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Feb 21, 2012 02:32 AM

gluten/sugar free, and low-sodium options in paris and/or villefranche-sur-mer


i am planning a month long trip to paris and villefranche-sur-mer. i have not returned to france in over ten years, and am certain things have changed culinary-wise since i was there last. as for my diet, things have changed as well. in addition to being lactose intolerant, i am on a gluten-free, low-sodium, and sugar-free diet, (other than sugars from fruits, some raw agave and stevia.)

i will be eating in mostly as a consequence of my diet, and am wondering how available unsweetened, low-sodium food items are (such as unsweetened soy/almond milk), as well as the availability of rice bread.

i've researched organic food stores and am happy to see a plethora of them! i am not so concerned with finding good produce, as my experience has been of the superior quality available in france, as i am finding gluten-free, sugar-free and low sodium foods . my diet consists of lots of fresh veggies, raw olive oil, nuts and healthy fats, as well as organic meats.

any helpful tips or recommendations for must visit organic food stores, restaurants, juice bars, etc in either paris or villefrance-sur-mer is much appreciated!

merci beaucoup!!

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  1. I can't think of a single restaurant that you can trust with all those constraints. My advice indeed would be to keep it to the wonderful fruits and vegetables, fresh meats and fish that can be found on almost every market in France (some are still way better than others, of course). You already spotted the Naturalias and other Biocoops, which obviously will be your allies, especially since their fruits and vegetables are better than they used to be.

    But the truth is, sugar free+glutenfree+low sodium+lactose is going to be a challenged when it comes to processed and prepared foods. You mention healthy fats, and even finding coconut oil is a bit of a challenge. Raw butter, however, is much easier.

    Forget about rice bread, but there are rice crackers, including low-sodium ones, in most big supermarkets now.

    As for olive oil, try the biodynamic one (Demeter) from Naturalia.

    And juice bars are almost inexistent, especially when it comes to vegetable juices. Some naturopayhic spas have a Champion or another decent juice extractor, but we're way out of the beaten path there (see for instance Le Centre Naturo on rue Lafayette).

    So the good news is: fresh quality ingredients are widely available. Other foods, forget about them.

    9 Replies
    1. re: souphie

      thanks so much for your words of wisdom....

      yes i figured my constraints would create difficulty in my choices, however, i'm feeling more optimistic...

      staying away from processed and prepared foods and enjoying the fresh high quality produce, meats, and yes the raw butter and yogurt (those two i can have, just not milk and cream unfortunately) seems to be the way to go. i'll definitely stay away from pasteurized products (isn't that one of main draws for americans in europe? at least for me:)) i'm already looking forward to the raw options!

      on an aside,i have come across a place called Bob's Juice Bar at metro stop Jacques Bonsergent, while searching on line, if you or anyone you know ends up checking it out, i'd love to hear feedback...

      i'll definitely look for the Demeter olive oil at naturalia (that's one more largely unavailable product in the states....Demeter), and plan on rice crackers for my carb intake....

      are there any recommended outdoor markets for the best leafy greens in paris? or rather, which markets have the best produce, meats & fish etc? i have yet to decided in which arrondissement i'll be renting an apartment, so not sure which markets will be most convenient for my location. my budget will be another factor. i'd like high quality (don't we all) but not necessarily needing the glossy shopping experience. i'm into places with character, off the beaten path, and prefer steering as far clear of the touristy stuff as possibly.

      thanks so very much!

      1. re: cellosongbird

        Few tourists go to markets, the big markets all have good fresh food, it is were many locals shop.

        1. re: PhilD

          are there any markets you'd recommend in particular?

          1. re: cellosongbird

            Richard Lenoir is big with lots of variety Sundays and i think Wednesday. Remember that the open air markets in Paris move from suburb to suburb so each one is on for one or two days a week. I used to shop daily so blened markets and good shops so choose a neighbourhood with shops as well as market.

            1. re: PhilD

              great! thanks! i'll be researching neighborhoods soon and i'll keep my eye out for richard lenoir market. would it be worth it to consider a neighborhood near either biocoop or natralia? i enjoy shopping daily....or in your opinion are there other better stores to shop in to supplement market shopping?

        2. re: cellosongbird

          The highest quality vegetable in town are at the organic market: saturday on bd des Batignolles and sunday on bd Raspail. Unfortunately, they're also spectacularly expensive. Otherwise, there really are good markets all over town, or rather markets with some good stands. I'm not crazy about Lenoir but I think there is great stuff at Enfants Rouges, Poncelet, Clerc, Mouffetard, Bourse, Cour de Vincennes, Blanqui, Président Wilson, Passy, Monge...

          Yes, Naturalia is worth shopping at daily (also Demeter eggs are a thing of wonder), but there are some all over town too. Monoprix also has decent stuff, Carrefour too.

          Thanks for Bob's bar!

          1. re: souphie

            Often, people who are lactose intolerant have no problems with goats milk or goats milk products. In fact, any number of people who think they are`allergic or intolerant of lactose are actually allergic to a protein found in cow's milk that isn't in goats milk at all. I don't know where you fall but if you can have goats milk products, France is the place to get them!!

            1. re: plafield

              you are correct plafield! goat milk products are a much under explored option for myself. i have thoroughly enjoyed unpasteurized goat milk yogurt in the past, however, have little experience with drinking actual goat milk. the strong and overwhelming goat aroma was a turn off.... do you happen to have any particular goat milk product recommendations that should be on my list? a specific brand, or better yet, a specific market stall recommendation that makes/sells it in small batches? merci ~

            2. re: souphie

              thank you so very much souphie for your market recommendations. i am so looking forward to exploring them! demeter eggs must be wonderous..., i'll scope out where are the natralia locations vis a vis the shops, and reverse engineer my ideal apartment locations!

        3. There are Naturalias all over Paris, close to one per arrondisement.

          1. There is also a new chain of organic stores called "Bio c'est bon", which is surprisingly inexpensive... And they also sell big bags (which they call baskets) of fresh produce for 10€. Last time I went I got 2 oranges, 3 apples, 4 leeks, 1 green cabbage, a few potatoes, and 6 kiwis for 10€... and all organic, not bad.

            The apples didn't have much taste, and I didn't eat any of the kiwis yet, but everything else was pretty good.