Gluten free in France – is it possible?
I was speaking recently with a friend who told me that her niece is celiac, which means her body reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
She advised me that subsequently this means her niece never visits her in France as they feel it’s too difficult to plan where to buy groceries, and dine out.
Is it even possible to travel gluten free in a country famous for croissants and baguettes?
I am not gluten-intolerant myself, but I do know that in many countries I have visited, gluten free products are easily sourced and readily available at most supermarkets.
I have dined at many restaurants that offer gluten free options on their menus, as well as other customer-driven changes to menus such as Paleo options, dairy-free desserts and vegan meals.
Does France cater to tourists with allergies, food intolerances or dietary restrictions?
France is not a well-known dining destination for celiacs, lactose-intolerant tourists or visitors with food allergies. You may even feel underwhelmed if you’re a vegetarian or vegan.
Major supermarkets here in France do have a ‘bio’ selection, though it usually quite limited.
It is improving vastly though, and an increase in bio / organic stores and niche restaurants has meant an extended range of products for allergy sufferers, or foodies like me who want to decrease their consumption of processed foods.
Would you believe you can now find gluten free versions of artisan breads, delicious-looking French cakes and sweet treats like chocolate brownies and biscuits?
Why am I blogging about gluten free options in France when I don’t have any food allergies or intolerances myself?
My friend’s niece has inspired me to research and write this blog post – in English – for locals and tourists alike who may visit the French Riviera (and France!) and need to find restaurants or stores that sell specialty products such as gluten free foodstuffs, wholewheat baking goods, vegetarian, vegan and/or organic food.
Special note: My blog post is a source of information only – I am not an expert and you should ask questions of any suppliers or companies mentioned to confirm their products suit your particular needs. I have researched a lot and included as many website links as possible so you can contact the companies directly if you need more information. Please note all websites link to third party sources and therefore the information is subject to change at any time.
Bio / Organic Stores on the French Riviera
These stores sell organic food, allergy-free products, and natural health and beauty products. These stores are your best option to locate products that may be easily found abroad like chia seeds, coconut oil, spirulina or essential oils.
- biocoop.fr They have a retail store in Juan les Pins with fruits, vegetables, health and beauty products including suncreams and essential oils, cereals. It is at street-level and accessible for persons with reduced mobility.
- lavieclaire.com Bio shops with locations across France. French Riviera stores are located in Beausoleil, Cannes, Golfe Juan, Grasse, Villeneuve Loubet, Mougins, 2 stores in Nice, and Saint Raphael.
- Le Panier Vert, is a bio shop in Antibes on boulevard Maréchal Foch stocking breads, health supplements, seed mixes, organic wines, fruit, vegetables, baby food. Their website link isn’t working currently as at August 2014 but they are open during normal business hours.
- naturalia.fr A well-stocked store in Antibes Old Town open Monday through to Saturday. Fruits, vegetables, specialty cooking ingredients – flours, cereals, grains, nuts. Health products.
Supermarket Chains in France
- Picard, a frozen food chain, has a range of gluten-free items including baby food, soups, vegetable products, meat, chicken. You can order online or buy direct in their stores. The link for the range of their gluten-free products is here (in French) http://www.picard.fr/categories/regimes-alimentaires,default,sc.html#http://www.picard.fr/categories/regimes-alimentaires,default,sc.html?prefn1=rechercheContraintes&prefv1=sans-gluten&start=0&sz=12&view=0
- Casino, a large French chain of supermarkets, sell the Livwell range of gluten-free breads.
- Thiriet, another frozen food chain, sells gluten-free products online here http://www.thiriet.com/produits/liste/liste,30,862.html?&changer_ville=1&vars=ZmFtaWxsZV9pZD1TRkFNMS0wNC0wNCZyZXNldD0x#
Other Stores in France
- La Maison du Sans Gluten is located at 12 rue d’Hauteville, 75010 Paris. They stock a range of gluten-free specialty breads including bagels, buns, brioches, sandwich breads…they even sell gluten-free beer which I would be interested to try!
- mangersansgene.fr has information about their store based in Aubagne, with gluten-free, nut-free and organic products on offer. They also have an online store which is found at a different web address of www.mangersans.fr (in French)
- Marks & Spencer, a British chain, has a store in Beaugrenelle shopping mall, 3 rue Linois, 75015 Paris, selling a range of gluten-free goodies such as cookies, pasta, bread, cakes.
- GlutenZen offer breads and pastries via their website link (click on the link to access)
- allergoora.com is a website offering over 70 brands of food products that are milk-free, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free etc (website is in French)
- biscuits-antoine.com Company based in the Burgundy region of France offering biscuits and crackers without egg, sugar, nuts, soy etc (in French and English)
- enfin-sans-gluten.com An online site offering gluten-free biscuits, cakes, pizza bases, baking products including flour (in French)
- glutagene.fr Offers a range of gluten and allergen-free products including flour, sweet and savoury foods and also recipe suggestions (in French)
- gourmetsangene.com Gluten-free and naturally gluten products (in French)
- greenweez.com Thousands of products online, for gluten-free visit the ‘Epicerie’ section on their website (in French)
- http://leretouralaterre.fr Two stores in Paris with organic food, including gluten-free products and bio champagne (in French)
- lesdouceurs.fr Sell gluten-free biscuits including salted caramel macarons (in French)
- maisonpoetto.com Based in Marseille, offering products such as bread, flour, cakes, pasta (in French)
- natureetcompagnie.com Bio and gluten-free products including pasta, breads, biscuits (in French)
Ooshop is the online offering of Carrefour (French chain of supermarkets) with gluten-free products including pastas and desserts. This link should go through to the correct page, or search ‘sans gluten’ on their homepage to view products.
- parallerg.com Based in Lyon, products for diabetics and also those looking for dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free etc (in French)
- rizen-sans-gluten.com Offers over 800 gluten-free products (in French)
Dining out French Riviera
- chezhelen.fr Chez Helen, situated in Antibes, offers vegetarian and bio meals including lasagnas and salads.
- Le Comptoir is located in central Nice, a few minutes from Nice-Ville train station and offers organic and gluten-free food including menus of the day, vegan cakes and desserts. They have takeout options and cater for private events, yachts, and film crews.
- nicelifeinternational.com Nice Life International Café near Nice Port dishes up vegetarian and health-conscious meals including salads, juices and stuffed vegetables
- sortirsansgluten.com Website detailing gluten-free places to eat in Antibes, Cannes, Nice and Saint Laurent du Var.
Dining out Paris
- biospherecafe.fr/en Biosphère Café is a gluten-free patisserie/creperie/caterer in Paris. They have some tasty looking food on their menu including tiramisu with salted caramel, and raspberry cheesecake (in French and English)
- Exki with many Paris locations including Montparnasse and airport sites, offer natural foods, with gluten-free options clearly marked on their menus. Gluten-free dishes include spinach risotto and an Asian-inspired vermicelli with vegetables and wasabi. Their website gets bonus points for usability showing opening hours for each location, and even a search function for wheelchair-friendly accessibility, baby change facilities and Wifi.
- helmutnewcake.com 2 locations in Paris with gluten-free offerings
- lebiodadameteve.com Le Bio Adam and Eve, is an organic cafeteria and self-serve restaurant offering items like soba noodles with vegetables, smoked tofu salad and Thai chicken salad (website in French)
- noglu.fr I’m a fan of NoGlu (no gluten)’s modern website and the menu looks enticing even to a non gluten-intolerant person including sandwiches, quiches, foccacias etc. They also make cakes on pre-order (website in French)
- There is a great ‘Gluten Free Guide to Paris’ map on Pinterest, you can see it here
- Niépi, niepi.fr, is the first lifestyle and cuisine magazine in France on how to live a gluten-free lifestyle (in French).
- happycow.net Vegan and vegetarian-friendly website with list of French regions and locations of organic stores
- foodilly.com A helpful recipe website with search functions for allergies. For example, ‘low-glycemic index’, or ‘no lactose’.
- glutenfreejetset.com – A great resource with travel tips for celiacs, including a brilliant article about gluten-free policies on 80+ airlines.
- Dining cards (what a great idea!) from Triumph Dining are foldable and available in 10 languages to avoid translation issues with gluten-free meals. You can purchase them online here http://www.triumphdining.com/products/gluten-free-dining-cards
- Looking for a hotel that offers gluten free bread, cereals etc on the French Riviera (or Paris)? Visit this website for options http://www.glutenfreehotelsguide.com/city.php?id=60
Note: Celiac is the American, Australian and NZ spelling; coeliac is the UK and Irish spelling, coeliaque is the term used in France.
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