With Christmas less than two weeks away, I thought I would share a few ideas for unique gifts that you could give at Christmas or any time of year. (Disclosure: I bought all of these things for myself). Some of these items can be found outside of France; however, wouldn’t you rather go to France and go shopping? Here’s my list from least to most expensive unique gifts:
It could be a unique gift for the foodie in your life. When I was at the cooking workshop, Le Foodist, Fred shared with us the item that he really likes as it is the closest thing to real chicken broth. The Ariake group and famous French chef, Joel Robuchon joined forces to create this “100% natural broth”. The chicken (or vegetable) bullion comes in pouches and you infuse one with boiling water. You don’t have to go to fancy stores to get it. I picked my package up in Monoprix.
Fleur de Sel
Fleur de Sel is hand-harvested salt from the sea and it is found in the west of France in Brittany, but you can also find it in the Camargue and in the south of France, too. You can also pick it up in grocery stores anywhere in France. Word about its use: it is not used for seasoning a dish while you cook it. If it is exposed to high temperatures, it will melt and lose its uniqueness. It is best used when you want to add a little “zing” just before eating something freshly made, such as meat, fruit, or a vegetable such as a ripe tomato.
I bought two toy cars: one for me and one for my godson. The classic car, created in the 1940s just reminds me of France and you’ll see more and more of them, particularly in Paris as companies take tourists on1-2 hour rides through the city showing them the sites.
Let’s be honest. The French are not really known for their coffee. However, I do like the coffee from Café Richard. Their coffee is distributed around the world, including those in Canada and there are 7 retail outlets in Paris. I have not only purchased the coffee beans to take home, but a tea cup, bowl and container. I just like the design and colours. Les Comptoirs Richard and Café Richard
France is divided into regions and each region has a number. When I was in Biarritz and Pau in the southwest region of France I was in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques department, number 64. There is a chain of stores called “64” that sell hip items such as these wine glasses and tray that I purchased. The store carries clothing as well as accessories. Just a lot of fun stuff with their “64” logo.
Diptyque Is a French maker of luxury scented candles and perfumes. The oval label is a signature icon of the brand that was created in 1961. I went to the original store at 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain to purchase “Baies” (Berries) one of the most popular fragrances. The description is as follows: “It expresses the irresistible freshness of a bouquet of roses, sweetened with blackcurrant leaves.” This is a unique gift that can also be found in North American stores.
Yes I could mention Cartier, Piaget, and other brands of watches, but every time I wear this watch I smile. It’s a fun watch. The face says it all: ” C’est La Vie” (That’s Life). The watch was made by Lito.com, which has a number of collections created by well-known designers. Mine was done by Ben and it is part of the Artistictac collection.
I don’t wear this scarf. I just look at it. As I mentioned in another post, I went to Hermes in Paris asking to see scarves of a certain size (they range in size from 22” X 22” bandanas to 55” X 55” shawls) containing purple. I didn’t have the heart to say I wasn’t going to wear it so the saleslady kept bringing out scarves for me to try on. I was more interested in how the scarf would look on a wall.
I brought it home and found a really good framer who took his time stitching the scarf onto a board and then framing it behind museum-grade glass. I figured if I spent a lot on the scarf, I might as well protect it from the UV rays. It is the centre-piece of my living room, positioned above the sofa. I love it. Was it expensive? In comparison to the framing, NO! (But it was worth it)
What gifts have you bought in France that were particularly unique?
Here are some other posts related to shopping: