Traveling with Food Allergies in Paris

Last night, we returned home from our family trip to Paris. For our first visit to the City of Lights, we managed to squeeze in many of the major sightseeing landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe and Louvre (luckily, we got there before the temporary shutdown!). I even celebrated my birthday during the trip, thanks to my husband’s thoughtful planning.

Chasing the boys around the Louvre

Chasing the boys around the Louvre

During our trip, we stayed at a great apartment I found via airbnb. Located right across from the Louvre, we prepared all of our food-allergic son’s meals there in our small Parisian kitchen.

Another great find was baby’tems, a Paris-based company that rents out baby equipment like portable cribs and high chairs. Baby’tems delivered the equipment right to our apartment, saving us from hauling the stuff ourselves. It was easy placing the order, and the crib and booster seat were immaculate—so no crazy worries about milk residue or egg-based pastry crumbs. If you’re looking for short-term baby stuff in Paris, this is a great option.

Allergy-Friendly Food in Paris

I did some baking the night before we left—pumpkin bread and lemon-hazelnut sugar cookies (I happened to see this ridiculous “Hey Girl” version circulating on Facebook as I was baking!). We packed our lunch and lots of snacks for the 4-hour ride from Switzerland to Paris.

My husband also contacted a few vegan restaurants in advance of our arrival. Although they said it was possible to accommodate my son’s food allergies, the timing never seemed to mesh with our sightseeing and sleeping schedules. So, we unfortunately never tried them out. Given the age of our son (22 months) and his multiple food allergies, cooking and eating in our temporary Paris apartment just seemed easier… and less stressful.

Of course, you can find small markets and grocery stores nearly everywhere in Paris, so we had little difficulty tracking down allergy-friendly foods. In particular, Le Grande Epicerie at Le Bon Marche had an amazing selection of products. I wish I had more time to explore it (and read labels)!

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Afternoon snack: blueberries, mango and knacks

When we’re together as a family, we all typically follow the same allergy-friendly diet—even though my youngest is the only one with food allergies. So, when our little guy napped in the afternoon, the rest of us took turns exploring Paris and its various boulangeries, restaurants and cafes. Between the three of us, we sampled lots of non-allergy-friends foods, including a raspberry tart, delicious macarons, ice cream, crêpes with Nutella and pain au chocolat, among other treats. My personal favorites were the baguette and éclairs (chocolate and speculoos, a kind of gingerbread-like cookie) that my husband picked up at a boulangerie previously recognized among the Top 10 of the Paris “grand prix de la baguette.”

Tarte framboises (left), and macarons from Pierre Hermé

Tarte framboises (left), and macarons from Pierre Hermé (right)

Overall, we had a truly amazing trip to Paris. When I asked my 5-year old what he liked best, he told me the park across the street (Jardin des Tuileries), the Museum of Natural History’s Galeries de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie and the TV channels (he really liked watching the Pink Panther). His younger brother won’t remember the trip at all, but we have great memories of spending time together as a family in Paris—without letting food allergies limit our experiences.

Our son’s baked egg food challenge is tomorrow. I’m hoping for the best possible outcome. And, don’t forget it’s World Allergy Week! I’ll have more news and info soon, on both topics…

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7 thoughts on “Traveling with Food Allergies in Paris

  1. Sandy Shaw says:

    What fun, Heddi! I can picture you in many of these places as we know them too. This is a memorable way for everyone to celebrate your birthday. XoSandra

    Sent from my iPhone

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