Gluten Free Paris
Oh Paris! City of Light, City of Love, City of croissants, crepês, and pastries! You had me at bonjour. Your museums, architecture, art, fashion, and food, are unparalleled. There is a magic in the air, and it’s intoxicating.
Of all Paris has to offer, the food is the fastest way to my heart. Give me a perfect crème brûlée and I’ll give you my underwear. But what’s a gluten free-er to do in the land of baguettes!? I wondered if I could eat my way through this magnificent city, without compromising my culinary experience, and more importantly, without experiencing explosive diarrhea. Not très chic.
The answer is oui! Paris does offer some excellent options for those who do not partake in the gluten eating. The Vibrant Beets’ Gluten-Free Paris roundup offers suggestions on how to experience Paris by way of mouth, without experiencing it by way of frantic “runs” to the bathroom.
Aux Verres de Contact 52 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 $$
This gem off Boulevard St.-Germain serves lunch and dinner. Gluten-free foodies rejoice, their menu lists items that are, or can be made, gluten-free. No second guessing here! Of all the restaurants in Paris, this is the only one we could not resist returning to.
Buvette 28 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 $$
Chef Jody Williams brings her Manhattan hit to Paris. And guess what? It’s a hit here too! Located in the Pigalle neighborhood, Buvette is open every day, all day, until midnight. GF buyer beware, essentially all of their dishes are served on top of a crostini. A gluten-filled crostini. We ordered everything “sans gluten” and our waiter looked at us like we were aliens. But then the food came. It was heavenly. And we made friends with our waiter! Don’t miss the chocolate mousse. Seriously.
Café Laurent 3 Rue Dauphine, 75006 $$$
Café Laurent offers live jazz Wednesday-Saturday in an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere. It is drenched in history, having hosted the likes of Voltaire, Rousseau, and Sartre. AND! They serve their caviar with gluten-free crackers. Boom.
La Fromagerie Cler 31 Rue Cler, 75007 $$
Located on Julia Child’s favorite shopping street in Paris, you will smell La Fromagerie before seeing it. If you are super sensitive, skip the blue cheeses. Some cheese makers use bacterial strains grown on rye, malt or wheat-based dextrose to create their cheese. But don’t worry. You are safe in the arms of this truffle Camembert with mascarpone in the middle.
Chez Julien 1 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004 $$$
Although not targeted to GF at all, there are plenty of amazing options from Chez Julien. My fish entrée came with quinoa, and my tomato salad with a soft boiled egg was so delicious that I didn’t mind skipping the sexy-looking baguette that preceded it. Big bonus, their french fries are gluten-free! There is no cross contamination in the oil they use. Sit outside, on the side, if you can.
Fish La Boissonnerie 69 Rue de Seine, 75006 $$
Set in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Fish La Boissonnerie, is one of my faves. With a menu that changes daily, there are plenty of dishes that are inherently gluten-free. Ask the friendly wait staff to be sure, and they will happily ask the chef!
Helmut Newcake 36 Rue Bichat, 75010 $
Sweet gluten-free jesus! If you thought you could not partake in some of the city’s more refined pastries, think again. This bakery is 100% gluten-free. They also serve lunch, and brunch on Sundays from 12n-3p. Try everything. You can’t go wrong, but make sure to include the The Madame de Fontenay with salted caramel. You are welcome.
L’epi Dupin 11 Rue Dupin, 75006 $$$
This popular spot is bustling, and for a very good reason. Tiny and charming, Chef Francois Pastea brings creative, local, and sustainable fare to the table that will knock your socks off. Literally. I left without socks. Though not specifically gluten-free, your server will walk you through what to steer clear of. If it’s available, do not miss the cauliflower soup with coconut milk.
La Cabane Opium 44 Rue Dauphine, 75006 $$
Thank heavens oysters are gluten-free. I am an incredible oyster snob. East Coast 4-lyfe. But these outstanding bivalves rivaled any of my East Coast favorites. Get a bottle of Sancerre or Champagne and buckle up. You're headed to oyster paradise.
La Durée multiple locations $$$
The mecca for macarons, La Durée, is not to be missed. It’s locations are ornately elegant and add even more to the experience. La Durée states that they do not use flour, nor any other raw material containing gluten in their macarons. However, those who are particularly sensitive should be warned that some of their providers specify on the ingredient technical delivery notice that the ingredients can contain traces of gluten. That said, I ate 6 of them with no signs of a disgruntled gut!
Les Botanistes 11 Rue Chomel, 75007 $$$
If you are looking for quintessential Parisian atmosphere, Les Botanistes is your spot. The open kitchen serves up fresh and seasonal produce with some of the friendliest service we had in the city. The chalkboard menu is changed daily but offers plenty of gluten-free options. Like most Parsian restaurants, they serve a pre-meal baguette, but fear not, you don't just have to stare at your friends while they eat it. They also serve a delcious dish of warm olives!
Little Breizh 11 Rue Grégoire de Tours, 75006 $$
This friendly Breton cafe is THE place to go for buckwheat crepês, or, as the French say, galettes de blé noir. Buckwheat flour is naturally gluten-free and used in many savory french crêpes. With options galore, don’t be afraid to ask for a sweet dessert crêpe on a galette as well! Added bonus, get a hard cider with that galette, it’s also gluten-free!
Noglu 16 Passage des Panoramas, 75002 $$
Located in the beautiful Passage des Panoramas, Noglu is a restaurant/bakery that is 100% gluten-free! No cross contamination worries here! It will be one of the only times while dining out in Paris that you can partake in bread before the meal. Just save room because the food is spectacular. They also offer many lactose-free dishes as well and have a “to-go” style cafe across the way where you can get delicious sandwiches and amazing pastries!
Spring 6 Rue Bailleul, 75001 $$$$
If you can get a reservation here, which is no easy feat, go. Go immediately. There is no written menu. You simply let them know ahead of time what you can’t eat or don’t like and they will custom-build you a menu that is pure perfection. We started with warm, GF dinner rolls with lots and lots of butter. Then we had more warm rolls with butter. And finally, more warm rolls with butter. We were in heaven before the meal even began. Every course was masterful. If you can, get the wine tasting with dinner.
Le Potager du Marais 24 Rue Rambuteau, 75003 Paris $$
The truth is, we only went here because our vegan friend from LA was visiting. I would normally consider it sacrilegious to eat vegan in Paris, but I suppose many would say the same about eating gluten-free in Paris! So on we went. It was no fine French cuisine, but it was really solid vegan food that had lots and lots of gluten-free options, which were easily noted on the menu. And frankly, my system thanked me for taking a break from cheese and cream.
Cook at Home! where the heart is... $
Perhaps the most inexpensive way to dine in Paris is to cook in! Assuming you have an apartment with a kitchen, this can be a wonderful way to experience the city. Visit stores like Monoprix, Naturalia, and Le Grand Épicere, which have specific, gluten-free, sections labeled “Sans Gluten”. Look for brands like Schar, Gerblé, Valpiform, and BiAglut. Otherwise, enjoy all the magnificent fresh produce, and delicious dairy products that Paris has to offer.
Even with all these tips, there are many other options out there just waiting to be discovered. Click this link for a Gluten-Free Passport and carry this card around to help you with need-to-know phrases that will keep gluten off your plate.