You don’t need gluten in your diet to enjoy some of the best baked goods Paris has to offer.
Parisian bakeries excel in gluten-free baking. You’ll have no trouble getting hold of gluten-free versions of any French pastry you can dream of, except for one: the croissant.
Making this quintessential French viennoiserie without gluten is nearly impossible, and croissants sans gluten are difficult to come by, even in Paris. But although your choices may be limited, finding fabulous gluten free croissants in Paris is possible—you just have to know where to look.
The Art of Baking Gluten-Free Croissants
It’s simple: the structure of the croissant depends on gluten.
The protein that forms when wheat flour is mixed with water is essential for obtaining the right consistency of this beloved French treat. Replicating the light, flaky croissant with a perfect honeycomb texture in the middle without wheat flour is anything but easy—especially without using any additives like xanthan gum and potato starch.
This is precisely the problem encountered by Parisian gluten-free bakers, who are determined to use only natural products in their baked goods. As a result, most of them simply don’t make croissants.
As you can see, finding gluten-free croissants in Paris might be tricky. But we’ve got good news: they do exist, and they’re out of this world.
1. Biosphère Café
Biosphere Café is the first gluten-free crêperie in Paris. Its talented pastry chef Sylvie Do is constantly improving her recipes to create gluten-free desserts just as tasty as their gluten-containing counterparts. She is one of the few Parisian pastry chefs who took on the challenge of creating a perfect croissant without gluten.
At the moment, gluten-free croissants are available only as part of Biosphere Café’s Sunday brunch. You’ll have to accompany them with pancakes, jam, a freshly squeezed juice and a fruit salad—but that’s not exactly a problem, is it? We recommend booking in advance, as this is a popular brunch spot.
2. Helmut Newcake
When pastry chef Marie Tagliaferro was diagnosed with celiac disease while working at Lenôtre, one of the best pastry establishments in the city, she decided to open her own specialized bakery. Since then, Helmut Newcake has become one of the best-known gluten-free pâtisseries in Paris.
Here you’ll find incredible gluten-free versions of traditional French pastries, including croissants. They’re on the small side, but are buttery and flaky and taste the same as the best traditional croissants. They even sell pain au chocolat, or chocolate croissants—go early as both types sell out fast.
NoGlu is a gluten-free gourmet restaurant and pastry shop, given an elegant touch by the renowned French designer Mathieu Lehanneur. Its menu is filled to the brim with French specialties like croque monsieurs, quiches and tarts, as well as homemade desserts, smoothies and even gluten-free beer. It’s no wonder that they’ve find a way to make perfectly delicate and airy gluten free croissants, too. They do tend to sell out quickly, so come early or order in advance.