So, it’s just about that time of year again. That time when we’re heading out to Christmas markets or holiday sales, in search of the perfect gift. Only this year, many of us aren’t doing the same kind of running around. Online sales are probably going to continue to go through the roof while we’re still all dreaming of the time before 2020. But what if your gift-giving this year, could transport, you or the receiver of your generous offerings, to France.
I for one will not let the gloom and doom put a damper on my holiday spirit. Sure, you could hit the usual sites for your mass gift shopping ideas and add another object to the collection of things they don’t need or that they’ll regift or toss away in due time. Or you could turn your gift-giving into something a bit more interesting. This is the year for solidarity and there is a myriad of ways that you can make a difference while giving to the ones you love. Supporting writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and also just indulging in the countless flavors, both comestible and whimsical, of France. Give them something to dream about and transport them to fabulous destinations.
Here’s my round-up of some fabulous ideas for a French holiday gift ideas at home.
For a good read
Lily Heise’s latest book – There’s Only One Paris.
COVID-19 produced more than a global shutdown. It also sparked the flames of imagination and Canadian-born, Paris resident, April Lily Heise, guided her followers and fans through the streets of Paris during the lockdown. She describes her book, as “A hybrid book of stories taking place in Paris in these very peculiar times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tales of love, life, hope, and more!” Be transported to Paris Learn more about the book and order your copy today! Je t’aime me neither.
Little Africa Paris’s Guide Book
For those of you who have never heard of Little Africa Paris, it is the nickname given to the northern section of Paris’ 18th arrondissement between rue Ordener & Gare du Nord passing by boulevard Barbès and boulevard de la Chapelle. The agency by the same name was started by Jaqueline Ngo Mpii as a cultural and tourism agency promoting Africa in Paris. You can partake in guided tours when in Paris and discover some of the most authentic tastes where the African continent meets Parisian culture.
The second edition of the Little Africa Paris guide book is available in English and in French and includes must-visit addresses for fashion, artisans to meet, and restaurants to enjoy from Château Rouge to the streets of Saint-Germain-des-Près. A very special gift has been included in a limited number of copies of this edition – 7 golden tickets worth up to 10,000 € in prizes! Willy Wonka would be jealous. Visit the site.
A Taste of Le Sud
Emma Kershaw, the owner of La Maison du Rire, a wine and food school in the Languedoc-Roussillon, brings you a collection of recipes and wine pairings in this colorful work entitled A Taste of Le Sud. 80 pages of delight for your favorite food and wine lover. Emma also has a second book out, that would make a lovely gift for those learning French or anyone just wanting to pick up a word or two. The Day Louis was Eating/Le jour où Louis mangeait an eclectic collection of recipes from across the globe.
For the art lovers
Turkish-born Uzès resident, Sezer Inan creates beautiful watercolors that will bring a smile to your face. She displays her works in her Esty shop and even has an Instagram page. From postcards to calendars, with whimsical characters and picturesque scenes. Explore her store.
I caught a glimpse of artist Simon James’s works in his posts in a group of Uzès lovers and instantly thought, these are amazing. His sketches will transport you to southern France and would make a lovely addition to your home deco. And for those of you who have been to Uzès, you’ll recognize the toy cars as seen from the Place aux Herbes. You can contact Simon by email if you are interested in his watercolors. Simon also has a number of children’s books that could also make a great gift! Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for his books: Simjamesbooks.com Instagram: @simonjamesbooks
You can find other artful creations from francophiles and Frenchies alike on Etsy – just search “French”
Wine on your mind
Interested in the wines of burgundy? This is a gift for you wine lovers who want to have the best of French wines delivered to your door. The Burgundy Wine Club offers a members-only offer. You’ll not only get great hand-picked Burgundy wines but you’ll also be supporting winemakers when choosing amount the over 300 wines.
Okay, for this next one, you do have to physically be in France to enjoy our good friend and favorite wine specialist’s selection of wines from his online boutique, Les Jolies Quilles. Some of you may have met Frederic Duverger during our Week in Uzès program as he guided our participants through wine visits and wine tasting and pairings. You can always count on Fred to pick the best bottles. Maybe you can even convince him to ship a few bottles wherever you are in the world. Visit his site: lesjoliesquilles.com. Find him on Instagram: @lesjoliesquilles.
We often get asked where we like to buy our kitchen gadgets. When you are in Paris, you may have headed over to E.Dehillerin who also does offer an online boutique and has a wide range of many exquisite products.
For where the chefs do their shopping, head to our personal favorite Le Meilleur du Chef, and is where the chefs go when looking for good quality kitchen utensils and ingredients. They ship internationally within Europe only.
For the sweet tooth
You can count on France’s world-renowned chocolate makers to bring a bright spot into the holiday season. Both La Maison du Chocolat and Pierre Hermé with their international boutiques offering a delightful selection of confectionary could make this holiday season a yum-filled chocolate fest.
For laughs & history
Become a Parisian in One Hour
We’re all streaming something or other these days so why not- frankly we would all use a good laugh. Paris is never too far when you can find so many great ways to stay connected with tours, classes, & more online. So what about offering them the gift of laughter? Olivier Giraud of How To Become a Parisian in One Hour fame is sending you to the theater in Paris and no need to buy a plane ticket (just yet). You can now stream his show on-demand on Vimeo and help support. Oliver is now also available for LIVE shows for your corporate team-buildings and celebrations. For more details on the on-demand viewing, click here. To book Oliver for your next event, contact Claudie.
Virtual Tours of Paris
Sight Seeker’s Delight has been delighting visiting tourists in Paris with its unique, fun walking tours of the city. Since the lockdown, in-person tours have come to a stand-still but Karen, Sight Seeker’s CEO and lead tour creator has developed a series of amazing (and hilarious) tours for you to enjoy from home including a Jewish tour, a Montmartre tour, and more. This would make a perfect gift for anyone craving a bit of Paris while we wait for your return. Discover her virtual tours here.
For your favorite cook
Online French Cooking Classes
Since starting online cooking classes back in April, Chef Eric and the Cook’n With Class team have been offering you a great way to keep your love of French food alive even while at home. From bread classes to macarons & lunch and dinner menus to whet your appetites. Classes are informative, interactive, and fun! Grab a gift voucher to stuff your stockings with for one of our online classes. Grab your vouchers, here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this selection of French goodies to put you in the holiday spirit. Perhaps you’ve now sorted out the perfect gift for all your loved ones enchanted with France. Enjoy and share with any and all who love France, its food, and its culture.