These are a Few of My Favorite (French) Things —The Gift Guide

Ready for gift giving inspiration, as well as some good window shopping, or as the French call  it “window licking”…?  Or how about a little something for yourself?  Whatever it is, here is a list of favorite things both French and Feminine.

My disclaimer:  I have zero sponsorships or ads.  I get nothing monetary or otherwise for this, just the pleasure of sharing the things I love with the people who might also love them as much as me.

So here they are, divided by touch, taste, hearing, scent and sight.  Enjoy!  Or better yet, share your favorite things in the comments below!

How about something to lux to the Touch?

1. “The Perfume Collector” by Kathleen Tessaro

16248311

Like the touch and feel of a good book in your hands?  My favorite this year is the frothy, delectable confection, “The Perfume Collector” by Kathleen Tessaro.

It’s filled with an entrancing mystery, exquisite Paris scenes, and heavenly descriptions of scents and sounds that will make your toes curl in delight.

While compulsively reading my copy on a flight, one of the flight attendants stopped to tell me how much she loved the book, as well!

You can find it online at amazon.com here:

http://www.amazon.com/Perfume-Collector-Novel-Kathleen-Tessaro/dp/0062257846/ref=sr_1_1?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1448498328&sr=8-1&keywords=the+perfume+collector

 

2.  Lux Soap in pretty packages & lovely scents from Fresh 

45560773_1c6e342e73_o-700x466

How about a decadent soap that feels like heaven, smells light enough that you can wear your favorite perfume afterward and doesn’t dry out your skin?  My go to for gifts or to indulge in myself, are the ones from the brand Fresh.  They come in lots of great light scents and they last forever while lathering up to a silky finish.  The packaging is practically a gift itself!

Try the classic Sugar scent, for floral lovers there’s Magnolia Gardenia, or for those who prefer something citrus-like, there’s the unique grapefruit scent of Hesperides.

You can find them online here:

http://www.fresh.com/US/product/soaps/

 

3.  The Classic Chic Black Scarf in Cashmere or any Other Fiber

Nothing says chic and Parisian quite like the scarf, but if you want to make it modern and wearable anywhere — please, make it a black, casual scarf in a quality fiber you can afford.  Mix it with the quintessential black leather jacket and sunglasses, and no matter if it’s topping jeans or a cocktail dress, you’re Paris ready in a flash.

I love the customer service and quality at Nordstroms.  Here are two from their store that meet the need:

A modern Blanket Wrap in Black:

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/collection-xiix-blanket-wrap/3793605?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=BLACK&resultback=918

Or a fantastic Cashmere Cousin:

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/nordstrom-solid-woven-cashmere-scarf/4008783?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=BLACK&resultback=918

 

Something to sophisticated and elegant to the Taste?

 

4. “Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from my Paris home to your home anywhere” Cookbook by Doris Greenspan

I’m not much of a baker, but this book inspires, even for me.  So if you happen to have a baker or a bit of a foodie on your list, this book might just be the ticket.  Lots of recipes from Doris’ French friends and family.  Real recipes that a French woman would actually bake for her family.  If Weekend cakes, upside down rhubarb cake, or the French version of carrot cake sound like your kind of food then this might be for you.  Simple, doable and yet oh so delectable.

Find it online at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Baking-Chez-Moi-Recipes-Anywhere/dp/0547724241/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448498415&sr=8-1&keywords=baking+chez+moi

 

5. Mariage Frére Tea  

mariage-freres-heritage-gourmand-01bolero-tea-loose-mariage-freres

Not many people know that tea started in France before it ever hit England, and France still boasts a thriving tea culture.  If you’re ever in Paris, a stop at the Mariage Frere store is a must.  Labeled as “Beautiful tea for beautiful people,” this tea has legions of admirers.  You too, or someone you love can also become an ardent follower with just a sip.

My fan favorites include their Earl Grey Imperial, or for something new for Bergamot lovers there’s the famous Ruschka Tea.  The appropriately names Eros Tea is for those who love flowery poetic teas, and jasmine lovers would probably do well with the smooth Mandarin-Jasmin.

Find them online at their store for the UK here:

http://www.mariagefreres.com/UK/welcome.html

Or find it at Dean and Deluca here in the US:

http://gourmetfood.deandeluca.com/search?w=mariage%20frere

 

6.  Lette Macaroons

lette 

There’s nothing as feminine and French as the macaroon.  The chewy crunchy thin outer layer, and the smooth decadently tender inside. Oh, yes, please! I absolutely adore macaroons.  My favorite one abides only in Paris, in the tiny stores of Pierre Hermes, and if you’re ever in Paris I insist you go there directly.  However, outside of Paris finding a decent one can be hard, particularly if you don’t live in a big city.

If you’re looking for something to send that Paris lover or foodie, I cast my vote for Lette’s in Beverly Hills.  They aren’t French, but because their goods are baked here in the U.S. they seem fresher than the frozen ones shipped from France.  And they also come in fantastic flavors. You can even get a variety box and try them all!

Find them online at Dean and Deluca:

http://www.deandeluca.com/classic-french-macarons

 

7.  “Into Wine:  An Invitation to Pleasure”  by Olivier Magny 

If you like wine, or know someone who does, this slim little book is a treasure trove of insight into the French way of making wine, not to mention life.  It’s filled with easy to read vignettes that explain from a Frenchman’s perspective how the French look at wine culture and wine making.

The fact that Olivier lives half the year in the U.S., also helps to make him very relatable to U.S. audiences, and he gets American wine and culture.  It’s worth the price alone to hear him explain wine in terms of types of people, suggesting that this chardonnay is like an aggressive Hollywood cougar with blond hair and implants, or this bottle merlot is like a big sweaty lumberjack.  A pleasure to read.

Find it here on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Into-Wine-Invitation-Olivier-Magny/dp/0615658431/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1448498468&sr=8-2&keywords=olivier+magny

 

A little something heavenly to Listen to?

 

8. Celilia Mclorin Savant

cecile-mclorin-salvant

I first heard the silky smooth jazz voice of Celilia Mclorin Savant on NPR’s Fresh Air being interviewed by Terry Gross, and I was instantly smitten.  Think Ella Fitzgerald, Bille Holiday and Bessie Smith all rolled into one and then smashed apart again.  This just might be your go-to dinner party album. Enjoy!

“Cecilia”  

513hbW0RDWL._SL500_AA280_

This is her first album, while she was still training in Paris.  If you love Ella Fitzgerald and the classic golden age of jazz, this is your album.  It’s filled with catchy stuff you’ll know, sung in a new voice.  You can’t go wrong with this album.

Find it and Listen to it here on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Cecile-Mclorin-Salvant-Jean-Francois-Quintet/dp/B004A1U6EU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448499053&sr=8-1&keywords=cecilia+mclorin+savant

“For One to Love”

1441282765092This is her newest album and it’s fresh and modern.  Filled with songs that have been jazzified and made new.  If you’re looking for something easy to listen to, but more complex and sophisticated this is the album for you.

Find it and listen to it here on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/One-Love-Cecile-Mclorin-Salvant/dp/B00VW67176/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448499053&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=cecilia+mclorin+savant

 

9.  A Charlie Brown Christmas

 

3The Perfect Christmas Album, it makes everyone happy.  It’s light, frothy, fun and very playful, and the only holiday album I every put on.  An oldie but goodie, if you haven’t heard it, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Find it and listen to it here on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Charlie-Brown-Christmas-Remastered-Expanded/dp/B0090X4H0W/ref=tmm_acd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1448499171&sr=1-3

 

Something to Set Your Sights On?

 

10. “Paris Style Guide:  Shop, Eat, Sleep” by Elodie Rambaud  

61pGdN3UW5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

This is the book to browse and dream by.  It’s filled with shops that you’ve never heard of, filled with things you may never have thought of, but now can’t live without.

A candle shop filled with candles of every color?  A flower market that turns into a bird market on Sundays?  A Parisian Fabric market?  Or a hidden shop where perfumes are made to order in small quantities? All found in here.

Filled with photos and suggestions, it’s easy to get lost in Paris even while sitting comfortably at home.

Find it Online at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Style-Guide-Shop-Sleep/dp/0062385879/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1448499374&sr=1-1&keywords=paris+style+guide

 

11.  “Intouchables”  Movie

MV5BMTYxNDA3MDQwNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTU4Mzc1Nw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_I can’t say that this movie is exactly new, but it is a delight to watch, a real feel-good French movie.  It’s not the artsy, intellectual fare you’re used to with French Films, it is the simple, warm story of two unlikely human beings forming a profound friendship across borders of race, economics, and even hardship.  Beautiful to watch, funny, and filled with joie de vivre — even family members who abhor subtitles in films have been entranced by this film when I’ve wrestled them into watching it.  Please, make time for it.  It’s a must-see.

You can purchase it here or watch it online, at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Style-Guide-Shop-Sleep/dp/0062385879/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1448499374&sr=1-1&keywords=paris+style+guide

 

12.  “Miss Fischer’s Mysteries” TV Series

Most “lady” detectives are a bit dry and dusty, prim and proper.  They’re more like that one spinster aunt every family has somewhere in their lineage.  So not cool.

How about one from the roaring 20’s who dresses to kill, has a knack for sexual adventures with devastating and mysterious men, and the kind of wit most of us only dream of having in retrospect?  Sound fun?  Oh, it is.  That’s the premise of this tv series from Australia featuring Miss Fischer and her many mysteries.

You can find it online here:

http://www.amazon.com/Miss-Fishers-Murder-Mysteries-1/dp/B00A27O5AW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448499549&sr=8-1&keywords=miss+fischer%27s+murder+mysteries

 

13. Classic Parisian Red lips

Who knew a lipstick could change your life?  It certainly has livened up mine.  Ever since a make-up artist in Paris suggested MAC lipstick in Ruby Woo (only the red lips, no eye make-up at all, if you want to get it Paris perfect), and painted mine the pretty hue, I just can’t get enough.  I can attest to it’s power to seduce you into thinking some very unpure thoughts along with leading you into some very merry adventures.

Find it here:

http://www.maccosmetics.com/product/13854/310/Products/Makeup/Lips/Lipstick/Lipstick#/shade/Ruby_Woo

 

14. French Shadow Puppets from Moulin Roty

 

619R1L5LBAL._SL1000_Need a unique gift for the tots?  This one is sure to enchant.  An old fashioned gift of magical shadow puppets will have you and your nephews and nieces telling stories in the dark in no time.

This version by Moulin Roty has  a Circus theme, a Paris rooftop theme, and a dinosaur theme along with many others.

Find three of my favorite themes here on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004KRM9XU/ref=s9_hps_bw_g21_i2

http://www.amazon.com/Moulin-Roty-Circus-Shadow-Puppets/dp/B005MWN1DE/ref=sr_1_25?srs=5802912011&ie=UTF8&qid=1448499781&sr=8-25

 

http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Rooftops-Night-time-Shadows-9/dp/B00BLTKVOE/ref=sr_1_26?srs=5802912011&ie=UTF8&qid=1448499781&sr=8-26

 

How about a Scent to swoon for?

15.  Rosy Rings Candles in Botanica Glass

This is the candle I keep buying again and again, every Autumn and Winter.  I’m not a fan of their dried fruit concoctions, but I love their Botanica Glass collection of candles.

I’m sucker for the Spicy Apple which smells exactly like real apple cider with cinnamon.  Those who love vanilla or baking scents will adore their Harvest Pumpkin which smells delicately of fresh baked pumpkin bread.  I loved this scent so much I bought a second one last year right after the first one burnt out.  For those who like flowery scents there is the Apricot Rose candle, and for those like amber and leather scents there is the Honey Tobacco.

The heavy glass they’re poured into also make excellent vases once the candle is done, or you can put a glass votive holding a tea light in them and they glow spectacularly.

Find them online here:

https://www.rosyrings.com/product-category/candles/botanica-glass/

16.  Jovoy Perfumerie

In Paris for the holidays?  Do yourself a favor and head to this Marais neighborhood treasure.  The tiny perfume house has been around since the 1920s and hosts unique and hard to find perfumes from around the world.  Seek out Francois the current owner if he’s there and get him to share some sordid stories about the history of scent.  Or let any of the knowledgable staff help you find the right perfume for you.

You can also take a gander online here:

http://www.jovoyparis.com

 

17.  Williams Sonoma Croissants and Morning Buns

cheddar-croissants-set-of-12-c

Why go out and search for the perfect croissant early in the morning?  Why leave home at all?  How about waking up to scent of freshly baked croissants or pain au chocolate every morning this holiday season?  Sound divine?  It’s certainly made mornings more merry for me this season.  Williams and Sonoma has frozen ones by the dozen in lots flavors that you can bake at home.

Try it out here:

Williams-Sonoma Croissants

 

18.  Tokyo Milk Perfume and Bubble Bath

I first found Tokyo Milk at a local shop here in town.  I was charmed by a warm vanilla and musk scent called “Let them eat cake,” along with a rich bubble bath called “Bon Bon” that was a sophisticated take on sweet vanilla.  This was a woman’s scented luxury, not a little girl’s.  Alas, the store stopped carrying the brand and I was heartbroken.

Luckily for me, and for you,  a little online research revealed their wares could be bought online.  I’ve never been without since.

Try my favorites, or go explore and find some of your own, their perfumes have prices that allow you to try a few at a time or splurge, as you will.

Find them all here:

http://www.tokyo-milk.com/collections/bubble-baths-1

http://www.tokyo-milk.com/collections/eau-de-parfum

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s