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Moving To France, Very Gluten Sensitive - Help!
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Hello!

 

I am moving to Grenoble, France for work.  From what I hear, many French don't believe in celiac and gluten intolerance!  I'm very nervous, and am considering bailing on the job!  I am very sensitive to cross contamination (my house is entirely gluten free and I don't eat out, or many packaged gluten free foods).  I feel pretty good about feeding myself in my own home since the markets there are very good, but here are my concerns:

 

1.  What to eat while traveling in Europe

 

2.  Since France is a big food culture and socialization is mainly food related, I'm worried I won't be able to make a good social circle (especially if many people thing "gluten intolerance" isn't real).

 

3.  Non food items that are gluten free, like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, floss, etc

 

4.  Physicians and dentists there having knowledge about gluten-free medications and gluten free dental products for dental visits.

 

If anyone has any insight from either living in France or visiting, it would be much appreciated.  Thanks in advance!!

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Nobody out there with any advice?

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Stick to many of the tips we use here for dining out, and dining in.  That is all I have.  That is what I would do.  No, the servers and chefs, restaurants will not be so easy to work with, but they do believe in fresh fruits and veggies.  I have cooked my way through Julia Childs cookbook and now I alter a lot of it to fit my needs.  It works.  Order your flour to shipped to you if you cannot find it there.  I do know that flour here has a higher gluten content than flour there, but we want a zero gluten content.  I bet you can find the flour you need.  Substituting in a recipe is not that hard, and cooking with just fresh produce is very simple.  You will make it, unfortunately you will not be able to enjoy all of the treats France has to offer, but you will be able to enjoy the views.  

 

jouir de

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Nobody out there with any advice?

I've been to France a few times and spent a couple years living in Europe.  I found it EASIER there!  I never heard of anyone not believing in celiac over there.  Maybe, just like here, there will be people who have never heard of it.  You might need some time to explore and experiment, and of course there will be times when you won't be able to eat in certain situations (just like in your home country).  If you can eat dairy it will be even easier in my opinion, but if you can't that's okay too.  

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My husband took me to Paris recently and there were plenty of places there to eat out and the shops had lots of both fresh and packaged gluten free food. Any health food store carries stuff. There was one restaurant that is entirely gluten-free called noglu. There was another nice restaurant that the chef had celiac and it was amazing. The French do gluten free so don't worry too much and labels usually identify if there's gluten. 

 

This patisserie is worth the trip.

 

http://www.helmutnewcake.com

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Do you ever shop on iherb.com? It is a wonderful source for toiletries and packaged gluten free food, and they ship worldwide with remarkably cheap shipping rates. You could purchase most items from there. I live in Asia and am not able to eat out, and I do just fine buying my fresh veggies local and buying my bouillon/spices/canned things on iherb. 

 

The food culture may be important, but in my opinion, anyone who is worth your time will at least make an attempt to understand your issues and the reason that you can't eat out/eat a standard diet. If someone is unnecessarily hostile or judgmental and makes no attempt to understand where you are coming from, then I say they aren't worth another moment and move on. 

 

When you go out with friends that DO get it, you can always enjoy a glass or three of those delightful French wines. :) And from what I remember, Grenoble is a fairly large city, isn't it? It should be easier to deal there than it would be, say, in one of the smaller countryside villages. Plus, can you eat cheese? The cheese shops are excellent. 

 

Good luck. I'm jealous of your experience! France is great. Don't bail. Dive in. :)

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I think you should take me with you as your personal assistant. I'll be happy to do your food shopping and cooking and pave the way for you with restaurants!!

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I am with luvs2eat.  You are lucky, any of us would love to go with you and help.   :D

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I haven't been to France since my diagnosis, but I think you will have an easy time there as there is so much fresh, unprocessed food available at markets, etc.  I think on the travel board I read about a few all gluten-free restaurants or bakeries but those were in Paris.  You'll cook a lot at home, eat fresh, and drink wine and eat cheese and grapes when socializing.  Should be a great experience.

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We travel to Europe regularly and from experience in France, I reiterate what others have said. Their unprocessed foods and fresh markets are like a celiac paradise! We are moving to Croatia and can hardly wait. Their grilled fish and seafood are sublime!

Check pharmacies for gluten-free goods. I am unsure what flours are available in France so if you are a baker, take some blends with you.

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Thanks so much for all the great responses! I haven't been on iherb.com, but it looks fantastic and will likely be a lifesaver.  BelleVie, thank you for the reminder that anyone who doesn't take the time to understand truly isn't worth the trouble.  It will be a tough adjustment with multiple likely slip ups in the beginning, but I think it will be a truly rewarding experience.  Survivormom and luvs2eat - I wish I could bring you with me! :)

 

Please keep any advice coming - this forum is so incredible!

 

<3

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Hi, I just spent a week in Paris. At the health food store I went to, there were many gluten free products that were German and a few that were French. Schar brand from Germany was very popular and they had a wide range of products. Check out their website; it shows lots of items. If you can't find them in Grenoble, it might be a good excuse to make a regular trip to Germany (or Paris) to stock up. ;-)

 

They have clear labeling on foods, usually in many languages, so I was able to easily shop at the grocery stores.

 

Dining out was relatively simple in Paris - they tend to make reduction sauces for meats that don't have added flour for thickening. As long as I chose a restaurant that served some type of roasted or grilled meat, after consulting with the waiter and/or chef, I was always able to find something I could eat. My French isn't the greatest, so I would usually ask (in French) if there was someone who was fluent in English who could take my order. One time I had to stumble through the whole order in French and try to explain my gluten issues - it worked out just fine.

 

Enjoy your time in Europe!

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I've been to France a few times since being diagnosed and I didn't have any issues.  I was only in the Paris area, and, while it wasn't widely known, no one gave me a hard time for my requests, or doubted that celiac existed. Biggest problem I found was them not really understanding what was/was not gluten free, but I was with French colleagues and I had my celiac restaurant cards, so it wasn't a big issue.  In general, I would say it's easier to avoid gluten over there than it is here.

 

But anyway - there's a couple of 100% gluten free places in Paris now - a couple of bakeries and at least 1 restaurant.  I haven't gone to the restaurant yet, but i visited one of the bakeries - Helmut Newcake - and it was really good.  They also had a decent selection of packaged gluten free goods. 

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