My husband and I are on our honeymoon in Europe. We started in London, and now we’re wrapping up our time in Paris. Traveling abroad while following a restricted diet is always a challenge, especially in countries where bread and gluten are prominent, but with a few handy tips and a little bit of preparation, it is totally possible to have a successful trip full of great food. This week, I’m sharing some of my strategies for having a smooth travel experience while following an elimination diet.
Before I left for this trip, I did a couple simple searches for gluten-free and low carb/paleo dining options in the three cities we will be visiting. This allowed me to get a general sense of how easy it will be to find food that I will be able to eat (I’ve been to each of these cities before, but that was in the days before I had food restrictions) and to start to plan my itinerary. Simple searches for “Gluten free [city]” and “Paleo [city]” or “Paleo restaurants [city]” yielded lots of results, including restaurant recommendations and firsthand accounts of successful gluten-free and paleo-friendly itineraries in these cities.
I expected Paris to be the trickiest city to navigate, given the bread- and pastry-choked stereotype of French food. I know that the stereotype is just that, but that bread and pastry do play a significant role in French cuisine, as do thick sauces, cream and butter. Luckily, the French take all food seriously, so with this bread and dairy comes a great deal of high quality, fresh, and often local produce and protein. I expected to just have to stick to those options, but my research actually revealed that Paris is no different from many western major cities in its desire to serve those who require gluten-free foods.
Unfortunately, Paris doesn’t seem to be as eager to please the grain-free market as London, but I am excited that I’ll still be able to have a few gluten-free treats. It’s worth noting, however, that eating grain-free in Paris is not going to be difficult at all – any quality restaurant will offer good quality meat, fish, vegetables and fruits – it’s just a question of side stepping all of the bread. Plus, French markets of all kinds are one of my favorite destinations in Paris, and given that we’re staying in an Air B&B apartment, I will be able to cook for myself, too! So, I’m not at all worried about going hungry.
Here are the resources I found most helpful in planning my meals for the Paris leg of our trip:
- Gluten Free Eating and Dining in Paris (Source: David Lebovitz)
- Gluten Free Pastries and Crepes in Paris (Source: Gluten Free Blog)
- A Gluten Free Guide to Paris (Source: Celiac Chicks)
- Five Excellent Gluten Free Dining Options in Paris (Source: Claire Bakerok)
- Gluten Free Paris (Source: Adventuresome Kitchen)
- A Trip To Paris – What To Eat? (Source: Paleo Hacks; See Comments)
- Gluten-Free in Paris (Source: Gluten Free Mom)
- Yelp: Gluten Free Search Results – Paris
Simply searching and reading other people’s advice and experience allowed me to compile my Paris restaurant wishlist, which I’ve worked into our schedule. At the top of my list are:
- Little Breizh Creperie (most crepes are made with wheat flour, but this one uses buckwheat)
- Helmut Newcake and Noglu (both restaurants have an entirely gluten free menu!!)
- Laduree (macarons are quintessentially French and naturally gluten-free, and Laduree makes the best. Yes, they are full of sugar so definitely a treat, but you didn’t expect me to pass up the one mothership of macarons, now did you?)
- La Mediterranee
- Naturalia (<– can’t tell if this is a natural foods store, a cafe, or both. Anyone know?)
If you’d like more information about where I ended up eating in Paris, you can read about it here.
Let’s talk Turkey! In the next post, I’ll share some of the best gluten- and grain-free options in Istanbul – and you might be surprised by how easy it is to stick to your elimination diet there. If you want more trip updates, you can follow me on Instagram too!