Gluten Free Paris

What does a coeliac do in the land of baguettes, croissants and pain au chocolat? Turns out, plenty. Here are a few places and tips I’d like to pass on to fellow gluten free travellers to the beautiful Paris.

First, I’d like to preface this by saying that this is heavily biased towards cake and sweet things. That’s just me.

Helmut Newcake ¦¦ This is absolute paradise for the patisserie loving coeliac, and there are now two branches where you can feast upon as much traditional French baking as you can manage. That’s right, it’s all completely gluten free. My particular favourite is the Madame, which is basically a big and a small profiterole stacked on top of each other, both filled with creme patissiere, and then covered in chocolate with a little collar of meringue. It’s maybe the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I’d also recommend the eclairs, chocolate is best in my opinion (as ever). Also highly commended are the fruit tarts, the chocolate fondant, and the cheesecake. They do also serve tea in cute vintage cups, but you didn’t come all this way for tea, did you?

I’ll just leave that there, shall I? Res ipsa loquitur.

I’d also like to point out the empty plate in the top left hand corner. You might have assumed that was my companion’s empty plate – no – it was mine. This plate of eclair and cheesecake was actually my second round. I like cake, ok?!

They sell a few pantry items like pasta, flour and plain rolls to take away if you want, and they also serve a lunch which is generally a choice of two or three options, one of which will always be vegetarian. On Sunday they serve brunch which you will need to book for. Be careful of opening hours: in Canal St Martin they’re open Wednesday to Saturday and Sunday for brunch only, and at rue Vignon they’re open Tuesday to Saturday. Also, be aware that lunch does generally sell out daily. They make the cakes fresh throughout the day so they occasionally run out of things; but if you wait they are generally in the process of making more.

NoGlu ¦¦ This small restaurant is tucked away in the prettiest arcade, Passage des Panoramas. You should probably go for that alone. It’s got some original shopfronts still remaining, and plenty of curios to peruse. Anyway, once you get inside the restaurant it’s plain sailing – just pick one of the three dishes they have per course and you’re all set. Again, there’s no asking about suitability or alterations; it just works. The interior is trendy and the atmosphere relaxed. The food was good, and even though the prices were a little high, I figure what price can you put on a stress-free dining experience? They also have some bread and biscuity type things for sale downstairs but nothing that tempted me (especially not after visiting Helmut Newcake!).

Breizh Cafe ¦¦ Another gem based on location alone, this cafe adjoins a fancy shop and is found on the Rue Vieille du Temple. I could easily spend an afternoon wandering this beautiful road, which is lined with delightful boutiques and pretty streetscapes. You can call into the Breizh Cafe for a gluten free galette de sarrasin with a whole range of toppings to choose from, but be sure to book ahead as it gets extremely busy.

And finally…. all the macarons. We got ours from Un Dimanche à Paris but you can pick them up from lots of places. They should all be gluten free. 

Gluten Free restaurant cards ¦¦ This website provides a printable card which describes your gluten free needs in French, for you to take to restaurants and show to the waiter/waitress and preferably also the chef. This is great because you don’t have to worry about anything getting lost in translation, just hand over the card. Make sure you take a few copies just in case some get lost or kept by particularly diligent staff. A word of warning – sometimes the French can be a little dismissive of dietary requirements. I don’t want to generalise but there it is. There’s been a lot of improvement recently but if you feel the restaurant isn’t taking you seriously, don’t be afraid to go somewhere that does. 

Places I haven’t been but would like to try ¦¦ Biosphere CafeTugalik, Thank You My Deer (with a name like that, how could I not!), La Maison du Sans Gluten.

Excuse me while I head over to the Eurostar special offer section now…

-Rachel

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17 Comments

  1. 24th February 2015 / 13:24

    Just bookmarked this post! As a fellow Celiac and Francophile, being gluten free in Paris breaks my heart every time. Although I’ve been countless times (and even studied abroad there!), I’ve never had much luck finding quality GF treats. I am so happy to find this post! Thank you so, so much for sharing 🙂

    • 24th February 2015 / 19:12

      Wow, lucky you to study in Paris! Yes, I too was so happy when I found these places to eat, so I’m really glad to share the joy and I’m very happy you’re happy!

  2. 24th February 2015 / 14:31

    This is a great list! That’s great you were able to indulge in so many yummy French pastries yet be able to keep it gluten-free. Breizh Cafe’s one of my favorite creperies in Paris – nice choice! Lately there has been an emergence of vegetarian/vegan/GF offerings in the city. Cafe Pinson is a good spot for GF offerings, and there are a bunch of others (though I mostly know the ones that are vegetarian-friendly, not as much GF). Love your multiple plates of desserts – that’s totally the way to do it on a trip to Paris!!

    • 24th February 2015 / 19:13

      Yes I’ve noticed a couple of places popping up since I last visited – eg all the places on my wishlist! Breizh does seem to be very popular, judging by how busy it was, but the food was absolutely delicious so I can see why. Thanks for the tip, looks like I’ll be adding Cafe Pinson to my list as well! Yes I basically rolled around Paris, what with all the cake I ate. Good times.

  3. 24th February 2015 / 15:21

    macarons are gluten free?! i had kinda told myself i would eat all the gluten on our trip in june because i want to experience things, but its good to know i have options!

    • 24th February 2015 / 19:22

      Yesssss they most certainly are! Made with almond flour I believe. I suppose you’d have to be careful of cross contamination is the only thing. I personally felt that with everything on offer (at Helmut Newcake in particular) I was quite happy without gluten. Oh so many options 🙂 Also, thanks for making me think about this and therefore writing this post!

  4. 24th February 2015 / 16:24

    Thanks for sharing. The cakes look delicious and attractive.

    • 24th February 2015 / 19:22

      They are attractive, and I can vouch for the fact they were delicious. I still have dreams about them sometimes!

  5. 24th February 2015 / 17:54

    This is such an important post. I have no nutritional issues, but know plenty of people who do, and who have misgivings about coming to Paris. Excited to have your blog as reference point for my future visitors! Thanks for doing the legwork (looks like it was really rough)! 😉

    • 24th February 2015 / 19:25

      Well, you know, I did have to check everything out really thoroughly, and sometimes twice just in case! It’s a hard life. I’m so pleased this post has been of use to you! And to your future visitors, I hope they have a wonderful visit.

  6. 24th February 2015 / 19:48

    This is awesome! I was recently diagnosed after being abroad in France for a year and was wondering how on earth it’s possible to live or even visit the country as a Celiac. Cheers, girl 🙂 I definitely couldn’t live in France with such temptation.

    • 25th February 2015 / 22:07

      Sorry to hear that, but yay for gluten free French treats! I’m so glad you’ve got things to look forward to when you go back 🙂

  7. 25th February 2015 / 04:29

    Umm I always grab at least two desserts if I happen to stumble upon a gluten free bakery when I travel, so no judgement here! You have to capitalize on those finds when you get them, right?? Definitely bookmarking your tips for when I visit Paris next – hopefully sooner rather than later 🙂

  8. 25th February 2015 / 15:14

    That all looks AMAZING. I’d be having two plates too.

    We’re heading to Paris in 2016, I cannot WAIT.

    • 25th February 2015 / 22:13

      Phew, glad I’m not the only one who works in multiple plates when they find a good thing…! Lucky you, I love having a good trip to look forward to. I encourage you to have multiple plates of things too. And as you’re not restricted by diet you can patisserie hop right across town! Are you visiting other places as well?

      • 25th February 2015 / 22:40

        Yes, we’ll only be in Paris for a short time. Same with London. Longer in Ireland. My husband and I have been there, but it’s for my dad’s 60th so it’s his call!

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