But as incredible as my food experiences were in Paris, it is not the most “gluten-free friendly” place to visit. The perfume of fresh baked goods was intoxicating. The bakeries lining the streets with fresh croissants and baguettes seemed to be mocking me. Even I had a hard time keeping a positive attitude amidst the constant reminder of all I couldn’t have.
Luckily my friend and hostess Katie did everything in her power to make the weekend a fun gluten-free travel adventure. She read the French Celiac disease site before I arrived. She set up a dinner party at her place and invited Axel and Valerie, another gluten-free couple. She wanted to experiment in the kitchen with me – resulting in a decadent gluten-free French apple pie.
While France is still not as gluten aware as I found Italy to be, you can still have a fun time with a little bit of research and a good attitude. There is so much to see and do – just try to put blinders on as you pass by all of the bakeries. Here are a few tips and resources for a delicious gluten-free trip to Paris.
Bring a stack of gluten-free travel cards in French – even if you speak the language it’s a handy way for the server to communicate your needs to the chef.
Stick to simple dishes in restaurants – the wine, cheese and sausage I had in Paris was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. For something lighter, salads, omelets and vegetable dishes can usually be prepared safely if you check with your server
Don’t eat out every meal – Instead, visit the grocery store – for regular food and specialty gluten-free products. Naturalia and La Vie Claire are great sources for gluten-free breads, crackers, flours, cookies, etc. Even bigger, mainstream stores such as Monoprix and Casino sometimes have gluten-free products. Katie and I both loved the Valpiform gluten-free Madeleines.
Visit the outdoor markets – I loved exploring the Parisian markets with Katie. We found a great artisanal sausage stand and selected one made with wine and another made with figs. I would have never thought that figs would make a good addition – but the texture and flavor was remarkable!
The owner of this stand told us that lesser quality sausage makers with dust the outside with flour to get the texture of the ‘real’ product. Sure enough when I was in the grocery store, half of the packages listed wheat flour as an ingredient – so again, always read and ask before assuming it’s safe!
Find a gluten-free friendly restaurant – If you tire of the plain dishes or just want a break from the grocery store, make a special trip to a restaurant that understand gluten-free. At the time of my visit there weren’t too many options, but Japanese and vegetarian restaurants were frequently recommended. Guenmai in the 6th arrondissement came up in multiple conversations though I didn’t get a chance to visit.
Try not to focus on the food – You are in Paris!! Really now, enjoy yourself! With sights like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Mona Lisa, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, and Versailles, just to start – who needs a croissant?
And if you have any tips – please share!Tweet Pin It
Is there a restaurant or bakery you want me to check-out? A product you want me to review? Any other questions or feedback?
glutenguide at gmail [dot] com