Nine years ago I was diagnosed with my gluten allergy. Nine years ago was also my first time in Paris, France. The city of love. Also the city of bread. Needless to say, I was the unhappiest tourist in Paris. Watching my siblings indulge in fresh baked croissants and loaves was quite hard, especially as I munched on rice cakes. Well nine years have passed, and I am excited to report that I had the most incredible 48 hours in Paris. From the delicious gluten-free breads and baked goods to the restaurants and activities… I did 48 hours in Paris RIGHT. And I want you to, too!
My friends and I met in Paris on our way to Mykonos and checked into the Prince de Galles Hotel. Located about ten minutes (walking) from the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and more, the hotel was not only beautiful but also extremely convenient. I am the queen of walking, and if it’s possible, I walked more my two days in Paris than I walk in an average week in Los Angeles. I even gave my New York walking days a run for their money!
First stop- breakfast. Our concierge told us La Belle Ferronniere was one of the most well known cafes in the area, so we gave it a try. Whenever I am in Europe I go to town on eggs, because they are fresh, richer, more flavorful, and the yolks are a nice, dark orange. Aka how eggs should be. I ordered the three egg omelette with herbs, and my friend ordered three fried eggs with prosciutto. Both entrees were absolutely DELICIOUS. There were no added oils or butter (ew) to the eggs, and they tasted so GOOD. It goes to show how food taste is so easily compromised when once processed.
Three bakeries in Paris I was told I must hit were Noglu, Helmut Newcake, and Chambelland. I decided to skip Noglu, as I’ve been to the location in NYC (although I’m told the one in Paris is even better!) and I hit Helmut Newcake on the first day and Chambelland on the second. Helmut Newcake is a 100% gluten-free bakery. It is super tiny, with no seating inside and just 3 small tables out front. I was a kid in a candy shop! The café serves everything from cookies and breads to éclairs and cakes. I am dairy-free, too, and the pastries that were dairy-free were clearly labeled. A good friend of mine told me I MUST order the chocolate éclair. If I wasn’t sold just by her suggestion, I saw the éclair had hazelnuts on it, and chocolate/hazelnut is my favorite combination. I can’t remember the last time I had an éclair!! The filling was so creamy, I had to go back inside and confirm that there really wasn’t any dairy in it. Turns out the dairy-free fillings are made with nut milk instead of cream!
Update: It’s two years later and I just came back from Paris! The first thing I did, you ask? I went straight to Helmut Newcake! However amazing I thought this cafe was before, wow it was even better than I remembered!!
I would say about 65% of the items contain dairy, and 35% are dairy-free. I’M GOING TO BE HONEST! You all know I am dairy-free, but the croissant and chocolate croissant looked SO INCREDIBLE that I had to have a bite… or two! And I did. And I felt fine!! They were also the most incredible pastries I have ever consumed. Wow. The majority of the breads are dairy-free, and I bought a few dinner rolls! Again, INCREDIBLE! The breads are made with rice flour.
That night for dinner we went to the famous L’Avenue. L’Avenue is most popular (and sceney) at lunch, but given our time crunch we went for dinner. Don’t worry, it’s just as sceney in the evening! Or I should say at night. We dined at 9pm at the tables out front, and it was still bright out! It doesn’t get dark in Paris until about 10pm this time of year!
L’Avenue’s menu is kind of my dream. Think of your favorite French Bistro’s menu, but make the cuisine 100x better. To start we ordered the Pommes Frites- best French Fries I’ve ever had. Just the right amount of salt, and cut shoestring style so you can indulge without feeling too full. We also ordered the sliced avocado, which consisted of two avocado halves sliced super thinly and dressed in olive and salt. Another homerun dish. For mains we ordered the prawns and lobster. My friends also indulged in the burrata (I’m dairy-free so this was a no-go), and the tuna tartar which I also sat out because it had soy. I also highly recommend the gluten-free salmon club!
On Day 2 we decided to check out the Eiffel Tower and hit the 10 district (I was told this was the Brooklyn of Paris).
For lunch, after visiting the tower, we stumbled upon Café de L’Alma. The café was beautiful and a bit on the upscale side. The first item listed on the menu was an Aperol Spritz… no shocker there! Throughout the week, everywhere I turned people were sipping on Spritz’. When the waiter came to take our order, my friends ordered their Spritz’s, and when I declined he joked, “why, are you driving?!” Drinking is such a big part of the French/European culture! The menu had everything from King Prawns, sliced avocado, salads and omelettes, to heavier dishes like free range chicken breast and seared sea bream.
I was amazed and impressed at how meat, poultry, and fish are served SIMPLY cooked with fresh oils, unlike America’s desire to drown everything in sauce. PRO TIP: The gluten culprit I had to constantly watch out for in Paris was soy! (And of course, bread). Tuna tartar and tuna dishes are generally dressed in a soy vinaigrette and therefore a no-go.
At the cafe, I ordered the baked eggs with crushed tomato (no cheese) and a side of the sliced avocado. This baked eggs dish was INCREDIBLE. Honestly one of the best I’ve ever had.
In the 10 district, we went to Chez Prune for Spritz and tea. I LOVE the 10 district, and although it was ~30 minutes outside of where we were staying, we were SO happy we made the trip. Sadly we didn’t get to the area in time for the Bastille Market (which is there on Thursday’s and Sunday’s), but we walked up and down the canal, people watched, and enjoyed our stroll.
Chambelland, gluten-free bakery number 3, was in this area! Again, everything is gluten-free, with select items dairy-free, too! I ordered the sugar loaf with chocolate and orange. You can have your loaf served whole or sliced into mini squares. This loaf was SUPER interesting… I’ve never had anything like it! It was somewhere between bread and a pastry, and the orange added just the right amount of sweetness. Contrary to what I had heard, their famous chocolate chip cookie is NOT dairy-free. For my matcha drinkers, they also have matcha/green tea! But no steamed nut milk, so no lattes!
That evening we hit the town. Our first stop was Monsieur Mouche. This beautiful bar on the water was awesome! Delicious cocktails and a cool, trendy vibe- dress to impress! This bar was located right by Crazy Horse, or the “Moulin Rouge for locals.” This was one of the COOLEST burlesque shows I have ever seen. Yes there was nudity, but it was classy AF. I’d go with my parents, friends, boyfriends, whoever! It was SO cool and the highlight of our Paris trip. Tables are served champagne as they watch, and a bread and cheese plate, which I clearly did not indulge in, ha!
The last stop on our Tour de Paris was Hotel Costes, the most recommended destination by all of our friends. For my New Yorkers, think Bowery/Mercer Hotels, and for my Los Angelinos, think Chateau/Sunset Tower. The hotel is dark, the vibe is chic, and the clientele is sophisticated for sure. Hotel Costes might be my new favorite place in Europe! Oh and to top it off, the menu was the same as L’Avenue! Did I mention the menus note a special gluten-free salmon and avocado sandwich?! I didn’t order it on either occasion, but totally plan to on my next trip. We basically ordered all of our favorites from the night before, plus a few additional items and rounds of tequila, because it was our last night in Paris so why not?!
Paris was INCREDIBLE. When it comes to food- order an omelette, prawns, fries, or main course entrée that is simply grilled- you can’t go wrong! When it comes to beverages- order a Spritz- they are everywhere! And when it comes to your experience- do yourself a favor and go with a solid crew like I did. We were all smiles, ALL. THE. TIME.
HI AGAIN! It’s me! And it March 5th, 2020. I just came back from Paris and I wanted to give you all a little update! You read earlier that I went to Helmut Newcake, and following Helmut I went to L’Avenue for the salmon club. Here are some new spots I went to! And let me tell you… I did this trip RIGHT.
Caviar Kaspia- One of the nicest restaurants in Paris. They are FAMOUS for their caviar stuffed baked potatoes and Blinis (Russian pancakes). The baked potato is stuffed with cream and dairy, but they happily made mine dairy-free! This was SO good; bless the fact that potatoes are gluten-free. I also highly recommend the Smoked Salmon blini… you can have a gluten-free blini! The smoked salmon was seriously some of the freshest I have ever had!
LouLou- Wow. Not only is Loulou (in the Lourve) SO delicious, but it was also so fun and such a vibe. We ordered the gluten-free pasta, Durade with crisp artichokes, and tuna tartar (always makes sure there is no soy in the tartar). The meal was AMAZING.
Cafe Charlot- On my first night in Paris, I had the night free and I was shopping in Le Marais. I got hungry, so I decided I would walk around and stop into the first cafe/restaurant that looked super cute. Insert Cafe Charlot. It was so charming, had a nice crowd, and the menu looked perfect so I gave it a try. It was EVERYTHING. A delicious salmon and side of vegetables; the experience was charming from start to finish. I highly recommend going here!!