Prior to our trip, I received so many warnings not to go to Paris if gluten-intolerant. Each time I asked for recommendations, people would respond, “go somewhere else”. I suppose it’s a good thing, because it drove me to put extra effort into finding resources ahead of time. We even rented an apartment, so we’d have the option to cook if required. Despite all the negative feedback, I ate best in Paris during our Europe vacation. One restaurant, Le Timbre, notably stood out and provided, arguably, the best gluten-free dining experience I’ve ever had.
La Timbre is a cozy establishment located off the Boulevard Montparnasse (3 rue Ste-Beuve, Arrondissement 6th) on the south-west side of Luxemburg Garden. I highly suggest reservations, as the restaurant seats around 20 people, max. We had early reservations and were the first seated. Quickly though, the room filled with elegant diners and sparkling conversation. Looking around the room, I kept incidentally catching the eye of other diners through the large mirrors that line the walls. Watching the lone Chef, Chris Wright, prepare French cuisine with an English twist in a tiny open kitchen, we felt like guests at his exclusive dinner party.
Chef Chris Wright is originally from Manchester, so we were able to communicate with him in English (a plus!). He gave my French allergy dining card considerable review, nodding his head occasionally and burrowing his brow in thoughtful analysis. The sole waitress brought over the ever-changing chalkboard menu for our review. Having to translate the French for us, she was also able to confirm which items were gluten and dairy free. Luckily, I had many options! At least 3 of the 6 appetizers were gluten and dairy free. Same with the entrees, and I had two choices for dessert!
You can order an entree dish a la cart, but the 3-course pre-fixe is the way to go. You order your courses all at once, choosing one starter, entree and dessert. It was chilly outside, so I appropriately went with the beet soup - a risk, because I don’t like my soups too thin. However, it came out with the perfect consistency and flavor. The diner next to me was served the same dish. Hers looked different, and I realized a crouton garnished the center - A comforting example that the Chef had tailored my dishes to be gluten-free. I tried the Magret de Canard (duck) for my main dish. I haven’t liked duck in the past, but figured I’m in Paris, so what the heck! Good thing, because it was delicious. Another great Fall inspired dish. Following suit with this warm seasonal trend, I ordered the Poached Pear for dessert. It was served with honey, cinnamon and powdered sugar, and even my husband begged me for a taste despite the chocolate fudge and cream filled cannoli placed in front of his. Finally, he’s jealous of my dish for once!
Le Timbre was the longest and most gourmet dining experience we had on our trip. It was an incredible experience as a gluten-free diner, and I urge everyone to try it. They are closed Sunday and Monday, so plan your schedule accordingly. And don’t forget to make a reservation. Enjoy!
For more from my trip to Paris, see http://kaellasglutenfreeguide.wordpress.com