I am a lucky lady. So lucky I just spent 9 days in England and France. More if you count the endless flights, but that does not count and I’d also like to forget being crammed into a tiny space for 12 hours.
If you’ve read my book, you know that I stumbled my way through Paris the last time I was there and while this time I did better, well, let’s just say I was happy the focus of my gluten-free time was mostly London.
Since my diagnosis I have not visited England, and I was super stoked to go as it seems they know what’s up in the gluten-free world. Readers, I was not disappointed. London, Bath and beyond (see what I did there?) was enchanting not only for the food, but for the atmosphere and delightful history. We had so much fun, and I ate so well and SO safely. But more on that later. Right now, I’m going to focus on the 2 1/2 days I bravely returned to Paris, to try to redeem myself from my last visit. Le sigh.
My biggest mistakes in my return to the land of brioche were in not reviewing my French, and not following my own advice that I WROTE IN A FREAKING BOOK. If it’s important, write it down. Just remember to actually READ IT. D’oh. Just goes to show, life happens. Maybe you’ve been traveling every week for two months, wrapping up holidays before you leave town, and have two kids who have like, needs and stuff, and you don’t do your vacation prep. Maybe you think you’ll just bring a load of gluten-free chips from Jolly Old England on the Eurostar and everything will be fine.
Pro tip: Probably won’t be fine.
Still, I did manage to find some fabulous gluten-free food in Paris, which is very exciting. I also managed to get glutened within about 3 hours of my arrival. It’s what happens when you’ve been walking around for hours and are starving and pop into a cafe and order a drink and they nicely put down house made chips that you eat without asking one damn question because you KNOW what the answer will be. That’s just how I roll. Apparently.
So, the good stuff.
I had high hopes for Eric Kayser, especially since one was located 1 1/2 blocks from my Air BnB, but I discovered the take away bread is gluten-free, but everything else inside is not. I did find a lovely potato soup I could dip my gluten-free bread into and I decided that was enough. Because I was in Paris, goddammit, and I was at least having carbs.
I haven’t made it to Noglu in New York, but now I’ll make it a point when I’m back because, OMG, I had a mother scratching almond galette and I never want to eat anything else again for the rest of my life. I also ate the lemon tart, madeleines and a mini Buche de Noel. I made my time work for me, people.
This all gluten-free bakery and restaurant, which is across the alley, are reason enough to go to Paris. And since I was on limited time, I’m so glad I made it there for lunch and take home dessert.
While the pastries were clearly the best part, the entirely gluten-free restaurant was also delish. I couldn’t help it and got a burger, though the lasagna looked off the hook. I was just thrilled to be eating somewhere I could order in broken French and not be assured of getting a side of gluten with whatever landed on my plate. It was heavenly. I also met a lovely family from Cleveland with a teenager’ish daughter who’d been diagnosed with celiac as a baby. I bet she was even more psyched to be there since that kid has been chowing down on crumbly bread for decades. I hope she also got a galette from across the street. Or five.
Not at all a gluten-free restaurant, we stumbled onto this gorgeous, perfect restaurant when I was looking for the now closed, George (or hidden, I never did find the exact address) that used to offer a gluten-free menu. When we walked by Margherita with the warm outdoor seating (and this was winter, ya’ll) all four of us turned our heads and stared at the bespoke benches and picnic tables, filled with turines, wood oven baked pizzas, and a pile of juicy meats like you see above. The three-leveled restaurant also had games and artisanal cocktails –
And this was the door to the ladies, so you know I was in.
The staff was also very helpful, which was hard to find at times in Paris, so I felt completely comfortable dining on the few options they had that were gluten-free (very few, so love meat and cheese or skip it). I was even more comfortable after shoving some of this truffle covered burrata in my burrata hole.
After that we kind of grazed around, so I don’t have a specific restaurant recommendation. Mostly because I discovered many places may offer one pastry that’s gf, like Cafe Marlette and this gorgeous gluten-free cake.
It was as good as it looks. While the rest of the family ate avocado toast and salmon and other delicious things, I continued my tradition of going with dessert when that’s all you’ve got. Macarons are everywhere in Paris, and most of them are gluten-free.
Oh, and cheese. There’s always cheese in Paris.
And highly entertaining American movie posters translated into French.
It may have been the jet lag but we could not stop giggling at this.
I hope your holidays were as fab as ours, even with the struggle that is Paris.
More on London to come!