I found this photo on flickr. It is a man with celiac, and we all know what he's looking at and wishing. I love this picture. It encapsulates one half of me as a celiac.
We all talk about how great food is as gluten free eaters, and I agree with that. I always sigh a bit when I leave home, knowing that I can't travel as carefree as I once did. So now, travel is a bit hard and sometimes bittersweet. We can't be as free as we would like, and we (at least me) take hours and hours to research gluten free eating, so we know what to expect and to bring.
When I look at this picture, I see a story, part of my story. He took a moment to let himself feel, to be sad about what he can't have. When he walked away, he was back to life, done with that moment of mourning. Maybe I will do the same thing. Take that moment, feel it, then turn around, smile at my husband, then trot down the street to find a delicious macaron to eat with my espresso.
(I was totally able to do this. I looked at the bakeries, and the pastries, smelled the bread and had absolutely no problem!! I did not feel like I was missing out.)
Hopefully the links below will help you smile and travel as carefree as we can.
I have gotten a few emails about others who are heading to the City of Lights ~ Paris, gluten free, and thought I should share a couple of other things I have found out that I will be trying.
Des si et des mets ~ The first totally gluten free restaurant in Paris. I emailed the owner and it will not be open in time for me to try it, I go to Paris on Sunday, the 19th, and leave the day of the opening, Oct. 24th. If you are going to Paris, and get to try it, please come back and leave a comment so we all know how it was!!
(This restaurant is now open. The owner emailed me. I was home, so I never got to try it out. Leave a comment and let us know how it was if you go!)
Cojean ~ From what I have read, this food is yummy, fast, and a bit cheaper than a typical long Parisian lunch. Made fresh daily, with fresh ingredients, Cojean seems to have developed quite a following. As celiacs, we can't grab the crepe or have a croissant on the go, as we know. Cojean does have paninis and other bread like products.
But after emailing, and getting a quick response back from the vice-president, Frédéric Maquair, I found out that the 4 soups that they serve daily are gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian. I quote, "None of our soups contains gluten.
They contain only fresh vegetables and soy cream."
Some salads do have croutons, but are clearly labeled, often they use yummy crunchy things on top of their salads like hazelnuts. Check out their website to get an idea about the menu. I am marking all 6 locations on my map.
(We did stop in here. There was a location right across one end of the Louvre, great to stop in for lunch before entering. They had about 6 salads I could eat, and this location had 2 soups, and I was able to taste them before I chose. Very good, and fresh.)
Pastries ~ Macarons ~ These are not of the coconut variety we have here. These are colorful, magnificently crafted, flavorful hand-held treats. There are so many devotees to this sweet, they have all made me so excited to go, and wait in line for the 20 minutes just to get in the door. Google "Paris Macaron" and you will start to see the impact of these confections. These have cropped up in so many of my searches, I can hardly wait to go to Pierre Herme and Laduree to eat these with a coffee. They are naturally gluten free, being made with almond flour, egg whites, and sugar. I will double-check the fillings though. (Check out this blog post for some great pictures and history of macarons.)
(I loved tasting the Pierre Herme macarons, they definitely tasted ...fancy. The white truffle one had such an interesting combination of flavors. The shop felt very boutique and high-end, 7 macarons cost 16 euros. It was worth the experience though. I will definitely say that I am in the Laduree camp. I preferred their macarons, and the lovely tea room. It all felt so pretty, and not so stiff. It was a bit cheaper, not much, if that matters. )
One of the best write ups I found was on delphi forums, and I can't even remember how I found it, but after changing my search terms, I finally did. An eloquent woman by the name Allison wrote up a long and detailed post, with contact information and tips. She was there for a week in March 2008. Read Allison's post to get some great information.
I wrote a guest post about my trip at the CeliacChicks website. Read Gluten Free Guide: Gluten Free Trip to Paris post for my trip tips after I got back from Paris. There is a lot of information there that I did not post here.
David Lebovitz, although not celiac, lives in Paris, and has a great blog. He did a wonderful post about galettes de blé noir, otherwise known as buckwheat crepes. Gluten free crepes. I plan on checking this out and hopefully this means I can have a crepe in Paris. This one feels like a judgement call, as far as how these are prepared, for cross-contact and all. I hope it works out!! He also did a great write up on being gluten free in Paris. I already linked to his blog in a past post but wanted to include him in this more comprehensive list. Go check out David's gluten free tips.
( I did not get a chance to try these crepes out. I was looking forward to it, but it was quite a journey to get to some places that served buckwheat crepes, so I cut that part out. If you try them, and they work for gluten free eaters...leave a comment and let us know how it worked out!)
A partial list of natural food stores that sell gluten free products, check out Paris Pages by Mariev . She also has an address for "non-industrial gluten free bread".
( I went to one natural store to grab a snack. I bought chocolate croissants.m I think they would be fine if they were warmed up, but they tasted horrible at room temperature. I never bothered with other gluten free products.)
The Celiac Handbook website has a section for gluten free in France. There are restaurants listed with links there..just scroll down to Paris.
A new blogger ,at least to me, I had not seen before my Paris research, Ms. Glaze of Pommes d'Amour, she does a review of her favorite restaurants. Slide down to the comments and she responds to a question about which of those restaurants would work for a gluten free eater. She gives some good tips in there.
Catherine, from A Gluten Free Guide shared her tips from her trip to Paris.
From the Celiac.com forum, member Floridanative and Tanyad gave the restaurants that worked for them in 2006. Be aware, some of these place may have changed owners, or may not be there still.
Living Without Magazine Article ~ This is a lovely story about a woman's gluten-free experience in Paris.
A soup cart, Hotel Patheon Jeanne d'Arc in the 15th arr., there they can inform you if which soups are gluten free, dairy free etc...
The French Association of Gluten Intolerance website ~ To be quite honest, I barely looked at this site.
It is also worthwhile to check out the forums at Tripadvisor, Frommers, and Lonely Planet for current information. There are conversations in those forums about gluten free travel. Also, check out the message boards at Celiac.com.
Also, change your searches around. Don't forget to search "sans gluten", that is how it is written in French. I got so many new sites by changing just a word or two.
These aren't Paris, but it's France, and I had to include them somewhere since I found them.
Gluten Free Lodging in France ~
One a bed and breakfast type of place I think, and it does serve dinner as well, in the country-side of France in Jarnac. It is called La Belle Demuere and it might be worth a visit if you are heading that way.
Chateau de Villars ~ we offer Full Board ‘Gluten Free’ holidays in a friendly & casual environment. Nine acres of Tranquility and Beauty In The Heart Of The Perigord, Dordogne, South West France. Be inspired by the idyllic scenery and relaxed lifestyle.
Cheers!! & Bon Voyage!