Going home this holiday season and wondering what gifts to bring back? Here’s our guide to the best of France and beyond: gifts to surprise and delight anyone (and everyone) on your list. Every item’s got a great story to go with it—something a true Francophile will love.
Parisien Tee, Maison Kitsuné, 60€
Maison Kitsuné is a hipper-than-thou music and fashion label from Paris and Tokyo. They produce electronic music as well as a line of fashion and accessories. Their classic “Parisien” tee for guys or “Parisienne” tees for girls lets you wear your city pride on your sleeve.
Marinière, Armor Lux, 55€
Nothing says “French” like the classic striped marinière or Breton shirt. Go back in history with Armor Lux, a company founded in Brittany that’s been making high quality knits and underwear since 1938. Fun Fact: Armor Lux is also the official manufacturer of the SNCF railway uniforms.
High-Neck Sweater, Petit Bateau, 85€
Petit-Bateau is a beloved French brand that makes clothing for babies, kids, and adults. This nautical-look sweater with copper-colored buttons will have you feeling like a jaunty captain sailing the seas of Normandy.
Scented Candle, Astier de Villate, 62€
This Parisian ceramics brand is known for its delicate, handmade porcelain goods. Easier to pack and gift is their collection of heavenly candles, each inspired and named after a different place around the world. To drive home the French theme, pick a Paris-inspired scent like “Commune de Paris”, “Rue Saint Honoré,” or “Palais de Tokyo.”
Opiat Dentaire, Buly 1803, 20€
Buly’s beautifully illustrated packaging and traditional apothecary formulations gets us every time. This toothpaste contains sulfates, calcium, magnesium, and spring water from Castéra-Verduzan for cleaning your mouth, soothing throats, and freshening the breath. Scented with apple, mint cucumber, and coriander.
Angels of Florence, Santa Maria Novella, 130€
Santa Maria Novella was founded in 1221 by Franciscan Friars in Florence. Lucky for you, Le Bon Marché also carries an enviable stock of the pharmacy products. Part of the proceeds from the sales of the “Angels of Florence” cologne goes to support the restoration of Florentine historical artifacts destroyed in the flood of 1966.
Black Magic Mascara, Eyeko, 23,50€
This award-winning mascara is the real deal. The curved brush lifts lashes to keep a curl while the formula helps elongate without clumping or smearing. Designed in England and made in South Korea (where they’re serious about makeup and eyelashes). We’re also big fans of their liquid eyeliner that includes a lash growth serum. Available at & Other Stories and Colette.
Liquid Matte Lipstick, MDMFlow, 21,50€
This indie beauty brand started out in a shed in the backyard of the founder’s parents. MDMFlow is inspired by mid-90’s-00’s hip-hop and creates all-inclusive shades for all skin tones. While this season is all about liquid matte lipstick, check out MDMFlow’s original semi-matte lipsticks for unconventional hues like blue and black. Stocked at Colette.
CC Cream, Erborian, 38,90€
Erborian is a marriage of east and west with two female founders, one French and one South Korean. The CC cream blends to match all skin tones, smoothing over complexions without being drying or too heavy. For darker circles or spots you may still want to pair with a concealer. Perfect for the “no make-up look” and suitable for all skin types and shades.
Foutas from Fouta Tunisia, 12€ each or 2 for 20€
Foutas are all purpose, great as towels to bring to the beach or by the pool. They dry quickly and are light and easy to pack for travel. They can also serve as a blanket, tablecloth, or scarf. This small shop in the Marais has foutas packed from floor to ceiling in every color imaginable. 100% cotton and made in Tunisia.
Copper Syrup Pan, E. Dehillerin, 141,54€
E. Dehillerin dates back to 1820 and is the place to go for stocking up on cookware and kitchen supplies of all kinds. Julia Child was known to frequent the shop in her Paris years. While a beautiful hammered copper pan might be difficult to pack, one could always opt for smaller copper molds for delicious cannelés.
Paris Poster, Vianina, 29,90€
This colorful and graphic map of Paris will have you amused for hours. (Full disclosure: I have one in my apartment, and everytime I look at it, I notice a new landmark. -HS) The poster comes unframed and wrapped in a tube, ready to give. The artist also has illustrated maps for several other cities such as Hamburg, Vienna, New York, Barcelona, Berlin, and Amsterdam. But of course you’ll want Paris.
Foulard Elise, Sandro, 85€
Look in the closet of any Parisian and you’d be hard-pressed not to find something by Sandro. This scarf has a playful pouncing tiger design on a muted navy blue background.
Foulard Mesh & Tigre, Kenzo, 165€
Continuing the feline scarf theme, perhaps no tiger is more famous than the iconic Kenzo tiger print. This scarf combines the Kenzo mesh print and their bold roaring tiger.
Giant Silk Scarf, Hermès, 3550€
Go luxe and oversize with a 140 x 140 cm silk scarf by Hermès. All Hermès scarves are silkscreened with hand rolled and sewn edges. For a smaller version, try the 90 x 90 cm scarf for 350€.
Reflective blue tortoiseshell sunglasses, See Concept, 33€
See Concept is a Parisian brand offering affordable, fun, and lightweight options for reading glasses and sunglasses. We get compliments all the time on our reflective-lens sunglasses. They also make special lenses to reduce the strain of staring at a computer screen for hours (something we could all probably use). Stocked at Colette, Merci, and Le Bon Marché.
Minuit Mesh Rose Gold and Silver Watch, Cluse, 89,95€
We adore the super light mesh watches of Cluse that come with interchangeable straps. We especially love this dual-tone rose gold and silver version by the Dutch brand, classy and fun to match any outfit.
Petite Pochette, Escalator print, Le Bon Marché Collection, 20€
This chic pochette has a print inspired by the iconic elevators inside the venerable grand magasin, Le Bon Marché. Each year, the department store releases a limited edition series of products and accessories that draw on the history of the store.
HAIR, FACE & BODY
Essential multi-purpose oils, Aroma Zone, 5,50€ – 15,50€ for 100ml bottles
Aroma Zone is a do-it-yourself paradise for skin and bodycare enthusiasts. We nearly died the first time we saw their wall of natural oils from all over the world. Their website offers many recipes to whip up your own custom blends. For no-brainer wellness, we suggest the argan oil (all over goodness for hair, face, or body), avocado oil (smoothing and anti-aging properties), and kukui oil (calms psoriasis and great for dry hair).
Australian salt spray, David Mallett, 30€
Hair guru to the stars and native Australian David Mallett runs his his own hair salon in a chic townhouse in Paris. Word on the street is that Marion Cotillard is a client. Now you can bring home part of the experience with his eponymous line of products. We recommend the lightly scented sea salt spray, to give you texture, volume, and hair that looks “dried in the wind after bathing in the sea.”
Aqua Magnifica, Sanoflore, 23,10€ for 400 ml size
Sanoflore is an organic beauty brand made in France. Their bestselling Aqua Magnifica is a skin essence that helps balance skin and reduce inflammation. It does triple duty as a cleanser, toner, and skin treatment.
Fleur de Sel de Guérande, Reflets de France, 3.50€
All the products from the “Reflets de France” range are sourced from specific regions of France. The salt from Guérande is harvested in a traditional and labor intensive way. Salt-workers wait for the sun to evaporate the water from shallow pools, leaving behind delicate salt crystals. Stocked at your local French grocery store.
Miel de Lavande de Provence, La Maison du Miel, 18,80€
La Maison du Miel was founded in 1898. They stock precious jars of honey from regions all over France: Ardéche, Cévennes, Garrigue, Jura, Bretagne, and so forth. Our personal favorite is the honey harvested from bees that feed on lavender flowers in Provence.
Midnight in Paris, caffeine-free red tea, Mariage Frères, 26€
No one can resist a cup of tea from Mariage Frères. The red and gold packaging is especially festive and the caffeine-free roobois tea should have a calming effect during the hectic holiday season.
What’s on your holiday list for giving and getting? Tell us here or on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And please sign up for our newsletter to get the freshest goods from Paris. Stumped on what to get the little ones in your life? Check out our guide to the Best Gifts for Kids!