I do speak French which certainly helps but you can find coeliac translation cards online which I'd urge you to take on any foreign trips. Here's a great site which provides them. I took some emergency gluten free cereal bars but didn't need them as we found some fantastic places.
Le Jules Verne by Alain Ducasse at the Eiffel Tour
First up was quite an extraordinary dining experience. We were lucky enough to go to Le Jules Verne which is situated half way up the Eiffel tour and therefore has a spectacular view! It's also Michelin starred which usually means they're pretty clued up on what's gluten free. They were great at adapting the dishes, I did ask what a 'Savarin' was on the dessert menu and was told in no uncertain terms that it was "absolutely impossible for you", but you just have to get used to the direct style of French waiters! The food was sensational. A definite highlight was my starter of Meurette-style egg - a baked egg in a red wine sauce with bacon and vegetables. It sounds simple, but was beautifully rich with flavour, the way French cuisine often is. The dessert was one of the best I've eaten anywhere. Soft chocolate mousse with shards of tempered chocolate, cubes of mint jelly and a mint 'snow', a beautifully fresh way to end the meal.
|Meurette style Egg|
|Cep mushroom soup|
|Roasted pork with stuffed onion|
|Slow cooked ox cheek|
|Chocolate and mint|
|Red Thai Curry|
Breakfast can be a little more challenging but there's plenty of brasseries that will serve you an omelette. If however, you fancy some authentic bread, French madeleines and macaroons then get to Noglu! Noglu is a totally gluten free restaurant and if we were heading back I'd definitely check it out for dinner. We arrived hungry at 10am on the dot and in true French fashion they weren't quite ready for us, but I'm glad we hung around! The fresh gluten free bread was one of the best I've ever had and was served with some excellent jams. The picture says it all really - a great gluten free breakfast!
|Breakfast at Noglu|
|Breakfast at Noglu|
Twitter is a great tool for finding like minded coeliacs and this was how I discovered this gem. It's a vegetarian restaurant near the Sorbonne and serves a select number of specials at lunch. They label what's gluten free clearly and all the desserts were gluten free. We had a hearty fish dish, served on some crushed potatoes with greens in a white sauce. It was a really warming dish, especially as it provided a perfect escape from the showery weather. We shared a carrot cake and chocolate cake and both were great, you wouldn't have been able to tell they were gluten free!
|Lunch at Tugalik|
Our original dinner choice, didn't quite go to plan. The place I remembered visiting a few years ago was empty so we headed off in search of somewhere else which looked a bit more lively. We found Bo Man Café, an excellent brasserie which was bustling with natives, so we went in. There was a great atmosphere and both of us went for the classic Steak & Frites. Chips are a fairly safe option in France as they don't deep fry much else but it's always worth checking. The rib eye steak was great, cooked medium and rare and full of flavour. We shared another classic for dessert - creme brulée - often a safe bet for those looking for gluten free options. And of course, it was all washed down with a compulsory caraf of red wine!
Helmut Newcake is a coeliac's heaven! You're greeted with a display of lots of delicate looking pastries, normally a torturous sight, but in Helmut Newcake, there's one difference, they're totally gluten free! It's a fantastic place which also sells gluten free products if you're planning on doing any cooking. The cakes were simply divine, so good that we had to buy some for the Eurostar home!
|Pastry selection at Helmut Newcake|
|Lemon meringue pastry|
|Salted caramel choux bun|