A trip to Paris is a carb-lover’s dream come true – croissants, crepes, baguettes, eclairs, etc. – and that’s even before you sit down to an actual meal. But, being just over a year out from weight loss surgery I knew that my trip to Paris would be somewhat different. That being said, I didn’t want to travel half way around the world and feel deprived, or worse yet, regret not having some quintessential Paris experiences after I got home.
So my husband and I came up with a plan – I’d try everything, but not overindulge. A bite of baguette here, a 1/2 a croissant there, and the thought was that I should be fine. However, after over a year of eating no bread, rice, pasta, or sugar, my body had other ideas. So, without further adieu, here is the good, the bad, and the ugly of my eating experience in Paris.
Overall, I have to say that there were a surprising number of options for me while in Paris. Almost every café had a decent salad selection and smoked salmon was huge! My husband and I rented a room at an “apart hotel,” which not only had a stellar view of the Eiffel Tower, it also had a cute little kitchen that was a life saver. We would go to the market every few days and stock up on items for breakfast and snacks. It made our experience so much better and saved a lot of money in the long run. It was also perfect for New Year’s Eve to have our own place to prepare a meal so that we could stay in and forgo the madness.
Another amazing find were the crepes and macarons. Macarons are naturally gluten free – they are made with almond flour – and were such a decadent treat. B and I would buy either 2 or 4, choosing different flavors, and split each. And, on the second to last day we tried a savory crepe filled with ham and cheese, which was ridiculous.
Years ago, I had escargot at a local restaurant and loved them, so I was curious how they would match up to the Paris variety. Honestly, just not my thing anymore.
Bread. It’s everywhere. And, as an admitted carb addict, it was incredibly difficult to turn down. Order any food at a café and they bring a basket of bread out. I even saw a girl walking down the street gnawing on a full baguette – no joke. I tried to only take a bite of things, but being surrounded by such amazing options led me to indulge a little more than I had planned. (Originally, I thought I would limit it to a few bites a day.) And, after being gluten free for so long, my body rejected it – literally refusing to digest it – causing me to get incredibly ill for a few days in the middle of our trip.
As discussed above in “The Bad” category, my body was not a huge fan of gluten laden treats. In fact, 1/2 of a croissant and a bite of a pastry was enough to make me violently ill. Picture this, I am wearing a full length lace dress, elbow length leather gloves, and wool coat with a faux fur scarf waiting on line to get into the Moulin Rouge. At 250 euros a ticket, bailing on this dinner and show was not an option, so despite feeling terrible I pulled it together and my husband and I took the metro to the Montmartre area of Paris. We had tried several local pharmacies to see if they had any anti-nausea medication, but came up empty handed. While my husband chatted with the very nice couple in line before us, I politely excused myself, manage to walk approximately ten steps, and proceeded to throw up all over the street – in front of a line of other people waiting to get into the Moulin Rouge. My eyes started to tear and I heard the crowd snickering behind me as I proceeded to get ill over and over again. I was able to clean myself up and pull it all together, but needless to say it was the most expensive dinner I never ate – I drank water the entire time once we finally got in. (Although with front row seats I’m so glad we didn’t miss it!)
What I Learned
All things in moderation. This was never more true than while eating in Paris. Whether it was making sure to avoid the prix fixe menu (which probably would have killed me) or splitting 2 – not 20 – macarons with my husband, moderation was key.
Know what works, and be ready to change what doesn’t. I honestly wasn’t sure how my body would handle carbohydrates, but after the Moulin Rouge incident (that’s what my husband and I now call it) it was pretty clear that gluten is not my friend. So, I readjusted, and lived off of predominately French onion soup (without the bread inside) for the next few days. Overall, I’m just happy I was able to reassess, reboot, and not let it ruin my vacation.
What happens in Paris, stays in Paris. Although I planned on indulging in the City of Lights, I knew that once I got home it was back to the grind. And, as it turns out, a week in Paris was more than enough with regards to rich foods and I was craving fresh and healthy foods when I got back. That being said, the first week back I went through serious sugar withdrawal. (Anyone detoxing from sugar knows how much that sucks.)
An Average Day in Paris Eats
Breakfast – 1/2 of a yogurt from the Monoprix and some fresh fruit
Lunch – cheese and charcuterie plate from a local café with a glass of wine
Snack – vin chaud (hot wine) or a cappuccino/café au lait and the equivalent of 2 macarons
Dinner – 3/4 of a French onion soup son pan (without bread) and some fresh raw oysters with a glass of champagne
Dessert – sorbet split with my husband (black currant was our favorite flavor)
Snack – cheese and apples or some smoked salmon with fresh squeezed lemon juice
What do you eat on vacation?
xoxo – SavvySleever