There was a part of me that didn’t even want to go to Paris. To be surrounded by all that delicious looking pastry and not be able to eat it because I have Celiac disease (I can’t eat gluten if you haven’t heard of it yet) sounded like torture. Of course, one must go to Paris, and I was glad I did. Apart from turning out to be one of my favourite cities in the world so far, my wife – who is also Celiac – and I had no problem finding gluten-free goodies. In fact, most of what I remember of Paris is the food.
General Tips for Eating Gluten-Free in Paris
Street food is one of Paris’ most popular – and affordable – options, but whether you’re Celiac like me or just trying to cut down on the gluten in your diet, you don’t need to leave out this Parisian staple. If you’re halfway between the Louvre and the Musée Dorsé and feeling peckish, you can always pick up the quintessential macaron. Macarons are inherently gluten-free being made from almond flour (though if you’re Celiac, always double-check the ingredients).
Another option for a quick eat that is easily available on nearly every busy street are crêpes. There are two types of crepe batters in Paris – the batter for ‘crêpes’ which tends to contain gluten, and the batter for ‘galettes’ which is typically made from buckwheat flour. You can ask for your ‘crêpe’ to made with the ‘galette’ batter at any place that offers both on their menu (be careful about cross-contamination and ask to have the griddle cleaned if you are celiac).
As always, grocery stores can be a fun way to explore new foods and save a bit of money.
Gluten-Free Cafes, Bakeries & Restaurants in Paris
My absolute favourite place for gluten-free pastries was Helmut Newcake (28 Rue Vignon). I would seriously go back to Paris just for their salted caramel eclairs. My wife and I must have eaten at least a dozen of their gloriously sinful cream-filled desserts.
For delicious Parisian-style breads, visit Chambelland (14 Rue Ternaux). Not only did they have a great selection of different types of breads, but they also offered pre-made sandwiches. It’s a small and busy space, so getting a seat may be tricky, but it’s worth going out of your way to try their baguettes.
Biosphere Café is a little organic and gluten-free eatery downtown (47 Rue de Laborde). They have a selection of both sweet and savoury foods and, according to their website, were the first café of its kind in Paris. I had a breakfast crepe here with cheese and eggs which was quite good, and it was nice to get something besides eclairs into my stomach. It was nice to find an organic option, although I didn’t find their menu to have overly exciting options.
If you’re looking to treat yourself, Noglu (16 Passage des Panoramas) is a full-service gluten-free restaurant. This was the place we chose for our nice meal out and we had a wonderful night. We showed up to a nearly full restaurant but managed to get a table even without a reservation. Both the food and the service were impeccable. A three course meal will cost you about €20, but it is money well spent. You can choose from soup or salad to start, then one of three or four main courses, and of course finish with your choice of dessert. They also have a selection of ciders and two of their three locations also have a bakery (note the bakeries close before the restaurants open for dinner).
Thank You My Deer (112 Rue Saint Maur) sells gluten-free baking mixes and has a coffee shop serving sweet and savoury snacks safe for those with Celiac disease. They make gluten-free bread the way it should be – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They also have several dairy-free and vegan options.
One of the foods I miss most on a gluten-free diet is waffles. In Paris, you can find a gluten-free waffle (also vegan options) topped with all sorts of things at the popular Yummy & Guiltfree (3 Rue du Temple & Hall 3, Gare de Lyon). Whether you want lunch or dessert, you will find something here to fill your stomach.
If you’re gluten-free, you probably enjoy a good cider. The north of France, particularly Normandy, is where cider apples are grown. Breizh Café (109 Rue Vieille du Temple) has a great selection of bottles to buy at reasonable prices. We stumbled on this place after dinner so we didn’t try the food, but
they do have gluten-free crepes that looked delectable.
Pomze Restaurant (109 Boulevard Haussmann) is another place with a great selection of ciders. Again, we didn’t eat here, but you will want to when you see the pictures on their website.
We only had two days in Paris, but did our best to explore the gluten-free cuisine this city had to offer. We can’t wait to go back and find some other gluten-free gems (and eat a bunch more eclairs…).
Do you have a favourite gluten-free spot in Paris? Please share!
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