If someone on your holiday shopping list loves Paris, it should be a snap finding something they’ll like. Even if they already have French perfume, scarves, and enough Eiffel Tower statues to fill a room!
Magazine subscriptions are always a nice gift that keeps on giving (just make sure they don’t already subscribe). There’s a lot to choose from out there, but one of my favourites is This City Paris. There’s always great articles written by insiders in Paris, full-colour photos and illustrations, and pull-out sections for other parts of France. Another is Paris Notes, a newsletter that’s published ten times annually. Subscribers get access to special sections on the website, as well. France Press, Inc. publishes two magazines, one in French (for French expats in the US and those wanting to improve their French) and one in English. The English version, France Today, covers all of France with articles on culture and travel, perfect for arm-chair travelers. Finally, France Magazine is a full-colour magazine published bi-monthly and covering all of France.
Books are never a bad idea, and there are always a ton written about Paris. Type in “Paris” in the Barnes & Nobel website and the first few books cover a wide range of interests. “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris is a sort of collection of thoughts of the author, including his life in a little French town. It’s hilarious if you enjoy caustic, un-PC type of humour. Patricia Wells’ “The Paris Cookbook” is considered one of the best French cookbooks written by an expat in France. “Paris to the Moon” is an account of New Yorker columnist Adam Gopnik’s experiences living and raising a son in Paris. “Paris: Past and Present” is a beautiful coffee-table book full of photos and text about the city’s ancient glories and modern achievements. And of course there are the various travel guides and classics like Hemmingway’s “A Moveable Feast”. For children there’s the Madelein series of illustrated books.
If your Paris fanatic speaks or wants to learn French and lives near an Alliance Française, why not buy them an annual membership? Check their official website for locations and contact information for chapters throughout the US. Members get special rates on language and cultural courses, invitations to French celebration like Bastille Day, and access to a French video, magazine and book library. A great way to keep up on French culture between trips!
Finally, there are plenty of websites where you can buy French goods normally not found outside France. France Gourmet has all of the French goodies like cheeses, bread, chocolates and jams, delivered worldwide. Get an original and valuable gift from the French Mint, Monnaie de Paris. You’ll find commemorative Francs, jewellery and decorative objects. The writers on your list will love the French notebooks and stationary from Papier Plus in Paris. My French Store has a range of French products guaranteed to arrive by Christmas if ordered by December 18th. Finally, if the person on your list is in Paris already, browse the holiday gifts at LastMinute.com for discounted gourmet meals in fine restaurants or a voucher for a day at the spa. I just saw a listing for New Year’s Eve dinner at the Alcazar for just 115€. And that would be a deal any time of the year! Happy holidays and good luck shopping!
This article is one of the 78 original “Secrets of Paris” articles published between September 1999 and July 2004. After disappearing into the internet graveyard for almost 15 years, I’ve republished them in autumn 2019 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Secrets of Paris: “1999-2019: Twenty Years of the Secrets of Paris” Broken and dead links have been updated or deactivated, but otherwise the article remains unchanged.