Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gluten-Free Paris

When we go on vacation, we always have to research gluten-free restaurants in advance so that we're never caught in a situation of "Well, now, where do we eat?" In 99% of the places we've visited, finding gluten-free restaurants has never been a problem. We've discovered some really cool and really yummy local places. And sometimes we just have to hit up a Red Robin, which is totally cool, too. 

We picnicked near the Eiffel Tower just like real
Parisians, except our picnic lunch was from Subway.
But eating gluten-free in Paris was ... a challenge. To start, there are only about three gluten-free restaurants in the entire city. And only one of those restaurants, Cafe Galette, was in an area where we were sightseeing. We were excited to try out its gluten-free buckwheat crepes. However, when we arrived at the restaurant, it was closed for vacation.

So.... yeah.

I'm not saying that if you have Celiac Disease you should never go to France. But you should just know what you're getting into. (And lack of gluten-free food is not the only thing. Think crowds, the constant smell of urine, pickpockets, and a terrible subway system. Not impressed.)

Jardin du Luxembourg: One of the only places we
enjoyed in Paris. Eat some sorbet while strolling through here.
We had thought about bringing in some of our own food, but we weren't sure what food would be allowed into Paris from out-of-country. (Turns out, we needn't have worried. When traveling to Paris by train, there is no customs when you get there, so I guess they just don't care.)

Thankfully, we weren't in Paris that long. Here are a few things that saved us: 

1. Subway - If you don't mind a bit of cross-contamination, you can always get a salad at Subway. There was a Subway by our hotel, and we finally came across a Subway on the day that Cafe Galette was closed.

2. Amorino - If you don't mind having gelato or sorbet as a meal, then I'd highly recommend Amorino. I had mango sorbet at the New York City location, and the raspberry sorbet in Paris was just as outstanding.

3. Chipotle - Yes, there was even a Chipotle within walking distance of our hotel at the Beaugrenelle Mall. However, it was closed due to an equipment malfunction, so that didn't really help us, but I'm sure it's open now that we're not there.

4. Marks & Spencer - As a last resort because the Chipotle was closed, we walked into the Marks & Spencer (or as the Brits call it "Marks & Sparks") on the same floor of the Beaugrenelle Mall and stumbled upon this sandwich. All the writing was in French, so we didn't understand much of it, but we did understand "sans gluten". WITHOUT GLUTEN!!!! 

It appeared to be some type of vegetarian, gluten-free sandwich. My husband bought it for dinner and actually liked it, so we went back to Marks & Spencer for dinner again the next night. 

When we went to Disneyland Paris, we knew in advance that the allergy-free meal you could order in the park was void of 16 potential allergens and therefore void of taste. This is NOT the experience you get eating gluten-free at Disneyland or Disney World, just so you know. So during our day at the park, my husband ate a salad at Planet Hollywood (bread is not listed as something that comes with the salad but it does, and it's on the same plate as the salad so ASK FOR NO BREAD) and ice cream for dinner.


And that was our gluten-free dining experience (and overall experience) in Paris. The first part of our trip was spent in London, and it could not have been more different! Thank goodness! Stay tuned to the blog for gluten-free London tips!

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