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Christmas in Paris is magical.

 

Like many other cities in the world, the department store chains launch the holiday season with their much anticipated displays and decorations.

 

For starters, Parisians and tourists alike await the show-stopping Christmas tree at Galeries Lafayette, which is decorated differently every year.

 

This year’s dazzling multi-coloured tree towers up in the centre of the rotunda, and is visible from every floor.*

 

Paris is also just about the best place in the world to buy Christmas gifts.

 

So I have put together a list of gifts from Paris that I recommend for family and friends.

 

You will not be surprised that most of them involve food or drink.

 

Le Bon Marché Department Store Christmas Decorations 2019

 

Diana’s Top Ten Christmas Gifts To Buy In Paris

 

1.  French Macarons

 

A box of these light-as-air artistic treats are as much fun to buy as they are to give. They have crispy shells surrounded by a creamy center, usually made of ganache, butter cream or jam.

They come in so many colours and flavours that it might take you a while to decide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  A Book with a Stamp from Shakespeare and Company

 

If you’ve ever been to this renown English language bookstore on the left bank, a stone’s throw from Notre Dame cathedral, you will know that it was once the hangout of writers and artists like Hemingway and Fitzgerald.

The store is largely unchanged and maintains its ramshackle charm. Pick up a book and have the staff stamp the inside for the perfect souvenir gift for any book lover.

 

3.  French Chocolate

 

French chocolate tends to be darker than Belgian or Swiss chocolate, so I prefer it.

Stay clear of the usual mini-chains like Maison du Chocolat, and find a local purveyor like Dehauve and Gallais, (which first made chocolates for Marie Antoinette) or Benoit Chocolates in the Marais.

That way your gift will be extra special.

 

4.  Hot Chocolate from Angelina

 

It’s a touristy thing to do when in Paris — to go to Angelina’s for hot chocolate, so thick and creamy, that your spoon stands up in the cup.

I am not a huge fan of Angelina’s as it is overrated as a restaurant, but the hot chocolate is legendary.

Now you can buy a bottle ready-made to heat up at home.

 

Hot Chocolate bottled for sale from Angelina’s

 

4.  Souvenirs from Cafe de Flore

 

Café de Flore in St. Germain is well-known as the former hangout for philosophers, writers and artists like Pablo Picasso.

You can also buy the table setting items they use, including mugs, coffee pots,  cups, bowls, pitchers and glasses. You can also take home some of their pretty place mats for FREE!

You have to take the stairwell to the second floor to find them, which is why most people don’t know about these little treasures.

 

 

Place Setting Souvenirs from Café de Flore

 

5.  French Beret

 

Too corny?

I still remember the one I wore to death when I was about 12. It was white. I featured it to the side, of course, and thought I looked so chic!

I still think they look great on women of any age.

 

6.  Crepe Mix

 

Yes you can make “crêpes” from scratch.  But I think my friends would be more likely to do so if they already had an authentic mix.

I might add a few crepe recipes to make this a nice gift, such as, my favorite savory crepe — ham, Gruyère cheese and mushrooms.

The mix comes in kilogram bags at the Grocery Breizh Café in the Marais.

 

7.  Maille Mustard

 

Most of us know Dijon mustard but that is just one of the many mustards made by the Maille company.

Their Paris shop called La Maison Maille Boutique has a dazzling display with flavours ranging from tarragon to horseradish, 

Some of the mustards are pressed on the premises, come in beautiful ceramic containers, and are then gift-wrapped in black paper.

You can also buy Maille mustards at home or online but it is so much fun getting them at the source.

Check out another of my favs — Morel Mushroom and Chablis Mustard HERE!

 

 

I like the ceramic containers for some of Maille mustards!

 

 8.  Truffles

 

This is a gift that I wish someone would give to me!

Truffles –the fungus not the chocolates — are not to everyone’s taste.  But if you have ever ordered an “omelette aux truffes” in France, I promise you will be a convert, and happy to find a tiny jar of them under your tree.

You can find truffles in fine stores all over Paris.

Or you can visit the restaurant, La Maison de la Truffe Madeleine (which specializes in every truffle dish possible), and buy truffles from their little shop next door.

 

9.  Vintage Clothing

 

Paris has super vintage boutiques where you might spot the perfect French scarf or jewelry— they make nice gifts!

Two recommendations are l’Exception in the 10th arrondissement and Odetta Vintage Consignment Store in the 3rd.

But beware. Often you will end up buying something for yourself instead.

All part of the fun!

 

10.  French Champagne That You Cannot Buy At Home

 

As my new Parisian friend Cynthia Coutu of Delectabulles will tell you, the best French Champagne is not the super expensive imports that we can buy where we live.

France’s smaller “cultivateurs” are what to look for in Paris.

Cynthia encourages tourists to take advantage and sample the very best Champagne and sparkling wines that they would not find at home.

And at surprisingly affordable prices.

 

 

Picture courtesy of Delectabulles.com

 

 

That’s my list folks!

What do you think?

Would you like to get any of these for Christmas?

Please Comment Below.  I love hearing from you!

 

Footnote: Will You Be In Paris This Christmas?

 

*For the first time, Galeries Lafayette has created a 160 m² ice-skating rink on the rooftop offering skaters a sublime setting looking out over the Opéra Garnier, Eiffel Tower and other architectural Parisian gems.

 

And remember that there are about 20 Carousels in Paris that are Free for children and adults alike during the Christmas season!

Profitez-en!

 

 

The city of Paris has 20 Carousels!

 

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18 Comments

  1. Kelly on December 8, 2019 at 9:57 am

    What a fun post with such thoughtful gift ideas! Makes me want to rush off to Paris before the holidays. Thanks for putting together the best gift guide of all the bloggers that I follow.

    • Diana Bishop on December 9, 2019 at 10:17 am

      Fortunately some of these can be bought at home but it is fun to buy them in Paris. I have yet to spend Christmas in Paris but that is on my to do list. So great to hear from you — Diana

  2. Luci on December 8, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    Thanks Diana. I have a beret yeah. Its grey but i wished I’d bought Red, apple red. I love your list. A foodie list. I want to try the champagnes now that i know. The one thing I did love was the hot chocolate at Angelinas.(plus that was my Moms name)
    My shopping is done for this year but there is always room for treats for next years list. I will start my shopping in Sept when we are there. I am so excited already.

    • Diana Bishop on December 9, 2019 at 10:16 am

      Hi Luci — yes on your trip in September make sure you pack an extra suitcase to buy some of these goodies. One that did not make the my list is LAVENDER SALT .. which you can buy in Le Bon Marche among hundreds of other kinds of salt. It makes a beautiful gift and was featured in my French Box Giveaway if you remember.

      I am also starting a Travellers Section in my blog in the New Year for my subscribers to write about their trips to Paris. I would love to feature you of course!

      Thanks as always for commenting. Diana

  3. astrid thomas on December 8, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you Diana for this nice list, and chic suggestions.
    Hot chocolate from Angelina is irresistible!
    I always have Angelina’s chocolate in my kitchen. … really delicious in Winter!
    I buy Grounded milk chocolate, 1 kg. When I go to Paris, I always make a stop at Angelina, for a cup of hot chocolate or for a very good brunch (reserve you table before!).
    See you soon, Astrid

    • Diana Bishop on December 9, 2019 at 10:12 am

      Salut Astrid! J’aurais aimée être a Metz pour Noêl! J’aimerai voir comment vous célébrez Noêl en famille! Un jour bien sur!

  4. Trudy Van Buskirk on December 8, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    I’ve worn berets for years now – could be part of being an aficionado of all things French……My mastermind group meets every month at Patisserie La Cigogne – a French coffee/ te shoppe/ restaurant in Toronto – your article reminded me to buy macarons when we go next! Thanks Diana (and to start wearing my beret again.)

    • Diana Bishop on December 9, 2019 at 10:06 am

      Trudy,

      I hope we get to meet over the winter at La Cicogne and you are wearing your beret! Thank you for your comment. And stay tuned for next week’s blog about “lingerie” oh yes! And a surprise Christmas GIVEAWAY for one of my subscribers. Diana

  5. Robyn Poulton on December 9th in Melbourne Australia (where we are experiencing a very hot day) on December 8, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    Robyn…ooh La la……where do I start.?……I would love to dine at Cafe de Flore….sipping a beautiful Champagne…then pop upstairs to discover a souvenier……then to take a ride on the Carousel blowing kisses at the Eiffel Tower wearing my new beret from Galleries Lafayette! ????????????⚘
    Thank you Diana…loving and enjoying Woman of a Certain Age in Paris ????

    • Diana Bishop on December 9, 2019 at 10:03 am

      You always make my day Robyn! I am sure a beret would look great on you! I know the summer in Australia is challenging with all the fires and heat, so I am sending my best wishes to you and all my Australian followers. You mean a lot to me. Diana

      • Robyn Poulton on December 14, 2019 at 8:04 pm

        Bonjour Diana. Thank you for your lovely compliment? Australia is such a large and diverse country with each State “uniquely different”. I am originally from Queensland….the sunshine state however now living in Melbourne where you can experience the four seasons in one day!
        I am joining friends for a Christmas Picnic today in the beautiful Botanical Gardens……..so will wear a hat as well as taking an umbrella!. If it should rain we will simply sip our Champagne ?and sing and dance in the rain…..????……..problem is “What to wear”!! Cheers ??
        Robyn.poulton@bigpond.com

        • Diana Bishop on December 15, 2019 at 8:38 am

          I would love to visit Australia! One day. It is far but everyone says such a delight to see. You have a wonderful Christmas Robyn and keep posting your comments! Best in 2020. Diana

  6. Sharon Reese on December 9, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Bonjour Diana,
    I was French in France ?? in a past life, and now I am French in this life❤️ ??
    Merci for your FB page and blog…
    Sharon

    • Diana Bishop on December 9, 2019 at 5:48 pm

      Hi Sharon,

      I was definitely French in my past life, and I am finally living my dream
      as someone more French in this life. I get it Sharon. Thank you so much for your comment. Happy Holidays, Diana

  7. Juliette Wood on December 10, 2019 at 12:14 am

    Hi Diana, we were very recently in Paris for a short “Chunnel trip” from London and made hasty arrangements to avoid the general strike. Having read of the disturbances at Galleries La Fayette by the “yellow jackets” in mid-November, we decided to skip visiting it during our trip so close to the strike. It would be good to hear your views/ experiences/ observations of coping with demonstrations in France and Paris specifically this season.
    We were told that the macarons would only be good for 4-5 days in the fridge, so we ate them there as we weren’t going directly home! And just to add a couple of restaurant recommendations that we hugely enjoyed after locals directed us there: Bistrot d’Henri in St. Germain and Au Vieux Comptoir in the 1st.
    Juliette

    • Diana Bishop on December 10, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      Juliette, yes I know how difficult it can be in Paris with any kind of a strike or protest. They are increasingly common before Christmas. Parisians are very adaptable and walk every where but when train is also disrupted this is very difficult indeed. I am very interested in this story about French pension reform but will have more to say on it on Facebook rather than here on my blog. Thank you for bringing up the subject and I hope you still enjoyed your trip. Diana

      • Juliette Wood on December 11, 2019 at 2:05 pm

        Yes we always enjoy Paris and loved the ease of visiting it from London on the Chunnel! We totally avoided the strike by traveling earlier and even though we revisited our favourite parts of the Louvre and the d’Orsay the best experiences were with the locals we met.
        I’ll look forward to your Facebook comments on the pension reform plans. Juliette

  8. Dan Cummings on December 10, 2019 at 11:29 am

    The current Shakespeare and Company was created by George Whitman, and named after Sylvia Beach’s original Shakespeare and Company on the Rue de l’Odeon. His daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman, now owns the store. She has expanded it to include a café. There is a great book that came out a few years ago about the store, Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart. That would make a great Christmas present for all of us who love the store!

    While I am on the subject, I’ll tell another favorite Paris story. Shakespeare occasionally has performances on Sundays in the little plaza in front of the store. One summer day a few years ago, I heard the Don La Rue Combo, a group of American musicians, playing an outdoor free concert. They do standards like Cole Porter and other songs from that era. After buying a CD, I asked which one of them was Don. “All of us are,” he replied. I thought for a few seconds before the play on words came to me. They were all “dans la rue”.

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