It happens to the best of us… the dreaded “glutening,” when you accidentally ingest gluten and then suffer tremendously. I am sharing this story for a lot of reasons. First of all, I want to be honest with my readers and let you know that a seasoned celiac such as myself gets sick sometimes. Also, I wanted to address “victim shaming.” Some details might be a little gross. You’ve been warned.
2018 was another big year for Gluten-Free Globetrotter. I went to six countries, traveled via air and car around 100,000 miles (if not more), and moved back to New York City from California via a cross-country road trip. One of my favorite trips of the year was an unexpected work trip to Singapore. What a beautiful and interesting country. I also loved my cross-country road trip with my mom and South Dakota was a surprise fave from the drive. I also went to Mexico, France, and Germany and yes, I still need to write about all of those trips too!
With all of these adventures, I did a lot of gluten-free eating but also met a lot of wonderful people across the globe. Honestly, meeting fellow celiac travelers is always a highlight of travel for me. These women (always women, go figure!) never let their diagnosis and gluten-free life stop them from seeing the globe. These are my people! I get giddy when I have another gluten-free “blind date” with these celiac friends from near and far… and some of these meet ups were very far from home.
My friend Nadine, aka the GlutenFreeRN, is hosting an amazing cruise on the Danube River in July 2018. This 7-night cruise from Budapest to Vilshofen includes three gluten-free meals each day, free flowing red and white wine, and deluxe cruise accommodations in an outside stateroom. There will also be live entertainment, cooking demos, and so much more. This gluten-free cruise really does sound like a once in a lifetime opportunity. The cruise is almost full so if you are interested, don’t delay.
I was working on this follow-up post about Paris for a while now. I was quite upset by the Paris terrorist attacks in November, just a few short weeks after my trip, so I put this on pause. To think that locals and tourists in Paris were enjoying a night out in the city only to be disrupted by total carnage was so disturbing. Add on top of that the new friends and my boyfriend’s family living in Paris and I just felt too sad to write a post celebrating a city that was in mourning.
Then I read a great post by trop travel writer Wendy Perrin called “7 Keys to Traveling Without Fear Despite Terrorist Attacks” and I knew I needed to follow-up with my gluten-free travel tips for Paris. Being a New Yorker who saw how the city desperately wanted to bounce back after 9/11, I wanted to contribute to Paris’s healing through tourism. As Wendy’s article emphasizes, the probability of being in a terrorist attack situation is quite low. We cannot let evil take away from our ability to travel the world. I urge you to go to continue to travels. While you might not want to visit Paris right now, please bookmark these tips for your future trip!
Gluten-Free Globetrotter Travel Tips for Paris
Visit the Farmers’ Markets. One of my favorite “finds” of the week in Paris was the Oberkampf-area farmers market. We stumbled upon this market one rainy morning and wandered around looking at all of the fresh produce, amazing cheeses, and even the random rabbit (to eat!) Much of the food was naturally gluten-free, so this is a great place to shop especially if you are planning a Parisian picnic. There are many farmers markets on different days all around Paris, so be sure to find one near you!
Go the supermarket. The most popular supermarkets in Paris seem to be Marks and Spencers, Carrefour, and Monoprix. All three chain supermarkets have gluten-free options if you look carefully. Marks and Spencers have pre-made gluten-free sandwiches (look for Sans Gluten in a green package in the refrigerator case) and they have their own line of Free From foods.
Drink gluten-free beer with caution! Most of the gluten-free beer I found in Paris was “deglutenized” or gluten-removed. In France, this can still be labeled gluten-free which is different here in the states. These beers have barley malt that is deglutenized. I drank one but didn’t drink another because I was too nervous about getting sick.
Bring translation cards. Don’t be shy about using them. Not all of my waiters understood what gluten-free meant, but they shared the card with the chef and it was helpful. Also, learn a few key phrases like “sans gluten” (gluten-free).
Get a great map. I found the streets and “arrondissements” (neighborhoods) of Paris slightly confusing but having a map helps. I looked for maps in NYC before I left, but the best maps are found in Paris. I bought mine at the very top of the Arc de Triomphe.
Download the Paris Metro app from iTunes. This app was fantastic and you don’t need internet connection to use the app. I used this every time we took the metro. The metro is very easy to use and got us around everywhere with no problems. There are multi-day tickets that save you money on the metro as well as top tourist sites that we used.
Go early. Paris is a very crowded city. My boyfriend and I made sure to get up early each day to get a jump on the crowds. Even going to the Louvre early in the morning we waited for more than 30-40 minutes to get inside!
Bring gluten-free food to the cafe or bar, but ask first. I went to a number of bars and cafes that did not serve food but served wine and great coffee. I always asked before taking my own food out of my bag, but the staff usually had no problem with me bringing in bread from Chambelland or Marks and Spencers. They came in handy when we were at a bar that served charcuterie and cheese. Click here for more recommendations on bakeries!
Drink wine! Wine is sometimes cheaper than bottled water and ALWAYS cheaper than soda. And it’s great wine, French don’t settle for crappy wine. Cheers! Salut!