Gluten free dining in Paris is absolutely possible, though it does require some research and planning ahead. As awareness of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity grows globally, Paris has made great strides to accommodate special dietary needs. With ample gluten free options at restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores, those avoiding gluten can fully experience the city’s incredible food scene.
What is the gluten free diet?
The gluten free diet involves avoiding all foods and products containing gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten triggers an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine and causes uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, and fatigue.
Following a strict gluten free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease. For those with gluten sensitivity, avoiding gluten may relieve unpleasant symptoms and improve overall wellbeing. Thankfully, more and more eateries recognize the importance of catering to special diets and offer clearly marked gluten free items.
Is gluten free dining feasible in Paris?
Absolutely! Paris has exploded with gluten free offerings in recent years as the diet grows more mainstream worldwide. Although traditional French fare is laden with glutenous ingredients like baguettes, croissants, and wheat-flour crepes, many restaurants now accommodate special dietary needs.
Most eateries in Paris mark gluten free dishes on their menus or have specific gluten free menus available upon request. While neighborhood bistros tend to have fewer options, upscale restaurants usually prepare creative gluten free adaptations of classic French dishes. Additionally, entirely gluten free bakeries and cafes exist where safe treats abound.
Grocery stores also stock gluten free products, from fresh produce and meat to pasta, bread, and desserts. Large chains like Monoprix label gluten free items and even have dedicated allergen-free areas. Natural food stores also carry many gluten free brands imported from abroad.
Tips for finding gluten free meals in Paris
Eating gluten free in Paris is doable with the right approach. Here are some tips for ensuring a safe and delicious gluten free visit:
- Research restaurant options ahead of time and note those with gluten free menus or items.
- Verify dietary needs when making reservations so chefs can prepare safe meals.
- Look for the “sans gluten” label on menus to identify gluten free dishes.
- Inform your server as soon as you’re seated about your gluten allergy or sensitivity.
- Ask about how dishes are prepared and potential cross-contamination risks.
- Stick to naturally gluten free foods like produce, eggs, cheese, meat, fish/seafood.
- Grocery shop for gluten free snacks, baked goods, and pantry items.
- Arm yourself with a French gluten free dining card describing your condition.
- Stay at a vacation rental apartment with a kitchen for control over meals.
Taking a few preparatory steps enables safe gluten free eating anywhere in Paris.
Best cuisines for gluten free dining
Certain cuisines in Paris lend themselves better to gluten free needs than others:
Nouvelle cuisine spotlights fresh, high quality ingredients prepared with innovative techniques. With emphasis on vegetables, lean proteins, and natural flavors, nouvelle dishes are easily adapted to be gluten free.
Plant-based spots feature grains and starches less heavily, putting produce, beans, nuts, and other naturally gluten free foods at the fore. The city’s vegetarian and vegan restaurants offer many gluten free possibilities.
Middle Eastern restaurants serve gluten free standouts like hummus, grilled meats, rice, vegetables, and gluten free flatbreads like socca. Falafel joints, often quick and casual, make for effortless gluten free meals on the go.
Asian – Sushi, Thai, Vietnamese
Cuisines like sushi, Thai, and Vietnamese all pair well with gluten free needs, using ingredients like rice, vegetables, seafood, eggs, meat, rice noodles, and tamari. Look for pho and bun bo hue soups without noodles.
Although traditional pizza and pasta are off limits, Italian spots excel at using top-notch produce, cheese, and proteins like beef, chicken, and fish. Seek out gluten free pasta and gnocchi where available.
Best gluten free bakeries and patisseries
Sampling Paris’s legendary pastries may seem off limits, but several bakeries craft excellent gluten free versions of French classics. Stop into any of these spots for gluten free bread, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods:
- Helmut Newcake
- Maison Rivoli
- Wild Sweets
Best grocery stores for gluten free products
Stocking up on gluten free snacks, pantry items, and ready-made products enables healthy snacking and quick meals. Gluten free brands from France and abroad fill shelves at:
- Carrefour Bio
- Franprix No Gluten
Best areas of Paris for gluten free dining
Certain neighborhoods offer higher concentrations of gluten free friendly restaurants:
Boasting trendy bistros and fusion eateries, Le Marais serves inventive modern cuisine with gluten free flair. Casual falafel shops abound, while chic cafes serve tempting gluten free baked goods.
This sceney Left Bank area surrounds Paris’s oldest church and the former Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Organic cafes and upscale eateries cater to many diets.
Montmartre’s winding cobblestone streets and village-like vibe draw natural food stores and wine bars with small plates ideal for gluten free noshing.
10th and 11th Arrondissements
Diverse cafes, casual neo-bistros, fusion restaurants, and international eateries pack these central neighborhoods near the Canal Saint-Martin.
Top 10 gluten free restaurants in Paris
These restaurants delighted diners with incredible gluten free dishes in 2021. Make reservations at any of the below for a memorable gluten free Parisian meal:
|Noglu||Gluten Free Bakery and Bistro||Gluten free croissants, baguettes, macarons, quiches|
|Helmut Newcake||Gluten Free Bakery||Gluten free cakes, tarts, cookies|
|Wild & The Moon||Vegetarian and Vegan||Gluten free sandwiches, salads, bowls, smoothies|
|Bob’s Juice Bar||Vegetarian||Gluten free bowls, smoothies, juices|
|Noglu||Pizza||Gluten free crust pizzas|
|East Mamma||Italian||Gluten free pasta, gnocchi, appetizers|
|Miznon Paris||Middle Eastern||Gluten free pita, hummus, kebabs, salads|
|Madison Restaurant||French||Gluten free brunch, steak frites|
|Goust||Vegetarian||Gluten free salads, bowls, baked goods|
|Le Potager du Marais||Vegetarian and Vegan||Gluten free vegetable dishes|
Best times of day for gluten free meals
Traditional French breakfast fare leans glutenous with offerings like croissants, bread, crepes, and pastries. For gluten free morning fuel, try cafes offering:
- Eggs, omelets, egg white scrambles
- Yogurt parfaits with berries
- Oatmeal, buckwheat porridge, muesli
- Fresh fruit plates
- Quiche with gluten free crust
At lunch, grab a salad or gluten free sandwich from a cafe or bistro. For dinner, shareable small plates at tapas-style spots help ensure something gluten free. Restaurants adhere more strictly to special diets at dinner when offering full menus.
Phrases to learn in French when eating gluten free
Mastering a few key French phrases makes communicating gluten free needs easier:
- Je suis allergique au gluten – I’m gluten intolerant
- Ce plat est sans gluten? – Is this dish gluten-free?
- Pas de blé, d’orge ou de seigle – No wheat, barley or rye
- Je ne peux pas manger d’aliments contenant du gluten – I can’t eat foods containing gluten
Wait staff in Paris may not fully grasp the concept of “gluten free,” so be ready to explain your condition if using the French term sans gluten. Carrying a gluten free French dining card also helps convey needs.
Yes, eating 100% gluten free in Paris is totally achievable with the right tools and knowledge. Dining gluten free in the city requires research and diligence, but rewards with incredible cuisine. By arming yourself with key restaurant lists, French phrases, and information about dedicated gluten free spots, you can indulge in Parisian flavors safely and deliciously.