NICE, France — For Charlotte Jurville becoming vegan wasn’t about following a trend or trying to be different. She was sick.
She suffered strong headaches and stomach pain. After visits to many doctors, she still didn’t know the cause or the cure for her illness.
At the age of 15, the high school student decided to take matters into her own hands. She began to take meat, eggs and milk out of her diet. Soon the headaches faded, and the stomach pain went away.
Her answer was finally in front of her — becoming vegan.
Seeing a change in her daughter’s health, Laurence Jurville decided to follow suit.
“I’m becoming vegan because of my daughter who is now,” Laurence Jurville said.
As her health improved, Charlotte Jurville began to think about someday opening and owning a vegan shop of some kind. It was something her mom was willing to help her with.
Laurence Jurville already had a location in mind.
They had moved from Paris to Nice two years ago, wanting a change of pace. They opened one men’s clothing store and one women’s clothing store on Nice’s Boulevard Gambetta.
It wouldn’t take them long to close the women’s clothing store and open a gelato shop in the same location.
This mother and daughter team opened Paradis des Glaces on June 21, after a week of renovation to the women’s clothing store. At age 17, Charlotte Jurville’s dream was now reality.
When Laurence Jurville closed the women’s clothing store, she kept it to herself what kind of store she would be opening. Her loyal customers had no idea what was coming.
“That’s why all the people say ‘Ah’ — because I didn’t tell anyone!” Laurence Jurville said.
Laurence and Charlotte Jurville work seven days a week with varying hours. Their smiling faces welcome anyone that passes by the shop with its bright pink-and-green facade.
There are 14 different flavors, and all but three are vegan. The flavors range from chocolate and Snickers to mango and pistachio.
Jurville is very happy with how business has been so far, and she hopes that it continues to grow. She believes that people are coming because it is different.
She doesn’t make the gelato, it comes from Gelato di Natura out of Venizia, Italy.
“We have produced ice cream since 1982,” the company website says. “Ours is a homemade ice cream that takes account of new lifestyles, particularly sensitive to a healthy balanced diet.”
Every day new flavors from Italy arrive at Paradis des Glaces. And every day there are new people who stop by to try it.
“Most of them test and like it, some don’t,” Jurville said.
According to raw-food-health.net, approximately 2 percent of the French population is vegetarian. Vegetarian is “a person who does not eat meat of fish and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious or health reasons.”
A vegan is “a person who does not eat or use animal products.” That means we have to take that 2 percent and make it a little slimmer to get an idea of how many people are actually vegans in France. But you couldn’t prove that at Paradis des Glaces by the number of people outside the shop everyday.
One afternoon, an Italian woman Isabel Cabaanp, tired from walking under the sun and traveling all day, stopped at Paradis des Glaces looking to take a break with a cool treat.
“The lemon is natural.” Cabaanp said about her selection.
However, the prices differ. In Italy, she said vegan gelato costs 2 euros and at Paradis des Glaces one scoop of gelato costs 3 euros.
“It’s really expensive,” Cabaanp said. But it was cooling, and new to Nice.
It appears that vegans aren’t the only customers who have discovered the shop.
Martin Andresen, a Norwegian tourist who was staying nearby, was only looking for a cool snack one hot afternoon.
“I didn’t know it was vegan,” Andresen said, as he licked away at his framboise cone.
“At first I thought it was like a sorbet, because it doesn’t taste like normal ice cream,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s good.”
His verdict on vegan gelato?
“I’m definitely coming back.”