-friendly places to stay, please let me know so I can share them in this vegan guide to Annecy!
I’d love to hear about your experiences as a vegan in Annecy! Got any restaurant suggestions? Know any places to avoid? Or want to share your best vegan French travel story? I look forward to hearing about them in the comments below!