Baguettes. Kouign-amanns. Croissants. It’s a known fact that Paris knows how to master the finer things in life—specifically the most glutinous, satisfying bites your mouth will ever encounter. You’ll be hard pressed to avoid the tempting freshly baked bread smell that wafts through the city streets at sunrise. What to do in glutenville if you go gluten-free? Ten years ago, we would have sent out a warning signal saying, “Don’t do it.” Nowadays, there are a bevy of satisfying alternatives.
Lindsey Tramuta of the popular blog Lost In Cheeseland, and author of The New Paris: The People, Places & Ideas Fueling a Movement, has seen the city rapidly change over the past decade. Tramuta says the gluten-free options are “symbolic of a broader shift in consumption,” noting that people are now looking for healthier options. The key buzzword is “movement.” Several years ago, Tramuta notes, it would have been challenging to find good eats with dietary restrictions. Now that’s not the case. Her book showcases some of the most influential tastemakers in the business, who are shaping the future of Paris’s culinary scene.
“A handful of gluten-free bakeries and eateries have convinced locals that forgoing gluten doesn’t have to mean the end of indulgence,” she writes in The New Paris. “More importantly, they are godsends for gluten-intolerant travelers who can now happily partake in the Parisian pastry experience.” Whether celiac or gluten-free by choice, Paris proves your palate can still be wowed.
Here, a guide to several worthy gluten-free stops in the City of Light—pizza, bread, and Michelin-starred dining included.
Mix it up with Mediterranean fare at Le George, a one-Michelin-starred restaurant that’s also inside the Four Seasons Hotel George V. Chef Simone Zanoni’s energy and passion is conveyed through dishes such as onion tart with Parmesan ice cream, melt-in-your-mouth crudo variations, and house-made pasta. Salivating yet? Gluten-free guests will be delighted to know that Zanoni has carefully sourced great suppliers of gluten-free corn pasta (spaghetti and penne) that is, believe it or not, “almost as delicious as the ones we produce ourselves,” he adds. “We set up a strong gluten-free structure, with a separated bread basket prepared in advance in case we receive any last-minute requests.” Three-quarters of the dishes are gluten-free adaptable upon request. “Our main objective is to make sure every guest will feel comfortable, at home, and not different.’”
“You’ll need to plan ahead, but don’t be panicked about it,” Tramuta notes of seeking out some of the more sought-after dining spots. You’ll find that most chefs are very adaptable, and it only requires a quick phone call to alert the restaurant of your dietary restrictions. Dersou—where a tasting menu involves innovative fare with cocktail pairings—can accommodate those with gluten intolerances given proper notice.
Niébé is a new soul-food spot with a spotlight on Brazil and African cuisines. “Dishes range from mafé to xinxim and bobó, all of which are naturally gluten-free,” says Tramuta.
Jah Jah, a new outpost by owners Coralie Jouhier and Daqui Gomis of Le Tricycle—a veggie hot dog spot on wheels—brings new gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan eats to the mix. Le Tricycle dogs grace the menu, plus other intriguing African- and American-inspired bites like hearty bowls and raw cheesecake desserts.
Casual Eateries Biglove Caffé—which took over healthy outpost Rose Bakery—has an entire menu section dedicated to flavorful, gluten-free Neapolitan pizzas. “I liked the simplicity and freshness of the Rokékette,” Tramuta notes of the pizza, topped off with San Marzano tomatoes and creamy buffalo mozzarella.
At Marché des Enfants Rouges, the city’s oldest covered market, dating back to 1628, a line forms around the corner of Chez Alain Miam Miam. Chef Alain’s gourmet sandwich is the main attraction, but, as of late, savory buckwheat galettes are gaining popularity. Stuffed to the rim with everything you can imagine—sautéed onions, mushrooms, avocado, Comté cheese, lettuce, tomato, and more—there’s a legit reason people wait in line for 90-plus minutes: It’s that damn good.
A frequent lunch spot for the fashion elite that’s referenced in The New Paris is La Guinguette d’Angèle—serving a bounty of health-conscious and gluten-free options. Artful salads, soups, and cakes grace the menu.
Confections and Cafés
A stop at Pierre Hermé for the best macarons in Paris is a given. Thankfully the delicate treats are naturally gluten-free, but “not made in a lab suitable for celiac sufferers,” notes Tramuta. Savory buckwheat galettes and sinfully filled sweet crepes from Breizh Café—often touted as the best place for a crepe in the city—are well worth the wait. La Meringaie is a locals’ favorite and an obvious staple for light, airy, and fragrant meringue concoctions. Casually pop in Wild & the Moon for healthy gluten-free snacks, salads, smoothies, and cold-pressed juices.
Gluten-free travelers can also learn the ropes of Paris with a three-day workshop and culinary tour. The Gluten Free Gluttony, offered via Airbnb’s new Experiences initiative, is led by Chiara Russo of Baci di Dama—who suffers from celiac disease but still manages to eat beautifully. Visit a few of her favorite spots, like Café Pinson for “Formule Petite Dejeuner”—a divine breakfast complete with fresh-pressed juice, coffee, or tea (the turmeric latte is heaven), madeleines (made fresh daily), and granola—and newly opened Onyriza for a gorgeous fruit tart. Also on the agenda is shopping at La Maison du Sans Gluten(Paris’s sole gluten-free shop, carrying tempting pasta and pastry items), followed by a gluten-free cooking class with a chef to end.