We were in a jet lagged haze, wandering down the street, looking for something quick and affordable for lunch. This is a worst case scenario for me on a regular day, as I usually like to have a plan for eating so things go more smoothly and I end up eating better food and avoiding the foods I can’t eat. But in a foreign country?? I didn’t know the neighborhood or the language, and I was having a hard time discerning good quality food from mediocre just by looking at the menu or peeking in the windows.
We were in Paris, known for it’s bread and long lunches, not a quick gluten free bite. But within ten minutes, we received a travel miracle! We stumbled upon a small restaurant with a sign out front proclaiming gluten free crêpes, and additionally, English spoken.
When traveling with dietary restrictions, my cardinal rule is to have a plan for when and where I can eat. And even then I sometimes end up needing to pull out the stash of almonds that I always carry with me in my bag. I am still amazed that we happened to find gluten free food just by walking down the street, and then went on to see some beautiful sights, all without a plan!
So, should you also be in a jet lagged haze in the 9th arrondissement in Paris, I would recommend a little place called Krêp (11 Rue La Fayette). They serve traditional Breton crêpes, called galettes, which are made with buckwheat flour, and are therefore naturally gluten free. Note that the sweet dessert crêpes are made with regular flour, but you can ask to have yours made with buckwheat flour instead.
Afterwards, you can continue on down Rue La Fayette to the department store Galeries Lafayette. There’s a café on the top floor with amazing views, perfect for an afternoon coffee or tea. Across the street (35 Boulevard Haussmann) is their gourmet food hall, with lots of delicious French foods that are naturally gluten free (cheese! wine! chocolates! macarons! spices! fancy mustards! jams!) and they also have a small gluten free section, great for cookies, bread, and pasta.
There are many other crêperies in Paris serving traditional buckwheat galettes, and two that I’ve tried include West Country Girl (6 Passage Saint-Ambroise, 11e) and Breizh Café (109 Rue Vieille du Temple, 3e. This place is more popular, so call ahead to make a reservation). If you end up at another crêperie, look at the menu for crêpes made with “farine blé noir” or “farine sarrasin,” both of which mean buckwheat flour.