It’s that time of year again… and what a strange year we’ve had! Since we have been “stuck” at home a lot more this year, online shopping has dramatically increased. That said, it is still possible to buy from smaller companies and help keep them afloat in these difficult times! Therefore, all of the items on this year’s list are small-scale companies or books by France-based writers (If you’re based in Paris, please try to buy your books at a real bookstore, I recommend the Red Wheelbarrow which is doing Click & Collect or you can also find a great French reading list by My French Life available at small bookstores here). There are also a few special offers just for you! I hope this can help you find the perfect gift for your francophile loved ones. As usual, all items on this list can be shipped to North America, and in some cases also internationally. Happy shopping and stay safe!
Kasia Dietz Bags
You may remember Kasia Dietz’s bags from previous holiday posts. Every year she adds new designs to her collection and thus, I’m happy to share her new creations with you! Her beautiful bags, clutches and totes are all made in Paris. Her designs are inspired by France and her travels furter afield. This year, she’s added the chic Versailles clutch (above top-left) and Mont-Blanc Alps handbags and clutches (top right). She also has a great line of hand-painted Paris totes (like above bottom left and right). See her full collection here. Until November 22nd, members of my Patreon club get a 30% discount! So it’s the perfect time to join, more details on it here (membership cancelable at any time).
Paris, Meet Boston
The team of the blog Paris, Meet Boston has extended its love of France with their lines of clothing (and homeware). Their T-shirts, sweaters, children’s ware and tote bags have the cutest French slogans, like “je t’aime” and “bonjour gorgeous!” are perfect for Francophiles on your gift list. They also have fun mugs, throw pillows, some wall art and other cool Frenchie merchandise. Plus… just in time for the holiday season they’ve launched some fabulous holiday-themed items (see above), such great gift ideas! They’ve kindly offered our readers a special 20% discount for your holiday shopping! Browse their online shop here and use the code JTMN2020FETES while checking out to get your discount.
Hygge by Dizzy & Co Designs
For your loved ones on your gift list that live in cooler climates, take a look at the cozy and cute handcrafted artisan crochet apparel and accessories by British designer Katherine Alexander. Created in her workshop in the Southwest of France and using top quality French fabrics, Katherine has a line of pochos, scarves, berets and more. I am particularly fond of the “tricolore beret” in red, white and blue! The thick neck scarves are also rather chic. View her full collections here.
Porsha Bella Jewellery
If you have someone who could like some classy and unique jewellery, have a look at the designs of Sarah, a passionate Australian jewellery designer living in the Alps. Sarah scours brocantes and vide greniers in search of forgotten treasures, which she then transforms into one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces. French antique and vintage buttons, which might have once been on a WWI military coat, or a Chanel jacket, make each piece truly unique and with its own story. Peruse her beautiful necklaces, earrings, bracelets and bangles here.
Cureor – Eco-friendly Beauty Products & More
For your environmentally-minded loved ones, have a look at the site of Cureor, a curated selection of French artisanal beauty products, toiletries and homeware. These include home essentials, natural clean beauty brands and zero waste products, all of which carefully source quality ingredients and raw materials. Behind the project is Madeline Baillieux, a Franco-American who has lived in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Paris and is now living in the South of France. She opened an online shop opened in August and will hopefully be opening a physical store soon. They various “coffrets” gift boxes are perfect presents! Browse their website here.
Rebecca Plotnick Prints, Calendars & More
Photograph Rebecca Plotnick, whom some of you might also know from her blog Every Day Parisian, normally spends part of the year in Paris. Although this year has kept her from being here, she’s been busy with adding more of her gorgeous Paris prints to her online shop. She’s also come out with a fabulous 2021 calendars and greeting cards (like the above). She so beautifully captures the essence of the city in her artwork. See her new collections here or full collection at this link.
Northern Lights France Candles
Couldn’t make it to Versailles this year? Well, a touch of this elegant suburb of Paris, home to the world famous chateau, can make it to you and your giftees thanks to the lovely handmade candles by Northern Lights France. Made with all natural ingredients and in their studio in Versailles, the scented candles come in a variety of fragrances, included some perfect for the holiday season like “pain d’épices” (gingerbread). They are also offering my readers a 10% discount on orders! Take a look at their Etsy shop and use the code JTMN10 when checking out to get your discount.
Prints by Annelies Danielle Schubert
Born in Chile, multi-disciplinary artist Annelies Danielle Schubert came to Paris for her fine art degree and is currently doing an artist residency in the well-known art space 59 Rivoli. She creates original, abstract art usually using oil paints or fiber. She strives to offer affordable fine art prints because, as Annelises puts it, “everyone deserves to fill their home with beauty.” She does small-scale and easy to ship paintings, prints, embroideries, unique decorations and is part of a collective that does DIY art kits (the latter is only shippable in France). View her work on her website.
Claire Dartigues Greeting Cards
If you’re looking for creative greeting cards, have a look at these original ones by Paris-based artist and designer Claire Dartigues. A hybrid, Claire brings together various aspects of modern lifestyle with her creative studio, clothing design and documentaries and other projects. She also promotes creativity as a response to environmental and social issues. Have a look at her site and you can find her fun cards here.
Jill Dowell Abstract Paintings
American artist Jill Dowell creates abstract expressionist and abstract impressionist paintings in her Paris studio. In the artists words: “As an abstract painter, my works develop from my intuition and heart. It is always with great joy that I release them so that they come to exist on their own. I have a great love for each original piece, which endures.” Jill’s paintings would make a unique gift to commemorate this emotional year. Her work can be shipped internationally. Discover it on her website.
Paris In A Chocolate™
Since you weren’t able to stock up on French chocolate in person this year, you can satisfy your cravings thanks to Paris In a Chocolate™. Made with 100% French chocolate and filled with French orange cognac liqueur, these luxurious chocolates are made in chef Ann Kirseböm ateliers in Vancouver and can be shipped across the US and Canada. The grand cachet chocolates are an exact replica of the Marnier family seal, however, on the seal of the chocolates is an image of the Eiffel Tower. They come in individual boxes (stocking stuffers!) boxes of eight or larger boxes if you’re hosting a Paris-themed holiday cocktail. More information here.
There’s Only One Paris
My new book, There’s Only One Paris: Tales for our Times, is a great present for anyone who couldn’t come to Paris this year. A vivid virtual trip to the City of Light, this is a collection of short stories traveling through every arrondissement of Paris. Taking place during the pandemic the fun, feel-good and motivational stories boost morale and give readers hope to get through these difficult times. You can ask your local bookshop to order it in, purchase it online OR… for the holiday season I’m offering signed copies, in the name of your giftee, wrapped and sent to your or their address! As the books need to first be shipped to me, then sent out again there is a little extra fee as shipping costs are pricey (if you want multiple copies to one address, the cost goes down, email me to arrange this). You can order copies for international delivery (US dollars, Canadian dollars, euros, pounds) or delivery within France here.
Let Them Eat Pancakes
Craig Carlson, founder of popular Parisian diners Breakfast In American and author of Pancakes in Paris is back with more funny tales about the trials, tribulations and joys of setting up a business and living in Paris. This time Craig divides his stories up into thematic sections, including “living”, “working”, “eating” and “loving”, and go beyond the realm of the diner. Entertaining and touching, the book offers an alternative angle to the traditional Paris expatriate experience. See if it’s available via your local bookshop, if not, you can also purchase it online here.
The Spy Who Inspired Me
Paris’ favorite comic British writer, Stephen Clarke, is back with his latest novel, this time a comedy spy spoof set in Occupied France. The story takes us back to April 1944 as a female spy helps get a fictive “Ian Lemming” across the country and teaches him the ropes of the trade. Could she have been the inspiration for the a certain M. B*ond? Read the book to find out.Try to get a copy through your local bookshop, if not, you can also purchase it online at this link.
Originally from the Midwest, writer Harriet Welty Rochefort has lived in France since 1973. She has shared her immense knowledge on the country in three humorous and informative books on life here and cultural differences. Her first historical novel, Final Transgression, was published in June 2020. Inspired by true events, the story goes back and forth from Nazi-occupied France and 1994 and explores the difficult decisions its main character, Séverine, must face. See if your local bookshop carries it, if not, you can also get it online here.
Kylie the Crocodile
If you have any children on your holiday gift list, consider getting them this whimsical and original book by Oliver and Lina Gee of the popular Paris podcast, The Earful Tower. Inspired by a true story previously investigated by Oliver on the podcast, the book follows the adventures in Paris of a crocodile (supposedly) set loose in the Canal Saint-Martin. Learn more about it and get a copy here.
The New Parisienne: The Women & Ideas Shaping Paris
The much anticipated second book of Parisian journalist and author Lindsey Tramuta, The New Parisienne: the Women & Ideas Shaping Paris, was released this summer. After featuring a wide range of Parisian innovators in her first book, The New Paris, this book focuses in on the impact women are having on the city by profiling 50 creators, educators, visionaries, and activists. The well-researched and engaging book is a great gift idea for the person on your list who could be interested in learning more about how Paris is evolving in the 21st century. If your local bookshop doesn’t have it, order it online here.
Virtual Tours, Classes & Tastings
This year has seen the rapid development of live online classes and seminars. There are now many on France, however, I’ve brought together some of my favorites here which can also be arranged as gift certificates.
- Context Travel: a vast network of thousands of experts around the glove, Context Travel has come up with a program of “Conversations,” online seminars on a wide range of topics from wine to the Revolution. They also have multipart “courses” which delve even further into a subject matter. I lead several topics on Paris and Montmartre. Peruse the program here or purchase a gift certificate at this link.
- Sweet Pea Paris: Award-winning chef and cookbook author Alisa Morov teaches a fabulous range of interactive small group and private virtual classes via Zoom. Check out her Facebook page for more info about these.
- La Cuisine Paris: This excellent Paris cooking school has online classes on specific themes like croissant fundamentals, French sauces and macarons. These are organized in modules so your favorite French foodie on your holiday list can do at their own pace. This program is also complemented by live seminars. Learn more about these here.
- Cook’n With Class: This great French cooking school with branches in Paris and Uzès, has developed a range of live online cooking classes. The focused classes cover multi-course meals, macarons, dessert and baking. Learn more about these here.
- Delectabulles: The webinars of champagne expert Cynthia Coutu are idea for the fan of bubbles on your gift list! Very information and fun, she has historical topics as well as champagne and food pairings. More info here.
- Tarts & Truffles: Chef Lisa Allen has a variety of online experiences around pastries and chocolate which can be arranged privately by Zoom. She also has a specially designed program for kids which could be a fun family activity over the holiday season! See her offerings on her website.