Paris is dressed to the nines for the holidays, illuminated with thousands of lights for the festive season. The Hotel de Ville — decorated in Olympics-themed decor — has even set up a luge amidst the fairytale “enchanted forest” installed on the parvis. ‘Tis the season for Christmas markets, hot mulled wine, and a spot of shopping. Need some inspiration for those on your gift list? We’re here to add some French joie de vivre! The team at Bonjour Paris has curated a selection of favorite finds at all price ranges.
Inspired by popular Parisian architecture, DÉJÀ-VU creates beautiful souvenir objects, such as the soap dishes reminiscent of Paris metro tiles. (Pictured above is the Rivoli Bleu Sèvres. The deep cobalt blue enamel was invented in the 17th century by the Manufacture Royale de Sèvres. It’s been used for station name plates since the opening of the metro in 1901.) DÉJÀ-VU products are designed in Paris, and hand-made in France.
Looking for more “Made in France” inspiration? Check out our article here.
What’s Christmas without chocolate? The city’s chocolatiers are wizards with their bean-to-bar creations, some even making edible sculptures (ahem, Patrick Roger). We’d be hard-pressed to choose a favorite between Alain Ducasse’s Manufacture de Chocolat, Edwart, the afore-mentioned sculptor, Jean-Paul Hévin, Alléno et Rivoire, or Jacques Genin. Looking for a special holiday sampler? Z Chocolates offers a box with a symphony of flavors and textures: raspberry ganache, passion fruit caramel with a hint of coconut, creamy mango purée, Italian Gianduja praliné, and more.
Have you heard of the artist drawing All the Restaurants in NYC, Paris, and beyond? John Donohue — whose work has appeared in The New York Times and The New Yorker, among other places — is on a mission to draw the facades of the bistros, brasseries and eateries that form the backbone of Paris urban life. (Find out more about his wonderful project here.) The collection includes much-loved spots like Angelina, Au Pied de Cochon, Berthillon, Café de Flore, Mokonuts, and Pavillon Ledoyen. He sells signed, limited-edition prints of his drawings of restaurants in New York, London, Paris and other cities. Check out the full collection.
Originally launched in the Bordeaux vineyards of Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte in 1995, Caudalie is a cult beauty brand with a wide range of skin-care products, harnessing the anti-oxidant power of the polyphenols found in grape seeds. The “Premier Cru” line of creams incorporates patented technology to correct signs of aging (deep wrinkles, fine lines, firmness, volume, elasticity, dark spots, nutrition, radiance).
Psssst. If you’re a BP member, you can snag a discount of up to 30% at Parapharmacie Monge, a popular and well-stocked store in the 5th arrondissement with helpful staff and excellent prices.
Love truffles? This is the real deal, not the fake truffle products so often found today at big box stores. This 3-pack gift box contains black truffle oil, truffle honey, truffle salt and an olive wood salt scoop. Olives are harvested at Les Pastras, a small-production farm in Provence, and pressed into oil, then infused with authentic tuber melanosporum (black truffles) for seven days.
Aimee’s French Market is an online portal to the delights of the Provençal marketplace. All products are individually selected by Aimee herself on excursions in France. And each order is packaged like a precious gift, whether you’ve ordered for a friend or yourself
A Good Book
When the weather outside is frightful, there’s nothing better than cozying up with a good book (and preferably in front of a roaring fire!) If you’re looking for a Paris-themed book, the Bonjour Paris Book Club has read some wonderful books this year, including Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light by David Downie; Paris Was Ours: Thirty-Two Writers Reflect on the City of Light by Penelope Rowlands; The Paris Wife by Paula McLain; and A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.
Our host, the author and writing instructor Janet Hulstrand, recently published a lovely memoir called A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France. Other recent editorial picks include Joie: A Parisian’s Guide to Celebrating the Good Life by Ajiri Aki; Doctors at War: The Clandestine Battle Against the Nazi Occupation of France by Ellen Hampton; and A Waiter in Paris: Adventures in the Dark Heart of the City by Edward Chisholm. Check out our book reviews for more inspiration.
Overlooking the Seine in the heart of Paris, La Cuisine is a beloved English-speaking cooking school offering French culinary classes and food tours. La Cuisine Paris has a devoted following of repeat clients, who love signing up for cooking classes during their stays in Paris. Courses run the gamut from pastry to poultry, including favorites like: the Croissant Class, the French Market Tour, Mastering French Classic Sauces, two-day Boulangerie Masterclass and more.
If you appreciate Bonjour Paris, why not help us spread the word? Call us biased, but we can’t think of a better gift than a membership to the oldest English language site about the City of Light. For the price of a cup of coffee in Montmartre every month, you get access to over 5000+ articles plus our online event series of expert lectures, discovery talks and conversations about la vie française. Previous events include discussions with bestselling authors, insights from a renowned food critic, and lecture “tours” of the lesser known corners of Paris. What’s more, BP members also get a slew of shopping rewards and discounts with our partners.
Chateau du Savon is a family-run, UK-based company with a deep commitment to environmental welfare. All products are cruelty free, and also free of plastic packaging. This lovely gift box is packed with five luxurious soaps with popular masculine fragrances, including green tea, lime, and Argan oil. The Marseille shampoo bar will last for 40+ washes and lathers up very easily. The seaweed exfoliator is also quite popular.
Remember our recent Bonjour Paris Live event with cheese expert Emily Monaco? We can’t help but have a thing for Comté, Époisses, Chabichou- and if you’re in the same fromage fan club, might we suggest this French cheese sampler from The Fine Cheese Co.? Called the “Extraordinaire,” these five artisanal cheeses, including Brillat-Savarin and Ossau Iraty, are sure to delight.
Planning your travels for 2024? Why not consider a tour with the experts at Context Travel? Context Travel provides immersive walking tours in 60+ cities around the world led by an impressive network of PHD or MA-level degree scholars, specializing in the areas of architecture, art history, culinary and more. Check out the selection of tours and programs here.
The FRANCE 2024 Calendar is a beautiful year-long reminder of the country you love. This popular year-planner shows the best of France through 14 stunning glossy photographs, brought to you by the FRANCE Calendar team. Expect days in French and English, ample space for notes and reminders, French school and public holidays, French fêtes and saints’ days, plus a forward planner for 2025.
This bijouterie located in the 6th arrondissement offers a number of exceptional hand-crafted collections, such as the floral-themed “Dahlia” collection, a sunny and radiant expression of the joie de vivre. Inspired by nature, these poetic bijoux include necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets and more. Even if you can’t make it to their Paris atelier, the website offers wonderful items.
Lead photo credit : The enchanted forest at the Hôtel de Ville. Photo © Meredith Mullins.