My favorite part about living in Paris was walking through the streets and discovering the most beautiful boulangerie and patisserie windows with their baguettes, croissants and decadent pastries. While I could indulge in the world’s finest breads pastries, my husband with celiac disease had to stick to macaroons! In 2010, the words “sans gluten” were foreign to restaurant and bakery owners. The concept of pastry without the gluten was unthinkable. And yet, 6 years later, gluten free has taken hold. In Paris, you can now find bakeries selling gluten-free breads, sandwiches and pastries.
The city’s gluten-free dedicated gluten free bakery is Helmut Newcake, a pastry shop less than a 10-minute walk from the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps in the Ninth Arrondissement. The display windows at Helmut Newcake are stacked with delicate fruit tarts and cream filled éclairs, typical of the traditional boulangerie.
Not far from Helmut Newcake, near the Louvre, the famed French baker Eric Kayser, too, has gluten-free offerings on the Rue de l’Échelle. Since Eric Kayser is not a dedicated gluten free bakery like the others, they pre-wrap all of the gluten free offerings. The cellophane wrapped cakes and cookies appear un-appealing in the case, especially compared to their neighboring fresh regular bread and pastry options.
There is a separate area dedicated to various types of gluten free breads including chickpea bread, buckwheat bread, and multi-grain bread. We bought one of each loaf to try. To be frank, I didn't like the gluten free bread at Eric Kayser as much as I hoped I would. The loaves were dense and heavy. But it's so fun to be able to purchase gluten free treats at one of Paris's most well established bakeries!
You can also find artisanal leavened breads made with flours like rice and buckwheat at Chambelland in the 11th Arrondissement. At Chambelland, as at La Maison Kayser and Helmut Newcake, they don’t use the food-grade preservatives that are the norm in North American gluten-free products. We sat outside the very crowded restaurant and enjoyed the most delicious lunch. There are a select number of sandwiches offered daily and once they are sold out, they don't make more. We finished eating at 12:30 and two out of the three sandwich options were already sold out! Josh and I shared the tomato, basil and mozzarella sandwich and the tuna sandwich on a large fresh focaccia. We could not resist tasting the raspberry tart for dessert. It tasted as beautiful as it looked in the bakery case.
We loved Chambelland so much that we went back the next day again! We bought a loaf of Chambelland’s pain aux cinq grains (the five grains being buckwheat, sunflower, gold and brown flax, poppy seed and sesame) to eat at our hotel breakfast. Most Paris hotels still don't offer gluten free bread at breakfast. We can't expect them to progress that quickly!
NOGlue is an entirely gluten free restaurant featuring French cuisine. Located in an alleyway in the 7th arrondissement, they are open for dinner only and require reservations in advance. The space is tiny, so they fill up quite quickly. If you can't make it to the restaurant, be sure to stop by the take-away bakery just across the way. We stopped their for an afternoon snack when the restaurant was closed. The tomato and mozzarella panini was just delicious!