One would think that Paris, land of baguette and croissants, could not possibly be home to gluten-free restaurants or menu items. But in past years, requests from visitors and locals alike have created a blossoming gluten-free industry, where small cafés and gastronomic restaurants alike create delicious, gourmet delights... sans gluten.
There's no reason to worry about eating gluten-free while traveling. With a bit of planning, c'est facile! Here are a few places to help you start your guide to gluten-free restaurants and dining in Paris.
1. Buckwheat Galettes at Breizh Café
France is home to two sorts of crêpes. Crêpes sucrées or crêpes au froment are made with wheat flour and are therefore unfortunately off-limits to those following a gluten-free diet. But crêpes salées or crêpes au sarrasin, which are made with buckwheat flour, are naturally gluten-free and therefore the perfect way for those following a gluten-free diet to indulge in some local fare.
Buckwheat galettes hail from Brittany, a few hours to the north. But Breizh Café in the Marais brings these traditional crêpes to Paris, with choices of fillings including local charcuteries and cheeses.
109, rue Vieille du Temple, 4th arrondissement
2. Club Sandwiches at Noglu*
Noglu is Paris' only gourmet gluten-free restaurant at present. While there are many delicious things on the menu, including fantastic American-style brownies and an ever-changing array of savory plates, one of the all-star dishes is the club sandwich. Why eat a club sandwich in Paris? Because the bread is that good.
It's tough to visit the city of baguettes and not even be able to have a taste. But the creative club sandwiches at Noglu, made on house-made bread, can make up for it. A recent version featured chicken breast, blue cheese, and an assortment of vegetables, but the sandwich changes nearly every day.
16, Passage des Panoramas, 2nd arrondissment
3. Banana Bread at Thank You My Deer*
Thank You My Deer is a coffee shop that succumbs two new Parisian trends: gluten-free dining and indie coffee shops. (Yes, Paris is a bit behind the curve in some ways.) The shop is run by two Slovakian women, and then Italian cook serves up a banana bread so good that on my last visit, I heard a regular tell the owner that she had dreamed about it the night before.
112, rue Saint-Maur, 11th arrondissement
4. Macarons at Pierre Hermé
Macarons are infamously difficult to make at home, and in Paris, there's no reason to. While Ladurée is perhaps the most well-known shop, Pierre Hermé, a former student of Ladurée, is living proof that the student can outdo the master. Macarons are naturally gluten-free, so be sure to taste a few of Pierre Hermé's versions. He's famous for his unique combinations, like wasabi and grapefruit or white truffle and white chocolate.
72, rue Bonaparte, 6th arrondissement
185, rue de Vaugirard, 15th arrondissement
39, avenue de l'Opéra, 2nd arrondissement
5. Tarte aux framboises at Helmut Newcake*
Helmut Newcake serves up a great variety of gluten-free dishes in the trendy Canal Saint-Martin area. Lunch and brunch vary seasonally, but be sure to leave room for dessert. If you've been craving those gluten-laden pastries you see in pastry shop windows every five steps in Paris, you'll be sated here, where the pastries are just as beautiful and just as delicious. Sample the raspberry tart, or tarte aux framboises, for something truly delicate and delicious.
36, rue Bichat, 10th arrondissement
*The establishments that have been starred are 100 percent gluten-free. At the other establishments, trace quantities of wheat flour may be present.
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Image: Yukiko Matsuoka