Parisian Living

Paris Holiday Gift Guide: 5 Original Takes on Traditional French Gifts

by Neil Kreeger

It’s funny that I’m writing this article given that my nickname around this time of year is “the grinch.” I’m not really into the festive spirit, preferring just to be nice, generous, and jolly all year around rather than just for a couple of weeks every winter.

A woman in a short black dress, lying on the floor, wearing high heeled red sandals, and red and white socks from the Parisian store Royalties. Her feet and legs are perched above her, on burgundy and white fabric draped over a large sofa.

Royalties

However, despite my grinch ways, I am excellent at buying gifts, always able to pick out the right one for the occasion (and person). So to help you with the chore of purchasing your loved ones back home that perfect Parisian present, here are five original takes on traditional gifts. 

Light Their Fire

A lit candle from La Note Parisienne in a dark glass container with a black and white label. It is sat within a snowy, white Christmas setting with red berry sprays just behind it.

La Note Parisienne

Now that it’s dark and cold and miserable (not my soul, the weather), a glowing scented candle can transform the mood at home with the flick of a match. But the market is flooded with these blocks of wax and it can be overwhelming trying to pick out the right one. During your trip to Paris, why not avoid the cliché of the likes of Diptyque or Cire Trudon and go for something more imaginative such as La Note Parisienne, which produces a range of candles evoking (almost) each one of Paris’ 20 arrondissements. Maison La Bougie is another great choice for beautifully boxed candles with scents including SorbetLa Vraie Vie, and Paris. 

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Nice Cream

On the left there is a photo of the interior of Oh My Cream's cheerful shop which has light walls, parquet floors, one black accent wall and accents of the brands packaging in pastel pink, yellow, and turqoise neatly displayed throughout the store. On the right is a close up of the make-up section of their store which is a small alcove with mirrors, light pink walls and a white accent wall, along with a display of very small colourful jars.

Oh My Cream!

This harsh weather can wreak havoc on one’s skin. Chapped, sore, and rough, it needs constant attention and the right product to keep to it smooth and healthy. We all know the main brands out there, but we can do better than that, ladies and gents, when it comes to offering solace to our friends’ and family.

On the left is a display wall from the interior of one of Oh My Cream' Parisian stores, with a number of shelves with neatly displayed products. On the right is a stack of 
several pink boxes of their 'Crème Universelle' against a white cotton background.

Oh My Cream!

Oh My Cream! brings together the best of clean beauty brands in one space and offers special Christmas box sets as well as individual creams for the face, body, and hair. The historic Officine Universelle Buly not only sells exquisitely bottled skin treatments, but the original store in Saint-Germain-des-Près is worth a visit in its own right. You can even have a hand-written calligraphy message included with your gift for that extra personal touch!

On the left, stack of books with various tubes and bottles of Officine Unverselle Buly's products artfully displayed amongst them. On the right is a plate of fruit on a table with two cubes to the side of the it. Sat on eac of the cubes are products from Oh My Cream.

Officine Universelle Buly / Oh My Cream!

Scent From Heaven

Everyone likes to smell good, and odors can create strong memories and intimate moments. The problem is that if you go for, say, Chanel N°5 or Jean Paul Gauliter’s Le Male, those special instances suddenly get ruined when you come across somebody with the same scent. However, if you pick out something from the other side of the world, for example in Paris, then the chances of your unique souvenirs being hijacked are minimal. Liquides, a perfume bar with two locations in Paris, has a wide variety of little-known brands and can help you match a perfume to a specific personality. The hugely talented Serge Lutens, who has worked for Dior and Shiseido, also has his own collection of highly prestigious bouquets, each in its own elegant bottle, sure to delight the recipient. 

On the left there are two sets of legs depicting two people sitting down, wearing Christmas socks - one dressed in plaid trousers and one in a short skirt, both surrounded by Christmas presents and various items. On the right is a set of bare male legs from the knee down, reclining on the floor with blue socks decorated with little pineapples on them. There is a pineapple just next to the person's feet.

Royalties

Knock Your Socks Off

Now this is more my subject. I love me a pair of fun socks. True fact: I don’t own a single pair of single-color socks. Even if I have to dress smart, I always slip on a pair of colorful socks. Like neckties or pocket handkerchiefs, socks are the perfect accessory with which to make a statement and say a lot about your personality. With Royalties, the Parisian sock brand, you can choose between polka dots, ski, or animal motifs as well as some original weaves, safe in the knowledge that they’ll last a while given their fabrication by a couple of historic, family-owned manufacturers. For something a little bolder, take a look at Bonne Maison’s collection, where you’ll find a lot of floral patterns, some almost-psychedelic motifs, and even a few that are a tad naughty (wink wink). 

On the left and right are shots of women dressed in a mid length skirts and flat shoes, wearing eclectic socks from Bonne Maison.

Bonne Maison

Navigating Paris

The French capital is the most visited city in the world, and since it’s been written about from every possible angle, it’s almost impossible to produce some truly original material on it. The typical travel guides lead each reader to the same old places, while even the newer, trendier guides struggle to offer anything fresh.

A book by Astier de Vilatte, with gold trim, opened on a wooden tray, outside in the sun.

Astier de Villatte – Sophie Delaporte

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for that seasoned Parisian traveler, think outside the box and surprise them with Ma Vie à Paris by Astier de Villatte, an atypical guidebook in the guise of a novel so as not to betray the owner as a tourist. Within its pages you’ll find the favorite spots of the ceramic company’s founders, including restaurants and cafés but also attorneys, acupuncturists, and knife sharpeners. John Baxter’s The Most Beautiful Walk in the World is a memoir-cum-literary guide to the French capital through the eyes of a writer and former tour guide, and is one of the more creative works about Paris in recent years. 

On the left is a copy of Astier de Villate's Ma Vie a Paris, sat on a wooden bench, below which are a few Petanque balls on sandy ground. On the right are a copies of Ma Vie a Paris and Ma Vie Aux Puces.

Astier de Villatte – Sophie Delaporte

Addresses

La Note Parisienne – available at multiple locations around Paris. 

Maison La Bougie – available at multiple locations around Paris

Oh My Cream! – 6 locations throughout Paris

Officine Universelle Buly – several locations around Paris

Liquides – 9 rue de Normandie 75003 Paris

Serge Lutens – 324 rue Saint Honoré 75001 Paris

Royalties – available at multiple locations around Paris

Bonne Maison – available at multiple locations around Paris

A woman's bare legs are photographed from the knees down, wearing open toed red high heeled sandals and burgundy sock printed socks from the Parisian store Royalties.

Royalties

Related Links

On the left are several pairs of Royalties socks in blue, burgundy, white and pink with assorted patterns. On the right are fold stacks of colourful socks from the Parisian store Royalties in pink, yellow and white and green and pink.

Royalties

Written by Neil Kreeger for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a  fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.

Written By

Neil Kreeger

Originally from London but living and working in Paris for more than 10 years, Neil started out as a travel journalist mainly reviewing hotels all over the world for an online magazine based in Paris. While he still writes for various publications including Luxos Magazine and Pullman Hotels' Junction Magazine, he has more recently turned his attention to the food and beverage industry and has worked at several well-known restaurants in Paris. View Neil Kreeger's Website

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