Doing food-related activities is pretty hard when you have food allergies. For instance, I would love to take a cooking class in Paris, but there is too much risk involved because one of my allergens is likely to appear, especially when it comes to French food. But there are a couple of really fun low-pressure food activities you can do.
When I think of Paris I think museums and food! If you have had your fair share of staring at paintings, it can be fun to see the art in other places and things. Such as the way Parisians treat food, from the ingredients to the prep and finally the pièce de résistance! Because we wanted a serious culinary adventure week in Paris, we found two excellent allergy-friendly ways to experience food. Both are more looking than eating, and in the end, the eating you do is all dictated by what you buy.
Allergy Friendly Activities in Paris
Bon Marché – La Grande Epicerie de Paris
The Bon Marché is a massive department store with designer clothes, an epic shoe selection, homeware, and the most beautiful grocery store ever! They recently renovated it, so it is shiny and new. The store is lined with beautiful products from around the world. In the centre, you find the produce housed in creative and impressive displays. The dairy section houses a dreamy selection of yogurts and puddings that you really can’t find anywhere else but in France. Cheese, you bet! They have reasonably priced cheese platters so you can try a sampling of French cheeses.
My favourite part is looking at all of the different types of jams, honey, and oils. I bought chocolate fondue that is housed in a clay pot. All you need to do is warm it in a bain-marie for 10 minutes, and the fondue will stay warm for up to 45 minutes. How cute!
I love the Bon Marché because it surrounds you with beautiful food and is the perfect place to soak up inspiration. It is also a fun place to buy some basic but good quality ingredients for a picnic along the Seine.
La Cuisine Paris – Les Halles Food Tour Paris
The other activity you can do is take a food walking tour, which is an excellent way to get to know the history of the city, see new places, and learn all about food. The plus side for me was, no eating involved during the tour.
We went through the company La Cusine Paris. The tour took us through Les Halles, which is the old food market of Paris. We learnt about the history of market life in the city and walked around the area. The market no longer exists, but speciality shops can still be found on the adjacent roads. We visited a Foie gras shop, a cheese shop, a patisserie called Stohrer, a boulangerie, and a Boucherie (butcher). We also visited a wholesale store that has every cooking gadget you could think of and a wholesale shop for ingredients, where I picked up two mustards and piment d’Espellete.
At each location, we learned about the history of the food they sold and bought a little something to take back and try. The idea of the tour was to learn about specialty foods and prepare an apéro, which is a pre-dinner snack composed of cold foods and bread.
Once the tour was over, we went back to the La Cuisine Paris headquarters located near l’Île de la Cité and sampled all the things we bought along the way. What was great about the experience is that we could decide what we wanted to buy and try to ensure everything was allergy friendly. Having a guide there can help you discover safe food.
This was my first-ever walking tour, and I loved it! We had a sweet tour guide, and it just so happened we were the only participants, so it was very private. It was a low-key and fun way to experience food, learn some history and sample things I felt were safe. I would definitely recommend doing this! Next time I would love to try the Versailles market tour??
A Quick Wrap Up
What I learnt is that you don’t have to be limited by your food allergies to enjoy food in Paris. There are a ton of alternative activities you can do that revolve around their rich history of eating!
Read more about Allergy Friendly Restaurants in Paris!
Kortney is your typical atopic triad! She manages asthma, eczema, environmental and food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!