We went to Paris in October. We were able to eat vegetarian and gluten free without any incidents. This trip came just 6 months after diagnosis of our 5 year old daughter.
We travel a lot. The first thing I do is look up the vegetarian restaurants in the country, if anyone is going to understand food issues it is going to be the vegetarians. Also, most vegetarian restaurants have English speaking staff.
Here are some lists of Vegetarian Restaurants and health food stores.
Many of the lists are old so you have to do some research to make sure the establishments are still open and have not moved.
A good place to confirm the existence is in the "Pages Yellow" http://www.pagesjaunes.fr/trouverlesprofessionnels/index.do
This is an awesome version of mapquest where you get walking instructions and photos of the building when approached from all directions!
I do speak a little French and I spoke A LOT of French while we were there. I am now very good at explaining what we can not eat in French. If you do not speak French then here are some resources for you:
Vegetarian French Phrases:
I plan all of our activities based on nearby veg restaurants or health food stores. That way we are not wondering around looking for food on an empty stomach.
The first thing I do when we get there is to find the nearest health food store and buy a stash of GF foods.
We carried, GF snack bars, GF bread and crackers with us everywhere. If you eat cheese then it is easy to eat on the run if you have your bread.
We always had GF bread with us- we even fed the pigeons GF bread. Here are photos of our trip: http://www.katherinetrinity.com/current/102005_paris/102005_paris.html
Our hotel did provide breakfast. We brought our own GF croissants and used their butter, cheese and jelly and then drank their coffee and chocolate.
Ask where the nearest "BIO" store is- This is the equivalent of a special-diet-store-slash-pharmacy. In these stores you can get brands like VALPIFORM, BIAGLUT & SCHAER.
We found the VALPIFORM brand to be far superior to anything we have even had in the states. They had AMAZING badguettes, croissants, pain au chocotale and madeline cakes. Here is what the packages look like: http://www.valpiform.net/ssfam.asp?PageOrigine=ssfam&famille=08%2E01%2E - http://www.valpiform.net/ssfam.asp?famille=06. - http://www.valpiform.net/ssfam.asp?PageOrigine=ssfam&famille=01%2E02%2E
We actually brought back a small suitcase of baguettes and croissants and we dream about the Madelines- did not get back with any of them, as we ate them all while we were there.
Many stores place their special orders on Wednesdays, and they arrive on Sunday.
The Schaer breads were pretty good- much better than most shelf packaged GF breads here:
Schaer has a new line of Organic GF breads and pastas- Have not tried them but you might look for them: http://www.schaer.com/en/products/solena/
We did not really care for the Biaglut products, they were more similar to EnerG bread products.
PLACES WE SHOPPED AND ATE
RENDEZ-VOUS DE LA NATURE (store)
96, rue Mouffetard
Tél: 01 43 36 59 34
This is where we did the majority of our shopping- they carry a great stock of GF foods and speak English.
There is a healthfood restaurant on the corner, near this shop. We had a good meal there.
LES 4 et UNE SAVEURS
72 rue Card Lemoine 75005
Close to Place de la Contrescarpe. Métro/subway station: Jussieu or Monge.
Tel: 01 43 26 88 80
Organic, Macrobiotic, Vegetarian & fish. No smoking.
Open Tues - Sun, noon - 3pm & 7.15 - 10.30pm (11pm in summer)
** We ate here 4 times, as it was VERY close to our hotel. The food was PREFECT! They were very knowledgeable about GF food and made meals especially for us.
AU GRAIN DE FOLIE
24, rue La Vieuville - Paris 75018 - M>Abesses
Amazing little place with about 3 tables. The food was AMAZIng the owner was very knowledgeable about GF food.
They do have limited hours- I think they open at 5:30 PM
41 Rue du Temple 75004
We were able to eat brunch here- however it is an overpriced spot. This is a place where ex-pats used to gather on weekends when I lived in Paris. I was able to get a GF veg meal. I think I had an omelet and a salad. This restaurant is set in a courtyard of a dance studio.
ELAN NATURE (store)
107 bis, av du Général Leclerc
75014 Paris Tél: 01 45 42 35 00
139, av de Verdun
92130 Issy les Moulineaux Tél: 01 41 08 06 17
These store are everywhere! The last 2 digits of the zip code tell you what "AREA" something is located in.
Rue Xavier Rivas (at metro: Saint-Michel towards Notre Dame, 2nd St to the right)
The french fries were GF when we were there- they may have changed things since...
We also at at a Lebanese and a couple Indian restaurants. I can't remember the names at the moment, but both types of foods are easily adapted by a willing chef.