Any advice on eating gluten free in F... - Gluten Free Guerr...

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Any advice on eating gluten free in France?

littlemissc profile image

I am off to France for a family holiday in the summer, staying self catering but will no doubt be visiting some restaurants too. I know gluten free is 'sans gluten' but wondered if anyone has any experience of eating out and buying gluten free in France?

10 Replies

I've found it depends where in France you are going; one year we stayed nr Blois in the Loire valley and the supermarket had some basic foods like rice cakes, no gluten free bread but had pasta, year after we did the west coast and there wasn't a single free from section in the supermarkets. We go skiing twice a year and stay at the big resorts and there isn't much choice if any in the supermarkets there.

Spain is much more clued up and the free from ranges there are to die for! So if you are going near the boarder nip over to stock up. Xxx

We found that we needed to find a health food shop for gluten free food, although I believe Carrefour supermarkets can have a selection. There is such a good selection of fresh produce and cheese that it did not matter. If you want gf bread or pasta you are probably better off taking some yourself. In some areas of France you can get buckwheat gallettes to eat, which are lovely.

I have found that eating out is ok, if you find a reasonable quality restaurant. I always choose to eat something which is naturally gluten free and don't expect to have something like chips, because of possible cross contamination. Perhaps take a restaurant card if you are not confident in

the language.

We have always enjoyed our holidays in France, I hope you do too.

We went to France last year about 6 months after diagnosis to a self-catering place - we were near the Italian border. We have had holidays in the South of France since the early 1980s and drive down, so I was familiar with supermarkets and hotels but nevertheless a bit apprehensive about being gluten free and took some supplies from England eg rice cakes etc. Getting food in the motorways service stations was/is dire as most of them offer sandwiches++! I knew that would be a problem (you can get a salad) so I took a big picnic in a cool box with lots of lovely salads I had made (enough for 3 meals!). Last year we stayed in two hotels en route. We had the picnic for the first night - the second night we stayed in Aix-en-Provence and ate in the hotel. The waiter understood gluten free and I had a yummy meal - I also had a gorgeous pudding too! Breakfast is always a bit dodgy because there is usually lots of bread and croissants on offer. In the bigger hotels there tends to be a buffet breakfast which offers a wide range eg meat, eggs, fruit, yoghurt, etc. On the way back I also took a picnic.

As I can't eat free from products we bought lots of lovely fresh vegetables and fruit from the markets and ate similar to what we do at home. I was, however, totally seduced by some of the local produce on offer in the supermarkets. Understanding some of the ingredients was a bit of a challenge as we did not take a dictionary - my advice is to take one. This was my first holiday in France being gluten free and I did miss the baguette! But I ate other lovely stuff too and in restaurants (not very often) and was not ill once. I did not have chips for the reason I was concerned about cross contamination but one of the waiters advised me not to have them anyway. We are going back again this year and so looking forward to it! I think it is good to be prepared to have something with you in case there is nothing on the menu you can eat - I did but fortunately this was never the case. I hope you have a good time there too!

I've been to Paris a few times (not self-catering) and always made a point of eating food that would be naturally gluten free. Salade Nicoise is a good bet in cafes, and seafood (eg oysters) is useful too because it's not very messed about with and feels like a treat, and pretty much anywhere you go you can get steak or an omelette with salad. I think avoiding butter might be a whole lot harder...

Hiya, As a family we regularly go to France, from Britanny down to the Vendee. I always take a menu card and they are very good. Supermarkets have GF aisles now, but like the UK it is expensive. I always take her bread, passta, biscuits etc. My daughter is very sensitive, so I added phrases for 'Are the frites cooked in a separate fryer?' and we haven't had any problems. I enquired about the ice cream in ice cream parlours and on both occasions I was told which were GF, which weren't and which ones may have contamination issues, without being prompted - impressive. Bon vacance!! :0)

Have a wonderful holiday ...... which part are you going to?

I have found much more interesting/better g/f food in France by going into the health food shops. I speak a French quite well but have always used the restaurant card as well. My first trip after diagnosis was within 2 months; we go self-catering. The autoroutes are tricky however we often picnic 'cos our favourite game is being like the French ! As others have said the supermarkets are a bit hit and miss, but useful for a salad-box meal, if you can find a GF one; so many have pasta/croutons/couscous. But if all else fails I I have had just grated carrot!

Thank you everyone for your responses - all really helpful. I'm going to get the restaurant card & will definitely picnic lots. Planning on taking the basics out with us like pasta, cereal and some bread then will eat fresh & naturally gf which is the best way anyway. We are staying near Paris, including 2 days at Disney then heading to the south west. Looking forward to it though will have to fight the urge for a croissant and a fresh crusty baguette ;)


As a celiac living in France I always order my gluten free food from the UK using this wonderful website:

I recommend this service to all gluten free food enthusiasts as they have greatest selection

jbellissimo profile image
jbellissimo in reply to tkyzc

Hello, I was just starting to research eating gluten free in France, and saw your post. I was wondering if you might have any info on dairy free products? My daughter (15 years old) is Celiac, and is also dairy free. We are traveling soon and will only be there a couple of days, but she will go back later in the summer for a couple of weeks. Products we would be looking for would be dairy free butter, cream cheese, and milk. Here in the states, there are many different companies that produce such items. I am concerned with knowing what to buy in France.

Also, I am not sure what area you live in, but she will be in Nanterre area, outside of Paris, so if you had any recommendations at all for eating gluten free (and dairy free), in that area, I would GREATLY appreciate any info you can share.

Thank you!

Nath0351 profile image
Nath0351 in reply to jbellissimo

Hi jbellissimo, you can buy glutenfree and dairy free products in the new store GLUTENCORNER. It's located on east side of Paris, 5 min by walk from Nation, which is on the same line as Nanterre (RER A). Everything is glutenfree and a lot of products are dairy free, if you want more information you can have a look on the website : or send an email to :, they will answer and help you if possible!

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