Welcome to Paris… Part Deux!

Paris was wonderful and I had no difficulty eating. My food choices were limited because I have to avoid gluten, eggs and milk but that is the case at home too. I never got sick and that was the point!

I took a lot of snack foods with me — Lara bars, cookies, and fruit and nut mix. There were no problems taking this food through security and customs… despite my husband’s pre-travel concerns! If you need to supplement your snack food, there are fruit and vegetable markets all over the city where you can easily purchase your favorite fruit.

Even though I ordered a gluten-free meal for the flight from Boston to Paris, I brought my own food and happily ate that rather than take any chances. On the flight home from Paris on Air France I did eat the meals. The food trays came covered in plastic with a little information card entitled, “special meals catering.” This card stated that my meal was a “special meal convenient for gluten intolerant people and low lactose meal.” It went on to say that the meal had been developed with the advice of dietitians and nutritionists. Believe it or not, the food was good.

While in Paris, I ate a lot of potatoes, broiled tomatoes, fresh fruit salad, ham (ham seems to be very popular in France), and pommes frites (i.e. french fries). While usually I am not a huge meat eater (or a meat eater at all) I had to make an exception on this trip.

We did not have any difficulties at any of the restaurants. Every waiter was familiar with gluten. It helped enormously that my husband, son and I spoke to the waiters in French. Each time we mentioned that I could not eat ble (i.e. wheat) the waiter would look at me and say gluten? My husband was able to communicate especially well and they seemed to really appreciate the effort.

I researched gluten-free friendly restaurants before leaving but we didn’t make it to any of them. Our itinerary was planned around the sites we wanted to see and not the restaurants where I could eat so we had to make do with the restaurants available to us when we got hungry.

Every single restaurant we encountered had french fries (pommes frites). These fries were cooked fresh without added coatings and served piping hot with salt and no catsup.

Most menus also had a fresh fruit salad dessert option and people actually order it. Amazing! Several times, I had to do what I do at home — peruse a menu and put together my own meal. If I saw boiled potatoes mentioned as part of one meal and ham as part of another, I asked for ham and potatoes and it was no problem. If you enjoy eating steak, steak frites (steak and fries) also is on many menus. I had no problems having this plain without any sauce and grilled using olive oil instead of butter.

If gluten is your only food restriction you will have an even easier time of it. You will be able to enjoy all those wonderful cheeses!! The yogurt looked amazing. According to my son, it is thicker and creamier than our yogurt. The ice cream looked pretty yummy too and did I mention the chocolate…

Copyright © by Tricia Thompson, MS, RD

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Paris Gluten Free: Part 2