Gluten Free Mama in Paris

I’ve been meaning to write this post for months.  Thinking about next year’s travel adventures reminded me to finally write about surviving Paris sans Gluten!

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Looking back on my recent extended stay in Paris with my four young homeschoolers, my thoughts shift to Musee Rodin, the Saint-Germain piscine, Pont des Arts, Paris Plage, street art/graffiti, French language classes, and cafe lattes.  I can’t help but smile and think about how much I miss that trip.

But when I think about our stay in Paris, gluten (or how much gluten I missed eating) is nowhere to be found.  Though my former gluten eating self loved, loved, LOVED baguettes, bagels, and everything baked with wheat flour, I know how much better I feel without gluten in my diet.  I’m not celiac, but I definitely have gluten issues.  The feeling and knowing how bad I would feel if I indulged in French pasteries or bread made it fairly easy to resist tempting gluten-filled treats in Paris.

So what did I eat?  Avoiding gluten gave me the chance to try different salads and eat cleaner.   I bought fresh fruit, veggies and herbs at local farmers’ markets, and made lots of yummy food and snacks in our cute little Parisian apartment, like delicious guacamole. I also stocked up on gluten-free choices at Monoprix or the nearest hypermarche – Supermarche Carrefour.  Eating at “home” a bit more often than I might have otherwise and declining baked goodies, gave me a guilt-free excuse to indulge in cafe lattes at French cafes.  I tried lots of coffee at many different coffee shops.  My kids say, and they are correct, that my coffee addiction began in Paris.

I survived weeks in Paris without a single baguette or crepe.  I didn’t make it to one of the dedicated gluten free restaurants in Paris, though I did have a decent salad at Brasserie Balzar (hat tip to Gluten Free Mom for suggesting that place for its gluten free options, though I actually thought the options were somewhat limited there or perhaps I was just too picky that day). For on the go “backpack” snacks, I found gluten free chocolate covered rice cakes (and a gluten free section) at the small Carrefour express/market stores scattered throughout Paris.

If you’re dreaming about going to Paris but are hesitant because you don’t do gluten, set your worries aside and start planning your trip!