FRANCE, France, Travel, Uncategorized

Gluten-Free France Without Fear!

34 Comments 12 June 2011

gluten free france menton
Menton, France

I’m excited to welcome back guest blogger Maria Roglieri, author of The Gluten-Free Guide To Italy and now The Gluten-Free Guide To France. I just know you’re going to le freak when you read this! N’est-ce pas?!
~Kelly

gluten free guide to france
 

If you are planning a trip to France this summer, please take my newest handy guide with you, The Gluten-Free Guide to France (www.gfguidefrance.com) , which we just published after months of working with restaurant owners all over France. It will give you extensive information about:

-Restaurants: over 950 restaurants in France and over 200 in Paris
-Includes: addresses, types of cuisine, phone numbers, websites, and prices
-B&B and hotels that can accommodate gluten-free guests
-Health food stores
-A lot of vocabulary help

FRENCH WOMEN DON’T GET FAT
The coolest thing about traveling through France and gorging on delicious gluten-free desserts is that you will still magically lose weight during your trip! Seriously, you’re going to do so much walking that almost no matter how many desserts you consume you will lose weight! Good deal all around! Below are some of my favorite sweet discoveries.

MACARONS
Whenever and wherever I travel, I love to try the local desserts . If you are like me, you will be very, very happy in France! There are a number of desserts that are naturally gluten-free and easy to find all over France. Some of these you may have experienced before regardless of where you live, but of course, they are even better in France! Macaroons (macarons in French) come in all different flavors and colors. 

PARIS LOCATIONS

Pain de Sucre
www.patisseriepaindesucre.com
14 Rue Rambuteau (in the 3rd arrondissement, Le Marais)

Pierre Herme
www.pierreherme.com
Multiple locations in the 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, and 16th arrondissements.

Laduree
www.laduree.fr
Multiple locations in the 6th, 8th, and 9th arrondissements.
 

gluten free france eiffel

MERINGUES
If you got excited about macarons, wait! Meringues can be even more exciting! The most amazing type of meringue is called a flottante: it is huge and bathed in creme anglaise. Yum!

ADDITIONAL DESSERTS
And of course there’s always the infamous crème brûlée, mousse au chocolat, and chocolat chaud (hot chocolate). But have you heard of calissons which are very almondy and Mont-Blanc which has a lovely chestnut flavor? Ils sont délicieux!

LOCATIONS

You can find these desserts in a lot of places in Paris, including:

Angelina
226 Rue de Rivoli
In the 1st arrondissement, Musée du Louvre/Les Halles

CAUTION!
When ordering a calisson make sure to ask for the calisson that is made either “sans gluten” (“without gluten”–pronounced “son glutennn”), “sans pain azyme” (“without the wheat wafer”–pronounced “san pan azim”), or “avec pain de riz” (“with rice wafers”–pronounced “avek pan de riz”).

gluten free france citroen

SWEET OR SAVORY CREPES
Even more exciting are the gluten-free crêpes in France called galettes de sarrasin which are made from 100% buckwheat flour (blè noir or farine de sarrasin).

CAUTION!
When ordering a galette, make sure to ask for the ones that are sans gluten (“without gluten”–pronounced “son glutenn“) or avec sarrasin seulement (“with only buckwheat flour”–pronounced “avek sarasen selman”).

You can have crepes for dessert or even for a meal because you can enjoy many different fillings including ham, egg, mushrooms and cheese, and my personal favorite: Nutella! There are many restaurants in Paris and all over France called creperies that make only crepes, so go crazy!

LOCATIONS

Two of the most popular places in Paris to enjoy galettes are:

Aux Ducs de Bourgogne
30 Rue Bourgogne–in the 7th arrondissment, Eiffel Tower/Musee d’Orsay 

Breizh Cafe
In the 3rd arrondissement, Le Marais.

Our gluten-consuming friends haven’t really discovered buckwheat yet, but they will. Buckwheat is very high in fiber and protein, so this means you are actually eating a healthy dessert–enjoy and don’t feel guilty!

gluten free france logo
 

A GLUTEN-FREE BAKERY IN ETIVEY, BURGUNDY
If you find yourself in Etivey in the region of Burgundy, you MUST go to a bakery there that is exclusively gluten-free and uses a lot of buckwheat in their cookies.

Aux Biscuits d’Antoine
http://biscuits-antoine.com
5, Petite rue, Etivey 
Burgundy
tel. 330386557173 
This is perhaps the only gluten-free bakery in all of France and is well worth the trip. Some of the bio stores carry their cookies as well. Save up your euros because if you are like me, you will want to buy everything in this place!

gluten free france van gogh
Van Gogh’s Garden

4 KEY THINGS WE LEARNED WRITING THIS BOOK

1. French chefs know about cooking gluten-free, and most of them are willing to accommodate us. They have a number of gluten-free regular customers, and are not only willing to make something gluten-free, but are quite creative in what they do.

2. Many of these chefs would prefer that you request a gluten-free meal in advance. The advance notice will help them best prepare to serve you in terms of having fresh gluten-free ingredients on hand and being able to create a fabulous gluten-free meal.

3. A little French goes a long way. There aren’t as many English speakers around as one would hope, so in requesting a special meal, you may have to use some French–but not much!

I myself do speak some French, but when I started this project, I decided to speak to the restaurant owners entirely in English. I had to laugh when I asked for a gluten-free meal and got a polite but crazy response from one restaurant manager: “Why do you want a free meal?” In French, they don’t say “gluten-free”; instead, they say “without gluten”, or “sans gluten”. The minute I posed the question in French, I found that the restaurant staff was just wonderful–knowledgeable and very accommodating.

For those of you who don’t speak French, we’ve put all the vocabulary you could ever need into this book, with the help of some amazing native French speakers who aren’t gluten-free themselves, but wanted to make sure that we can enjoy their fabulous country and food without stressing. Merci beaucoup mes amis!

4. The French are quite proactive in recognizing gluten intolerance. This is evident in the name of their national society: Association des Intolerants au Gluten (AFDIAG). The number of celiacs in France is estimated to be pretty much the same as in other countries, although the number of actually diagnosed celiacs is comparatively somewhat lower.

Perhaps as a result of this lower diagnosis rate, the chefs may not be able to tell you exactly what celiac disease is, but they know how to deal with it. They may ask you, for example, if you are allergic to wheat–we know that that isn’t quite the definition of what we have. I have found that I get this question in talking to restaurant staff in New York as well as in France, and I answer the same way: “Yes” (or “Oui!”), because the results (a great gluten-free meal) are the same whether I agree to the word “allergy” or I explain what celiac disease or gluten neuropathy is. My doctor’s job is to understand the exact nature of my gluten sensitivity; my waiter’s/chef’s job is to understand the parameters of a gluten-free meal.

Understand they do, and the results are fantastic! The French have always been master chefs and when it comes to gluten-free, they outdo themselves! Many of them answered my query about getting a gluten-free meal with a “bien sur! Pas de problème!” (Of course! No problem!).

Enjoy your trip to France and especially enjoy the food. The landscape the history, the art, and the people of France are all wonderful, but the food is truly divine!

Bon Appètit!

~Maria
The Gluten-Free Guide To France

RELATED ARTICLES:
Gluten-Free Paris
 

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Your Comments

34 Comments so far

  1. 1
     
    Stephanie says:

    If only this had come out a year ago before I studied abroad. It would have made it sooo much easier. Even without this guide the country has become much more accommodating.

  2. 2
     
    Sarah says:

    This is all really great information, and very helpful. However, I have lived in France for 5 years and I need to clarify a few things. Not all buckwheat crepes are made with 100 percent buckwheat flour – many recipes call for a few tablespoons of wheat flour in the mix. So make sure that you inquire about this at the corner crepe stand. Also, most French people don’t know what gluten or celiac disease is (just like in the U.S.). So asking the waiter at most run of the mill brasseries for a meal “sans gluten” will not work. My advice is to be specific – ask instead if there is wheat flour, or balsamic vinegar, etc. in things.

  3. 3
     

    I’ve always eaten well in France! I’ve found that they sort of frown on sweet fillings in the gallettes, but they understand once you explain that you can’t have the wheat crepes. Most chefs are happy to show off their skills and cook you a great meal once they understand the parameters. One of the best meals of my life was a peppercorn steak and a cheesy potato to substitute the “au gratin” and of course creme brulee at a restaurant near the Bastille in Paris. They really want you to enjoy the food experience.

    •  
      Janne says:

      I wish I could say the same, but I think eating out is SO difficult In France and I love France and speak French.. We are In the south of France now, and have just come back to our apartment now. A bit sad after asking in a few restaurants it they could make a gluten free meal. Not for me, more for my family…
      Italy is heaven for us celiacs though :)))
      Janne

  4. 4
     
    Sarah says:

    I completely agree with you Stephanie! You misunderstand my point. It’s just that the wording in the advertisement for the Gluten Free Guide to France makes it sound a bit like French people are more knowledgeable about Celiac disease than Americans, which I have not found to be the case at all. And using the word gluten has never gotten me very far, which is the case in the US as well. Although, they are very willing, as you say, to change things for you to enjoy the food once you explain it, that is for sure. My reference to the crepes was that the batter for buckwheat crepes sometimes does have a little bit of wheat flour in it, so I wanted people to be vigilant (as I know everyone always is). But it is true, once you get all of the specifics sorted out, they are accommodating.

  5. 5
     
    Deanna Askin says:

    I spent two months living in a small town of 300 people in southern France and there were surprisingly more gluten free options in the grocery store than at home in San Diego. Carrefour and a couple little “bio shops” (organic/natural foods stores) had gluten free baguettes, gluten free croissants, gluten free ciabatta bread, gluten free sandwich bread, gluten free cookies and so on. Bon appetit sans gluten!

  6. 6
     

    OMG, you’re killing me with this article! I am now dreaming, no scratch that, DROOOLING to go to France. I thought when I discovered my gluten intolerance that European travel would be made so difficult, but its great to see someone writing about how to navigate it with special food requirements! on a smaller note, i’ve found macaroons SOOO easy to make, and the perfect little French treat! I have a very simple recipe for gluten and dairy free macaroons on my site http://www.glutendairyfreedom.net if anyone is looking for a simple cookie recipe! What a great blog, I’ll be back for sure!

    •  
      Janne says:

      Italy is fantastic Victoria, have NEVER become sick there, and we have been there a lot…pizza, pasta…so many good things to eat there. And you don’t feel like a freak ;)

  7. 7
     
    Fiona Haynes says:

    I do have a word of caution about galettes de sarrasin in Paris, at least. One waiter told us that they may be made with a blend of wheat flour and buckwheat. It was hard to get a definitive yes or no in creperies, so for us, it didn’t work out. Overall, eating gluten free was very hard.

    •  
      Sonia Simone says:

      Cafe Breizh (mentioned here) has 100% buckwheat galettes, and they’re knowledgeable about gluten. Great place (the cider is also delicious and is GF).

  8. 8
     
    Courtney says:

    This is so exciting! Ever since being diagnosed, traveling to France had seemed to no longer be an option. But this renews my hope! :D

  9. 9
     
    MF says:

    Sounds amazing I love France!! The Antoine Biscuits link doesn’t work though.

  10. 10
     
    Kathryn says:

    I was fortunate to find this the week before we went to France. The Breizh Cafe was a great tip – we loved it!

  11. 11
     
    Janne says:

    Can someone please help me, I need to know where I can find these chefs/waiters who know about cooking gluten free…
    The only restaurant where I have encountered that kind of knowledge is in Corsica where we found a very good restaurant who cooked good and safe gluten free food.

    Need tips now as we are in France now. Can I buy the book online, no use buying it and getting it when we come home…

    Can I contact you or the author of the book?

  12. 12
     
    Dave Bel says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. I plan on returning to Paris for a family trip in the near future and this will sure make my life a whole lot easier!

  13. 13
     
    Tighe says:

    Hi! This post is great! Traveling can be so tough when trying to avoid gluten and this book sounds like a great addition to anyone GF headed to France.

  14. 14
     
    Louise says:

    If you can’t get to Paris, there is a new bakery in Ridgewood, NJ with authentic French macarons, sorbets, and flourless chocolate cookies. My family just visited Paris, loved the macarons, and have been visiting this bakery ever since. These are just like the ones in Paris! They also have soups, salads, coffee, tea, small tables – it’s like Paris. The owner is trained at the French culinary institute. (sook@sookpastry.com)

  15. 15
     
    Louise says:

    We had great GF meals near our hotel in the Montparnasse section, near the Paris Catacombs, and the Denfert-Rochereau metro station. Here are some:
    - Lil O’Crepes (Island O’Crepes), 6 Rue Rene Coty, has gf buckwheat crepes, over 20 varieties, and creme brulee, English web at: http://www.microsofttranslator.com/bv.aspx?from=fr&to=en&a=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ileocrepes.com%2F
    - Dorius Rostisserie, 33 Rue Daguerre, has rostisserie chicken, ribs, duck, and lamb.
    - Le Choppe, Rue Daguerre, has great lamb
    - Paul Bakery, 7-9 Denfert Rochereau, has macarons. This is a huge chain, also at the Louvre, Champs Elysee, & train stations.
    - Monoprix grocery, Rue Daguerre, is a full grocery store with lots of gf items.
    - There was also a cheese shop, chocolate shop, and gelato shop on Rue Daguerre. I love this neighborhood!

  16. 16
     
    tessa says:

    I find that here in France the issue really is finding the ingredients you need to bake gluten free at home. Anyone can find a heavy, dense, gum filled cake in the major grocery stores but finding actual alternative flours and such is a nightmare. Nothing like living in the states and going to the baking aisle at whole foods. Things like tapioca starch, sorghum and sweet rice flours, they are unheard of.
    If anyone knows how to find these things, please let me know. :)

    •  
      Kathryn says:

      We stay with family when we visit France but I haven’t baked there for fear of cross contamination. I didn’t notice gf flours in Carrefour or the bio markets, but if you have any Asian markets in your area you may want to look there. I find tapioca starch and various rice flours in Asian markets here in the states.

  17. 17
     
    Katie says:

    We were in Paris this past summer and the first place we went to for dinner happened to be run by a man that had celiac! It was called Au Gourmand and they were extremely accommodating.

  18. 18
     
    Katie says:

    We found it relatively easy to eat in Paris when we were there this summer. I wrote about the restaurants that we visited along with what I was able to eat at each of them.

    http://glutenfreeinsb.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/gf-in-paris/

  19. 19
     
    Dia says:

    Very interesting article!
    I just discovered a fun book (haven’t seen it yet) ‘French Kids Eat Everything” – & checked out their blog. There’s some interesting info on school meals, including a posting on lunch menus from different areas … & this overview – http://karenlebillon.com/2012/03/11/french-school-lunches-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly

    My daughter had the DNA testing a few years ago, she & her 2 girls have 2 genes for intolerance, & her hubby one for Celiac & one for intolerance, so we’ve been GF since. It’s helped in many ways (my symptoms didn’t seem as obvious, but I’m happy with the difference!) so it was interesting to read the comment that “If your child have serious allergies, you can negotiate a convenant called a Pacte d’accueil individualisé between the school, the cantine, your doctor, the school’s doctor and the parents. Generally, the Pacte d’accueil individualisé will authorize the child to bring a lunchbox with the food he can eat and store it in the cantine’s fridge.”

    In our Oregon schools, my granddaughters are only able to eat what’s on the menu ~ once a week, & take their lunches the rest of the time. We are also egg & dairy free, which complicate it more :)

    Thanks for a lovely look at GF dining in France!

  20. 20
     
    Morgan says:

    I’m in the South of France right now and have had a terrible time with the gluten free diet here so far. I ordered a fish dish from an English menu last night, and it came with a creamy sauce and pasta :( This morning the only thing in the entire breakfast lineup that I can eat is plain yogurt.

    I just came from Spain where it was easier, and I’ve done pretty well in Italy in the past as well.
    I would purchase a copy of the book right now if you had an electronic version…. (very easy to do these days).

    •  
      Kathleen Conner says:

      My husband and I spent the summer in France a few years ago. After trying everything we could think of, we finally gave up restaurants and went to a wine, cheese, and fresh fruit/veggie diet. If you go to specialty English supermarkets, or the “foreigner” sections of markets, there was an English brand of rice-flavored products called Patak’s I think. We had the little sans-gluten translation cards laminated, and tried all kinds of restaurants, but they just aren’t educated, and we kept getting so sick. Even some grocery products that didn’t have gluten-ingredients could make us sick. France is one of my favorite countries, but is EXTREMELY difficult without your own kitchen. Maybe you could find accomodations with a kitchen?

  21. 21
     

    Hi Morgan,
    I am the author of The Gluten-Free Guide to France. Thanks for your interest in the book. We don’t have a digital version available yet but we hope to have one by Sept. or so. Meantime, you are in the south of France so here are some of our recs:
    -Buffalo Grill is a chain with many locations and they have a specific list of what you can eat
    -cojean is a chain cafe that lists its GF offerings
    -Auberge du Parc in Correns is great for GF
    -La Defonce in Cassis is also very good for GF
    -in St Tropez the Auberge des Maures has many GF dishes

    Enjoy your trip.

  22. 22
     
    Jennifer says:

    We just returned from Paris, Brittany and Normandy and it was easy to find GF breads, cookies and pastas at the major french chains, Monoprix and Carrefour. They each had GF sections. Both had great products and the baguettes from Carrefour were FANTASTIQUE. EVERY SINGLE restaurant we asked (and we ate at many) had no problem heating our store bought breads through and serving them to us with plenty of delicious french butter! Also, the traditional buckwheat galettes all over France were delicious — the best one being at Le Cidrerie in Honfleur but honestly, every galatte was a 10 so theirs was a 12!

  23. 23
     
    Jude says:

    hey!
    In France right now. Thanks for your post, I was wondering why my usually successful gluten and dairy free pitch was getting such a frosty reaction and now I understand. I have found ‘sans farine de blé’ more successful than ‘sans gluten’ when asking waiters. And I am in Brittainy, home of the gluten free crèpe! Also, as in English, the wheat/buckwheat division is confusing, so I’ve been going with ‘sans farine de blé, mais le farine de blé noir marche pour moi’, or ‘no wheat, but buckwheat works for me.’
    Enjoyez!

  24. 24
     
    steven says:

    i am traveling to berlin,rome and paris next month and found these sites so helpful jotted down a few helpful phrases.i am traveling to thialand and sri lanka in jan anybody got any advice for these places

  25. 25
     
    Shanna says:

    I’ve wanted to travel the world and now I’m starting to feel like I can. I’ve got DH so mine is an allergy. So, if I were to eat wheat, rye, or barley my skin would break out in itchy gross blisters. It’s not very fun and being in France like that would ruin the entire experiance. Thank you so much!


Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Gluten-Free Travel: A Gluten-Free Guide To Paris | Celiac Chicks - June 12, 2011

    [...] There is now an official Gluten-Free Guide To France. The information below is still very helpful, but I thought you might want to use it along with our [...]

  2. » Guide For The GF Francophile - February 11, 2013

    [...] The Gluten-Free Guide To France Reviews of several places in France that serve gluten-free food from The Gluten-Free Guide To France. [...]

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Kelly Courson

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Thanks for stopping by! I'm Kelly Courson and this is where I've shared my gluten-free finds since 2003. The world has been my gluten-free oyster for 14 years now and I love sharing what I've learned in order to help others adapt to a gluten-free diet. Have a look around and feel free to leave a comment. Connecting with people like you is what has kept me going this long! Seriously.
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