Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gluten Free Travel Paris ~ Links, Tips, & Information

Paris, celiac boy
Originally uploaded by justmakeit
(Important: I wrote this post before I went to Paris. All of the text in blue are my comments after my trip.So far this is the most comprehensive guide to Paris gluten free on the internet. There are links to many other individual's experiences and posts. If you find something I didn't include here, or you wrote your own post about your trip to Paris, please let me know and I will add your link.)

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 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

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!


K Allrich said...

What a fabulous round-up! Have a great trip! xox Bon voyage.

Mrs. G.F. said...

Thanks was lovely.
Glad to be back...and I will be stopping over to check out what is going on with you..if I recall correctly, before I left you had some news coming????

I am so curious!!!


Anonymous said...

Just read you post on celiac chicks - we love to travel gluten free as well. This past summer we went to Ireland and ate like kings and queens! We have been wanting to try Paris - now I am even more excited about it. Thank you for doing all of this research and even more thanks for sharing it!!! You really have given everyone a great start on Paris. btw - I am linking you to my blog.

Mrs. G.F. said...

Jamie ~ I went to Ireland as well, gluten free, did you post any information on it? I have a post on my trip, I would link it to yours too if you had one.

Thanks. What I found on Paris took me a long time to dig up. Hopefully, it won't take others as long now. I can't wait to go back and find out more, I think Paris has so much to offer. I didn't even get into the cheese while I was there!


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Budget Hotels Frankfurt said...

Instead of going by pulic transport consider buying a special tour bus ticket. These tour busses connect all the special sites and you can get off at a site, stay as long as you want and hop on another bus to continue your sightseeing tour. The ticket is valid for the whole day. A great solution for tourists.

Anonymous said...

We were able to dine at Des Si & Des Mets and it was fabulous. We dined there twice as my daughter has Celiac disease. We spent 23 days in France in April 2010 (thanks to the Iceland volcano) and we were able to find many GF options at Naturalia (a wonderful natural food store) and many of the cafes were able to accommodate us. Highly recommend Des Si & Des Mets - great food and people - a bit out of the way depending on where you are staying, but an easy ride on the metro.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am in Paris at the moment, and it is a little like Jekyll and Hyde! The staff at Laduree assure me that the macarons contain 'farine de ble' - that is wheat flour. So a little disappointing there.

However, sarassin crepes on Ile St Louis (I think it would be worth asking anywhere selling crepes) were absolutely divine.

Most waiters are wonderful and helpful, although the horrible man at Chez Denise last night told me he was 'too busy to read' anything regarding any allergies.

But, all is not lost! Berthillon icecreams are gluten free - I even spoke to the lovely man wearing Wellington boots and a white coat!
Au revoir!

Chris said...

We're visiting Paris right now and your blog has been extremely useful to me just in the few days I've been here - so thank you! I wish i knew about your books 2 weeks ago. I've actually found that your French translation for 'I'm sorry but I'm allergic to gluten' has got me very far with the restaurants in Paris. "sans gluten" is also very very useful. I've been able to use these phrases quite successfully and I've found the restaurants and cafe's to be very friendly and as accommodating as possible. Also, utilizing the concierge is a fantastic tip. Ours called ahead, made dinner reservations, translated for us - it was the most helpful and useful thing we did. As a novice traveler and celiac, I was a bit intimidated coming to Paris but this experience has been much better than I expected in part due to your help. We head to Italy for a week so i'll be looking at your blog for that as well - thanks again.

Raeshel said...

Attention all gluten free readers: I have a trip planned to Paris in November and I called to book a reservation at Des si et des mets restaurant as recommended. The owner answered and asked me if I wanted to come in November as she is closing Des si et des mets at the end of this month(October 2011). Thought I would write to let everyone know. I am so disappointed, I can't believe it...

tas72nc said...

Can you tell me what the translation is for 'I'm sorry but I'm allergic to gluten' that I saw someone posted that you have...

Many thanks in advance. I'm traveling in a few months to Paris and I'm a little nervous since I have Celiac. Just starting my research now.

Anonymous said...

God bless you both as you continue in your new life which was so cruelly given to you two years ago
Hope to see you both at a circuit soon this second

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be ok.
I'm absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

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