Looking for the perfect gift for someone who really loves Paris, and all things French? For the Francophiles on your luxury gift list, we’ve got a dozen ideas to help get you started. Our correspondent Julie Chang Murphy has curated our ultimate “I Love Paris” luxury gift guide.
luxury gift ideas for those who love Paris and French culture
There are so many entry points to becoming a full-fledged Francophile. For some, it started with a love of ballet and exposure to French terminology as a young girl or boy. Hearing your teacher ask for a “Pas de chat”, “Fouetté” and “Arabesque” made you feel graceful and elegant even as you clumsily fell off your standing leg.
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Or perhaps, the bon vivant in your life fell in love with French food. And who can blame them? Whether they have a taste for sweets: macrons, crêpes and chocolat, or savory dishes: escargot, duck confit and bouillabaisse, Paris delivers. The Francophile gourmand is immediately transported to a sidewalk Parisienne cafe for hours of lunching and people watching. Or a plush three-Michelin starred restaurant with elaborately choreographed service.
And of course, there’s the much exalted, iconic French style and fashion sense. From the OG French fashionista, Marie Antoinette to Coco Chanel to Carine Roitfeld, the effortless cool and “bien dans sa peau” (well in one’s skin) is something women the world over have admired and tried to emulate.
It’s not unusual for Francophiles to feel like they were been born in the wrong time at the wrong place. And no other place has such an out-sized reputation for being as creative, glamorous and tantalizing as Paris.
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The City of Lights has redefined art, fashion, architecture, food and philosophy for over 100 years. If you’re in need of a perfect luxury gift for people who have an affinity for all things French, there is more than enough inspiration to go around.
Our “I love Paris” luxury gift guide focuses on bringing a piece of the Parisian experience and mood to your cultured Francophile. For those times when they feel out of place, they’ll always have (a bit) of Paris.
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1. French-Inspired Fashion
Achieving that iconic “French woman” look is not as intimidating as it may seem. Your Francophile will love and appreciate these classic pieces in her wardrobe.
This striped jersey tee shirt from agnès b. ($115) is a classic way to channel a jaunty French nautical look. Breton stripe tops were the official uniform of the French Navy in the 1850’s; a mandatory element was 21 blue and white stripes. Today, a classic marinière shirt is must for a true Francophile.
For a more urban edge, Saint Laurent has created the perfect biker jacket ($4,990). Made from buttery leather with a cropped length, this slim fitted jacket will elevate any outfit.
You can never go wrong with a Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton or Goyard bag, but for that “not trying too hard” look that is so emblematic of French It girls, try this understated but sophisticated A.P.C leather shoulder bag ($660) with crocodile embossing.
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For former bunheads, Repetto’s Cendrillon flats ($325) are nostalgic and feminine. And they make our feet look as graceful as a Paris Opera Ballet’s Etoile.
Your Francophile’s inner gamine will rejoice in the gift of a truly chic beret. Happily, there are lots of stylish options that are not too on-the-nose. As a starting point, check out Eugenia Kim’s ‘Coco’ beret ($275). Made from wool-felt, it has a mesh veil overlay and and internal elastic cord to keep it from slipping.
Effortless French chic requires sunglasses. This pair of hot pink cat-eyes with rose-colored lenses from Le Specs x Adam Selman ($119) look like big fun.
Isabel Marant is the cool French girl we all want to be. Anything from her eponymous line would be gratefully and cheerfully accepted by a Francophile. New for fall-winter 2019, this cashmere cardigan ($1,025) caught our eye.
2. Kitchen Tools and Cookbooks
Nothing can soothe the soul and awaken the senses like food. When in doubt, a chunk from a fresh-from-the-oven crusty baguette can cure most troubles. While we fully support ripping it off with your own hands, some occasions might call for a proper knife.
This Laguiole bread knife ($199) is fully handmade with an olive wood handle meant to be passed down for generations.
Madeleines anyone? This platinum silicone tray ($90) whips up a batch of 44 of these delectable French tea cakes.
The epicurean might also enjoy this definitive guide to French cuisine, recommended by top chefs at French establishments like Daniel and Per Se. Larousse Gastronomique: The World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia ($59) not only contains recipes, but teaches readers about the history of French cuisine and most importantly, how to properly use French techniques.
If your friend has been spending a fortune buying sweet crêpes for breakfast and sometimes a savory one for dinner, consider this Le Creuset crepe pan ($149.95) so they can make their own (and one for you!)
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3. Travel Gear and Accessories
Perhaps your gift recipient might like a more literal evocation of The City of Lights. Here are some objets that have Paris written all over them- literally and figuratively.
This leather vintage-inspired luggage tag ($75) adds an element of glamour and adventure to any suitcase.
We love this passport cover ($16.80) that shows true love for Paris, no matter your gift recipient is headed.
Or go all the way and gift a piece of luggage from an iconic French luxury house. Louis Vuitton luggage and bags can personalized with patches from the destinations your gift recipient has visited (or dreams of seeing). You can choose an iconic Parisian hotel, a French word, the Eiffel Tower or perhaps their initials for the perfect I Love Paris luxury gift.
Your Francophile might also love a travel journal emblazoned with the Eiffel Tower ($12.99). The man on your list might swoon for Dior’s “Motion” rucksack in Bleu de Paris ($2,600). Or this gorgeous 3-piece travel set from iconic French luxury house Hermès. It’s comprised of a cashmere case, socks and a sleeping mask ($840).
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4. Home Decor
French inspired home goods can bring an element of sophistication and joie de vivre to any home. Found in cafe tabletops all over Paris, these glass tumblers ($36 for set of six 12 oz glasses) are made in France and suitable for hot and cold beverages.
This rustic and charming cotton tea towel ($12.95) features drawings of various French charcuterie in an appealing, neutral color way that works with any kitchen scheme. Check out this original Folies Bergere poster we found on 1st dibs. This Cheret piece ($12,000) showcases the Belle Epoque style and brings a piece of the historic cabaret hall to the home.
This iconic hippopotamus (€220) by French sculptor and animalier, Francois Pompon makes an adorable addition to the desktop or bookshelf. Bernardaud, the luxury French porcelain maker, has a beautiful votive ($50) featuring the monuments of Paris
The Musee D’Orsay is always one of our favorite stops in Paris. This vibrant serving tray (€9) is inspired by the flowers that are often found in the paintings of Paul Gauguin.
Art and coffee-table books can add immediate French flair to your gift recipient’s living space. Maison Assouline is the perfect place to start. We love their take on French style ($75). You also opt for books about iconic Parisians, like Manet and Picasso.
5. Fragrance and Scented Candles
France is renowned for its perfume industry. Paris, as well as the southern city of Grasse, is where some of the world’s most prestigious and expert “noses” work, crafting iconic scents for worldwide brands and designers. Fragonard is perhaps the most well known parfumerie.
This charming set of 5 petit fragrances ($64) : Frivole, Daïma, Fragonard, Belle denuit and Ile d’amour are wonderful examples of their long tradition in perfume making.
Memo Paris’ scent “French Leather” ($300) with key notes of Lime essence, Rose water essence, and Suede accord, captures the “Leather that rises up beneath the rose.”
“Joy” by Jean Patou ($350), the renowned classic French parfum is made with over 28 dozen May Roses and 10,600 Jasmine flowers.
There are numerous scented candles that purportedly convey the scent of Paris. Here are three options that might please your Francophile. Diptyque’s 34 Boulevard Saint Germain ($85) smells of “moss, crumpled black currant leaves and fig.” Lauderee’s Marie Antoinette candle ($50) is “scented with notes of citrus, honey and rose.” Cire Trudon’s Solis Rex ($105) is meant to evoke the Château de Versailles’s famous Hall of Mirrors with notes of eucalyptus and cedar.
The incredibly chic Hotel Costes has a curated line of scented candles ($55) that burn in the hotel’s lively common areas, and will transport your gift recipient there with one whiff. L’Ambre Ritz is the iconic Ritz Paris fragrance. The scented candle ($150) has the fragrance of amber blended with light, delicate and sophisticated oriental notes. And Astier De Villatte’s glass-enclosed candle (£60) evokes the unique spirit and character of the Commune de Paris, France.
6. Beauty Products
Despite all the current trends of K-beauty, organic and single ingredient products and even crystal charged elixirs, French skincare is always at the forefront of luxury and innovation.
We are big fans of Sisley’s luxury line. The Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream Discovery Program ($195) contains a a full size Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream paired with two deluxe travel face mask and eye mask.
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French beauty junkies also love the acclaimed brand, Caudalie which bases many of its products off grape seed extract from the grapes of the Bordeaux region. The Vinoperfect Radiance Serum ($79) has been a bestseller in French Pharmacies since 2008.
Does the Francophile in your life want the perfect chignon or swishy ponytail? The cult haircare brand Leanor Greyl has been used in the most prestigious Parisian hair salons and was a pioneer of the green movement in beauty. Their Huile Secret de Beauté ($70) is a 5-star favorite of beauty editors, celebrities and stylists. It’s packed with a nourishing blend of natural oils, fatty acids and vitamins E and A to smooth and soften those locks.
7. The Sporting Life
You might not immediately think of sports when it comes to France. But it is after all, home to two annual elite events in the world of sports: the Tour de France and the French Open at Roland Garros.
Check out this vintage inspired Tour shirt ($45) that celebrates 100 years of the trademark yellow jersey being awarded to the stage leader and overall winner.
Also, this Tour de France Tissot T-Race Special Edition Watch ($593) features a design inspired by racing bikes and is perfect for runners and cyclists.
Score with Francophile tennis fans with the Official Roland-Garros 2019 woman’s player towel ($30) which cleverly combines the Eiffel Tower with a tennis racket graphic.
For gents, this colorblocked Lacoste-Roland Garros Polo ($98) is crisp, clean and classic for any summer ensemble.
Instantly transport your gift recipient to the City of Lights with music. From classical to dance electronic, here are some of our favorite French musicians.
Debussy’s impressionistic music needs no introduction. This essential album of piano recordings ($22 for 2 CDs) is an audio masterpiece.
France’s national chanteuse, Edith Piaf, specialized in torch ballads about love, loss and sorrow that carried French identity to the rest of the world. The Voice of the Sparrow ($11 for mp3) includes all of her best songs.
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French electronic music duo Air can set the mood like no other. Talkie Walkie ($7.99 for mp3) is their third studio album, and in our humble opinion, the greatest.
Héloïse Letissier is a contemporary French singer and songwriter behind Christine and the Queens. She identifies her music as “freakpop” which is an accurate description given her eclectic performances and brutally honest themes. Her second album, Chris ($13.98 for mp3) was recognized as “Album of the Year” by The Guardian.
Books about Paris or novels that take place in Paris could be the subject of an entire article. But here are some standouts for Francophiles always yearning to add to their collection. Or who want the experience of traveling to Paris again, without ever getting on a plane.
If your gift recipient doesn’t already have a copy, you can’t go wrong with The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. We also love the comic and lovely Paris versus New York: A Tally of Two Cities by Vahram Muratyan.
How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of a Modern City by Joan DeJean ($15) details the lively evolution of this mythic city. Mary McAuliffe takes the reader to the Paris of our collective imaginations. When Paris Sizzled: The 1920s Paris of Hemingway, Chanel, Cocteau, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, and Their Friends ($20) portrays the City of Lights post-war and all the giant creative personalities that are now household names.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George ($9) is a lovely romantic story about Jean Perdu, who owns a floating bookshop in Paris. He has an amazing knack for knowing exactly which book his customer is in need of at that moment but the only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself. Everything changes when he finally opens the letter she left him years ago.
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay ($10) is told in both past and present, about a present day journalist and her connections to Sarah, a ten year-old girl, who is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup of 1942.
10. Fine French Food and Drink
French food has a well-deserved reputation for being the finest in the Western world. While you can’t bring your loved one an entree from any of France’s 27 three Michelin star restaurants, there are many luxurious food options that are far easier to transport.
For those with a sweet tooth, there is not a more delightful and fanciful gift than Ladurée macarons ($73 for box of 24). After all, the definitive French patisserie invented this legendary cookie.
Jean Paul Hevin’s chocolates meet the highest French standards in taste, texture, shape, stability and smoothness. We’re pretty sure this cigar-inspired box (129,80 € ) displaying his entire range of creations is the best gift ever for chocolate lovers.
Maison du Miel is a honey institution that has been in operation since 1898. This collection of artisanal honey (17,70 €) gives a taste of the terroir of France.
Salt snobs will appreciate the one and only Fleur de Sel from Guerande ($22). We used to stuff these iconic purple satchels in our suitcases on our way home from France but now they are available on Amazon.
Finally, a truly special treat from Paris is tea from the gorgeous shop in the Place des Vosges, Dammann Freres. It’s one of the loveliest shops in Paris, and they can ship to most locations worldwide.
11. Wine and Spirits
If all else fails, a Francophile will almost always appreciate a fine bottle of French wine, champagne and for the daring- the green fairy, absinthe.
Château Margaux is a renowned wine estate in the Bordeaux region. This 2012 vintage ($571) is consistently rated as one of their best by food and wine authorities.
For celebratory occasions, The House of Krug’s “Grande Cuvée,” Brut – NV ($176) is a stunning choice combining lemon citrus and orchard fruits, luscious marzipan and candied notes with rich, toasted brioche aromas.
Follow in the footsteps of 19th century greats like Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Toulouse Lautrec and enjoy a classic bottle of Absinthe. Vieux Pontarlier ($74.95) produces the gold standard in this category.
12. French Cinema
Our I Love Paris luxury gift guide can’t be complete without a nod to French cinema, Cannes, and the magic of films about or set in Paris.
France can, with some justification, claim to have invented the whole concept of cinema. Film historians call The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station, the 50-second film by the Lumière brothers first screened in 1895, the birth of the medium.
Cineastes would almost certainly value an edition of one of the classic French New Wave films from the late 1950’s from directors including François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Claude Chabrol. Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959) and Godard’s Breathless (1960) would be great places to start.
For modern-day romantic types, Before Sunrise, Ninotchka, The Devil Wears Prada, and Midnight in Paris are all classics of the “travel to Paris and fall in love” genre. And of course there’s the charming Amélie.
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The Ultimate I Love Paris Luxury Gift Guide
C’est tout! There are so many reasons to love Paris. Whether the Francophile in your circle has only been there once or has a pied-à-terre in the 6th Arrondissement, these gifts will let them fall in love with it all over again.
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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.
Crediting her training as a cultural anthropologist at Wellesley College, Julie has immersed herself in various industries in the last 15 years including fashion design, event planning, fitness and even investigating police misconduct. Julie lives in NYC where she loves trying every ramen and dumpling restaurant with her husband and three children. She finds joy in bold prints, biographies of fierce women, kickboxing and spending way too long finding the perfect polish color to express her mood.
Join our community
For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter. And see luxury in a new light.