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Christmas is soon upon us, and if you’re in need of some gift inspiration, I’m here to help. Whether you’re buying a gift for a Francophile or simply wanting to buy gifts like the French, I have the gift guide for you.
Keep in mind that some of these gifts can be a bit pricy, but there are gifts for every budget on it. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be luxurious!
And, a little tip: never discuss the price of a gift. The French find it both uncouth and uncivilised, and I think we should stop focusing on the price of gifts. You should never feel like you have to spend more than you can afford, or that a gift isn’t nice enough if it was cheap. It’s the though that counts!
So, without further ado, let’s dive into some tips for cadeaux your Francophile friends will enjoy (and for anyone really, there are some lovely gift ideas on this list)!
1. French food
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Even though you maybe aren’t currently in France, you can still find French food items in many shops, and especially if you go to a specialty shop. Suggestions for French food items to gift are French cheese (some suggestions are Brie, Saint Agur or Saint Albray), French macaroons, Madeleines or some luxurious French chocolate that will make the receiver say “Oh la la!”
2. A cheeseboard
If you have a Francophile friend, why not help them Frenchify their dinner parties? A French dinner party rarely ends without getting the cheese out. So, what’s more perfect than giving them a cheeseboard?
You can find cheeseboards in all shapes and sizes at any price level. If you want to splurge you can include a set of cheese knives or some cheese to go with the board.
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3. French wine, liquor or champagne
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Continuing the “food-theme” we move onto French alcohol. If you want to give someone alcohol you should always look into two things in advance: 1) do they actually consume alcohol? 2) Do they have any preferences?
Once you know that it’s safe to get them alcohol as a gift, you can look for a nice French wine, some French liquor, or, if you really want to splurge: Champagne from Champagne.
4. French perfume or cologne
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If you know the persons taste in scents, a French perfume or cologne is a great gift.
From Chanel to Jean Paul Gaultier, there are a lot to choose from. Some classic French perfumes include Chanel n°5 and Miss Dior. If you need more ideas, have a look at this list of The most Iconic French Perfumes Of All Time.
For colognes Dior Homme, Dior Eau Sauvage or Jean Paul Gaultier La Male would be a good choice for a French classic.
5. French make-up
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It’s something about those French brands … By Terry, Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Lancôme … just the names ooze luxury and class.
Most of us will never be able to afford a classic Chanel bag, so the next best thing is their makeup. A nice lipstick or nail polish is a small, but luxurious gift most women will appreciate.
6. A subscription to a French magazine
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If we can’t be in France, we can dream of it, can’t we? So, why not give your Francophile friend a magazine subscription? This is a gift that keeps on giving, since the recipient will get a new magazine at regular intervals.
Some classics to choose from are Marie Claire, Vouge and Elle. If you want something more “outside the box”, there are plenty of others to choose from, like Télérama (which covers TV, music, cinema and more) or LiRE (which covers books and literature). ("French Cottage" in the picture above is published by Victoria Magazine / Victoria Classics.)
To find subscriptions available in your country, you can visit Unipress who (according to them) deliver 650 different magazines to more than 190 countries.
7. French lessons
If your friend is a Francophile, but doesn’t know the language very well, it could be nice to gift them some French lessons. If there aren’t any classes available in your local area, you can gift them a subscription to a language learning service like Babbel.
8. Crêpe Pan (and a wooden batter spreader)
Crêpes are a French dessert classic – but you can also make them with a savoury filling. The sweet ones are called crêpes sucrées, while the savoury galettes are called crêpes salées. A proper crêpe pan will be a perfect gift for Francophiles and French expats alike!
And you have plenty of options. You can buy anything from the easy to use non-stick ones to electric griddles. Just remember to also get them a wooden batter spreader so they can get a professional finish to their crêpes!
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Whether you choose to get something by a classic poet or a more contemporary book, books are a nice gift for just about anyone.
Try to find something in their favourite genre, but if you don’t know any of their favourites, a book about French food or French lifestyle is a safe choice. One example is the book Bright Lights Paris: Shop, Dine & Live...Parisian Style.
10. A classic piece of clothing
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If you want to gift someone a piece of clothing, choose classic pieces and neutral colours. Pieces like these will never go out of style and is therefore a safe and sustainable choice.
Classic pieces can include: a Breton stripe top, a black jumper, some nice wool gloves, or a scarf. If you’re buying for a man in your life a nice wool tie is also a stylish option.
Whenever you are looking for clothing, remember that natural fibres like wool, linen and cotton are best. They are more breathable to wear and keep better. In addition, they do not release microplastics in the wash.
11. Candles or a reed diffuser
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A scented candle or reed diffuser can be a nice touch in any home, and can help you relax. It’s no secret that a high-end candle can be expensive, but it is a really nice gift. Among the high-end brands, Diptyque might be the most famous of them all. They are known for quality and beautiful designs. Another well-known high-end brand is Ladurée.
However, there are (luckily) many budget friendly candles and reed diffusers to be found. Some of these even produce candles that are good dupes for Diptyques scents.
Some brands to look for are Brooklyn Candle Studio, Tussie Mussie and Maison Marie Louise.
An alternative to scented candles is a reed diffuser. These create a long lasting scent in your home. One advantage the reed diffuser holds is that you can leave it wherever you want, and don’t have to keep an eye on it like you have to do with a burning candle.
Many candle brands carry both candles and reed diffusers. Reed diffusers are generally easy to find, but some nice ones to mention are the ones from The White Company and the Danish brand Meraki.
12. Something for the bath or shower
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I think most people would like to receive a nice quality bath or shower product. Most of us don’t splurge on these items in our everyday life, but there is nothing like a good spa-like product. It can elevate any mundane Monday morning shower.
Some brand suggestions are Le Petit Marseillais, Durance or Bioderma. Another well know brand is Yves Rocher.
13. Savon de Marseille
Savon de Marseille is a soap with long traditions. It has been produced in Marseille for around 600 years. Traditionally it was made by mixing sea water from the Mediterranean Sea, olive oil and alkaline ash from sea plants. The mixture was heated for several days before it was poured into molds.
Today there are two main varieties: one made with olive oil and one made with palm oil (or a mix of palm and coconut oil).
Savon de Marseille is often used for washing delicate garments like wool and silk. It’s also used as a hand soap, but then mostly in it’s liquid form.
14. Christmas ornaments from Paris
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You can find many Christmas ornaments shaped like famous landmarks from Paris. These can be really beautiful on any three, and will remind the receiver of one of their favourite places in the world.
You can find ornaments like Arc de Triumph or the tour Eiffel in the online shop Christmas Company or on Amazon.
Product picture from mariagefreres.com (link in article)
For the tea lovers in your life, this is a great gift. Teas from the famous Mariage Freres will always be popular. This tea company sells everything from Darjeeling to Earl Grey and different fruit and herbal teas.
I hope you found this article valuable! Feel free to comment below and also share the article with someone else who might be interested. And if you're interested in reading more articles related to France, check out the French Lifestyle and Everything French categories in the menu bar of my blog.