Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Gluten Free Guide to Paris

Paris and gluten free seem to go hand in hand. Or should I say, Paris and anti-gluten free. It's often brought up how awful they are at catering to GF-ers - I mean they are the bread and pastry kings so they've got a hard task on their hands - so I was a little nervous that I was going to have to live off of leaves when I was out there last month. Whilst I did find it hard a) because it's one place I couldn't find any online GF guides to and b) because there really is a limited selection available, with most of the waiters being, how do you say.. rude assholes about it when I asked, I sill did manage to find a few hidden gems. So, here they are rounded up together in one big GF guide that'll hopefully help any of you travelling out there in the future. I'm planning another shortly so I should have a few more places to add by the end of summer!

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Now this one's more of a 'thing' than a place and, as you can see, that 'thing' is Macaroons. Luckily these little guys are completely gluten free, so - as long as these are on the menu - there's no need for your sweet tooth to suffer if you fancy stopping for coffee and a treat. They're pretty readily available throughout Paris, but if you fancy being extra decadent then I'd recommend nipping into Galerie Lafayette to enjoy one with a view of the beautiful interiors of the building like we did above (I cannot take blame if you get drunk on sugar and shop your ass off afterwards).

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The Marais & Canal St Martin are two good areas for GF eating as they're quite trendy and artsy and all that jazz, so are kind of cottoning on to the whole GF and vegan thing. While this bar doesn't specifically cater to GFers, they were more than happy to accommodate to it and provide us with GF sharing platters and salads. I won't lie, though, I mainly included this one because of the amazing cocktails they do.

La Panfoulia: 7 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie

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This as the first one we came across that specifically catered to GF-ers; all morning I'd been moaning that I really wanted a chocolate fudge brownie and then we stumbled across this little cafe right on the waterfront in canal St Martin who did gluten free brownies (rich, gooey and amazing) as well as other gluten free traybakes and salads, all clearly marked on the menu. At this point I was 97% sure I'd died and gone to calorie heaven.

Le Sesame: 51 Quai de Valmy, 75010

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This place is like a holy grail for GF-ers and, more importantly, full blown coeliacs, as every single thing in there is GF. They do everything from cakes, pastries and traybakes - I ordered 5 for, um, market research, and can honestly say each one was amazing - as well as sandwiches, rolls and brunch (BRUNCH - huzzah!). There's apparently one more GF bakery in Paris called Chambelland Boulangerie which I'll definitely be checking out next time.

Helmut Newcake: 36 Rue Bichat, 75010 | 28 Rue Vignon, 75009 (take-away only)

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This picture isn't the best because I was absolutely starving by the time we got there so it was a bit of a 'snap quickly and shove in my mouth' situation, but I really couldn't recommend it more. All the galettes are made with buckwheat so are entirely gluten free and they've got around 20 different toppings on offer. If you're feeling like something a little sweeter then you can ask for the crepes to be made with buckwheat too (and that's when you go crazy and throw on Nutella, ice cream... the whole lot). I think they also did GF beer here but don't quote me on it (I was too busy stuffing my face to properly take notice of anything going on around me).

Breizh Cafe: 111 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003

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Now this I was 90% sure was a mirage. We'd been wandering around BHV for around an hour or so when we decided a sugary pick-me-up was needed and were told to head across the street to the cafe at the men's dept for a GF treat. Here lay this amazing, quirky little spot with 5 or so foodstalls, one of which sold GF gaufres. Sometimes gluten free cakes/waffles etc can be a little, well, obviously gluten free, but you'd have no idea with this one. We got on with caramel, one with nutella and then a fruit pot to balance it all out (that's how it works, yes?).

BHV: 36 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004

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Regardless of whether or not you're GF, you NEED to check this place it because it has absolutely everything on offer... including around a hundred different types of water as you can see. They've got a little GF section with pasta, bread, cakes, all the usuals, so it's perfect if you're looking for either snacks or for ingredients to cook with back at your apartment. We also nipped up to the Rose Bakery where they had some gluten free sweet loafs (chocolate & orange, raspberry & vanilla etc) on offer, but - for once - I opted for the savoury haddock salad.

Le Bon Marche: 24 Rue de Sevres, 75007

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This was another entirely GF and organic joint (again, for you ma coeliac peeps) which had a double sided - yes, double-sided, oh the rarity, menu of GF food on offer; from crepes to sandwiches to traybakes to brunch to pizza to pasta to GF beer to... Need I go on?

Bio Sphere Cafe: 47 Rue de Laborde, 75008

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Unfortunately I didn't do too well with photos of our meal as it's very, very dark - I mean, atmospheric - in here, but you can rest assured it was incredible. One of my favourite meals of the trip actually! Everything on the menu is marked as either GF or 'can be made GF by the chef' so you don't need to go through the whole rigmarole of asking what does and doesn't have gluten in it. I opted for an incredibly tasty salad because I was keeping space in my tummy box for dessert, but they do offer gluten free pasta dishes which is an absolute rarity in Paris.

Baffo: 12 Rue Pecquay, 75004

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Now these don't look like much, but that little brownie on the left is one of the best GF cakes I've ever had; crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside.. oh mamma. They also offer a 'build your own salad or smoothie' option as well as lots of ready made meals that are clearly marked with allergen labels. Oh, the was we went to was right across from Galeries Lafayette and so if you need a little mid-shop-pick-me-up then it's in an ideal location! They also offer lactose free options too I should probably mention.

Exki: 82 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 59 Rue Montorgueil, 8 Rue Danielle Casanova

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Simple but effective. Check around to see what markets are on and when in our area and you can pick up some fresh produce to make a meal at home with that you know exactly what's gone in it. Alternatively you can just pick up a batch of goodies at the supermarket to do the same with! We did this a few nights to both save on money and make sure we had a completely GF meal on our hands.

So there we go! I really hope that helps some of you travelling there in the future and, like I say, by the end of summer I'll hopefully be able to double the length of this guide for you!