10 Christmas Gifts to Buy in Paris
Christmas shopping in Paris; a particular person’s dream, or an indecisive person’s nightmare.
If you’re filling up your luggage with gifts to take home for the festive season, allow me to give you some ideas. These are largely considered to be the best items one can gift another following their trip from the French capital. Have you got a few stockpiled already?
1. French Macarons from Paris
When asked what they would like brought back for them from Paris, around 95% of people will always say French macarons.
The patisseries in Paris are accustomed to most of their customers purchasing macarons with intent to travel with them, so they will carefully gift wrap them in special boxes upon request. Macarons make for a great edible Christmas gift as they do not spoil easily and can manage the journey home.
2. A Beret from Paris
Gifting someone a French beret from Paris is another beautiful ode to the city. There is something about owning one of these timeless pieces of fashion that makes them really great additions to any Christmas stocking.
When in Paris, you’ll see thousands of berets for sale at the street-side souvenir stores and market stands. These will be very affordable, costing little more than €5 a piece. For better quality berets you’ll have to explore the boutiques or malls.
3. French Wine from Paris
An easy gift to give, especially if you know the wine pallet of the receiver. French wine is really available all over the world, but receiving a bottle directly from Paris is a special addition to the whole facade.
Like the macaron sellers, French wine shops will usually also happily wrap your bottles in gift-worthy attire.
4. French Champagne from Paris
I suppose the wine and the champagne go somewhat hand in hand. The notion that Champagne can only be called champagne if it was made in Champagne makes gifting someone champagne from Champagne sold in Paris truly unique.
I won’t say champagne again.
5. French Chocolate from Paris
The chocolate ateliers of Paris have been mastering the art of this cuisine since before you or I were even a blimp of consciousness. Chocolate is more than just a treat in France, it’s an art, one that chocolate makers dedicate their lives to.
Similar to purchasing macarons in Paris, purchasing chocolate is an intimate and thoughtful experience. The chocolatiers can be found all over the city center.
6. Designer Clothing from Paris
Sure, it’s a splurge. Especially if you have a bunch of people to buy gifts for. But the quality is unmatched and it may be quite some time before you have the opportunity to shop these high-end fashion houses in the very city that spawned them so many years ago.
7. French Perfume from Paris
Like the luxury fashion, this gift option can also be a splurge, or it can be completely affordable. It all depends on where you choose to shop while in the city.
In the center and most touristic areas, French perfume will be an indulgent shopping experience. One laced in exclusivity and elitism.
Head to the Parisian outskirts into immigrant-forced neighborhoods like Menilmontant or Belleville, and you’ll enjoy French perfumeries at a fraction of the cost.
8. Crepe Mix from Paris
I love this as a gift idea, and was annoyed at having not thought of it myself but rather having been gifted it by a friend during my first ever Christmas in Paris.
Few people know that the city’s most renowned creperies actually sell their crepe mix in bulk packages that are perfect for gifting. An especially great gift if it’s going to someone who doesn’t have access to authentic crepes where they live.
My crepe mix was courtesy of Breizh Café, one of the most well known spots to eat crepes while traveling Paris.
9. Vintage Clothing from Paris
This one will take time and patience, but if the receiver of the gift values thrifted clothing then you’re in the right city to bring this together.
Spending a day exploring the thrift and vintage shops of Paris will no doubt bring at least a dozen suitable Christmas gifts into your possession. This is also a great way of taking home high-end fashion labels like Chanel and Dior at a fraction of the price!
Unsure where to start? Le Marais, the Latin Quarter and St Germain des Pres would be my go-to’s for first time vintage shoppers in Paris. After this you can head further out of the center and explore neighborhoods like Belleville or Montmartre.
10. Absinthe from Paris
This is a very poplar one for travelers to Paris to take home with them, whether with intent to gift or not.
Absinthe is available around the world, but the authentic version of it is usually illegal, and so people are exposed to a milder, more controlled version. Absinthe originated in Paris, and this remains the only place where one can still buy it in its truest form.
Other countries omit the thujone ingredient, which is said to be what causes the hallucinations. In Paris, thujone is kept in the mix, and at quite significant dosages.
If you know someone who values these kinds of experiences, or has always wanted to try real absinthe, then this makes a great gift. They can be bought in small bottles in Paris as well, making them much easier to travel with.
In and amongst your gifting, be sure to find some time to take a free guided walking tour and experience the history and culture of this city you’ve come to shop in! Consider it a Christmas gift to yourself… one you don’t even have to pay for.