Bonjour mes amis,
Noël is almost upon us and with it our thoughts turn to charming gifts that you can offer your loved ones to evoke a little bit of France in their lives. Some will even fit in the shoes by the fireplace (the French use shoes, not stockings). Below are 9 gift ideas for authentic French products and products that just say “France.”
1. Paris Street Style: A Coloring Book by Zoe de las Cases, $10.87 at www.amazon.com
A fun coloring book to get you in the mood for a trip to Paris or to remind you of your last trip. Or just to voyage in your imagination.
2. Marius Fabre Savon de Marseille a L’Huile d’Olive, 400 grams, $15.00 at www.french-merchants.com
Since 1900, Marius Fabre has manufactured soaps made only from vegetable oils, no coloring and preservative free. This 400gr block of olive oil based soap is made in the traditional manner and is gentle to the skin.
3. Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway's Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises, by Lesley M. M. Blume, $17.70 hardcover at www.amazon.com
From The Washington Times, “Ms. Blume spares us none of the gory details of betrayals — literary and personal — naked ambition, ruthlessness, and all manner of nastiness that went into the making of this stunning debut, all of which might leave a nasty taste in our mouths. Yet she has somehow managed to retain her admiration for it as a work of literature.”
4. Marrons Glacés Candied Chestnuts in Red Tin by Clément Faugier, $33 at yummybazaar.com
I still remember the delectable candied chestnuts of my childhood, a holiday treat. If you’ve never had them, you are really missing something! This classic French confection combines the umame taste of chestnuts with the melt-in-your-mouth texture of glacéed fruits. You can’t eat just one.
What do David Bowie, Salvador Dali, Gary Cooper (nice gams, Coops!), Ernest Hemingway, and JFK have in common?
5. Authentic Catalonian Espadrilles, $59, www.espadrillestore.com
These are the espadrilles that Picasso, Dali, Hemingway, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Grace Kelly, David Bowie, and anyone else traveling in Catalonia wore. They’re inexpensive, durable, and elegant. Just don’t wear them in the rain!
6. Laguiole Pocket Knives, from $69.95 at www.forge-de-laguiole-usa.com
Laguiole knives are well known in the States as steak knives, but they are better known in France for their vast array of beautiful pocket knives, in all sizes and materials, including horn, precious woods, brass, with beautiful chiseled details along the top and the famous bee that is part of the locking mechanism. I have one myself and have loved it for years.
7. 19th Century Reproduction Parisian Style Folding Bistro Chairs, chair from $99 at www.kpetersen.com
Folding chairs and tables just like the ones you see in Parisian parks, they are lightweight and relatively inexpensive. Note: not ideal for long-term sitting!
8. Riviera Side Chair, from $228 at www.serenaandlily.com
The classic 1930s European café chair, reinterpreted. Handcrafted of lightweight rattan and woven plastic seats, comfortable, family-friendly and great for the kitchen or the patio. (Just remember to store it indoors when the rains come.)
- 9. The Ultimate Travel Tour: Papa’s Paris Tour at www.travellati.com, call for quote.
Now’s her time. After a lifetime of service to others, give her a gift that she will cherish forever: a visit to Paris, Hemingway’s Paris, that is. Travellati’s Papa’s Paris Tour caters to solo boomer travelers, inspiring conviviality, great conversation, leisurely adventures, and surprise pop-up theatrical experiences. Call Liz for an individualized quote, 10% reduction if offered as a gift by 12/30: 914-909-5079.