The Best Gifts for Francophiles
We all have one: the friend obsessed with all things French, from nouvelle vague films to aperitifs — the latter of which they use as an opportunity to show off their recently perfected Alain Ducasse recipe, or latest bottle of vintage Bordeaux. So when the holiday season rolls around, why not give the Francophile in your life something they’ll actually be impressed by — be that a sac à baguette or classic bottle of pastis.
This year, Travel + Leisure is offering its most comprehensive gift guide ever. The goal? Make sure you can find the perfect present for everyone (yes, even your mother-in-law) on your list. Below, our top picks for the discerning Francophile.
Sac à Baguette
A sac à baguette, or baguette bag, is a must-have for picnic lovers and market goers.
These heavy-duty bags (which can fit up to six gallons of grocery items) fit much more than just bread, though it does come with a detachable baguette quiver, which is designed to hold long, thin items, like flowers, newspapers, and of course—skinny loaves of bread. The price might sound a bit high, but it’s made from high-quality materials like cotton canvas, leather, and metal, and is coated with a water-resistant lining.
To buy: sacabaguette.com, from $299
Bia Cordon Blue Assorted Tea Plates (Set of 4)
These cheese plates are adorned with vintage French iconography, and are guaranteed to make a statement at any apero.
To buy: amazon.com, $16
Every Frenchman Has One
Saint James Minquiers Moderne Unisex Breton Striped Shirt (Ecru/Navy)
The classic Breton striped shirt: every Francophile could always do with another. If you happen to know that they don’t own one at all, this simple purchase is a great way to introduce them to the basics of French style. But please, don’t pair it with a beret.
To buy: saintjamesboutique.com, $75
Embryolisse Eclat du Regard Radiant Eye Treatment
Legendary French skincare brand, Embryolisse, is best known for its multi-purpose moisturizer (more on that later), but we love this travel-friendly eye treatment, which comes in liquid-free stick form so you can bring it right on the plane. With ingredients like moisturizing aloe vera and elements known to stimulate circulation, a light, circular application around the eye area makes you look immediately refreshed.
To buy: net-a-porter.com, $45
French cover band Nouvelle Vague’s self-titled debut album contains a collection of bossa nova, lounge, and easy listening tracks—all of which were initially written during the post-punk/new wave era. (Examples include Joy Divison’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and The Clash’s “Guns of Brixton.”) The perfect soundtrack for a night of red-wine fueled cooking, this CD—which comes in vinyl and MP3 versions, too—is an excellently priced gift for the Francophile or music lover in your life.
To buy: amazon.com, from $8.99
Murray’s Cheese of the Month Club
This cheese-of-the-month club hails from Murray’s, which has been selling some of New York City's best cheese since 1940. Choose from monthly deliveries offered in four, six, and twelve-month subscriptions.
To buy: murrayscheese.com, from $275
Fig of Provence Liquid Marseille Soap
A simple but lovely gift — maybe for a French teacher — this is a delicious, liquid take on the classic cubed soap from Marseille. Popular in households throughout France and beyond, the colorful, minimalist packaging will add a charming French touch to any kitchen or bathroom.
To buy: nordstrom.com, $28
Byredo Baudelaire Eau de Parfum
Named after French poet Charles Baudelaire, this fragrance was inspired by his most famous poem, Les Fleurs du Mal, which depicts the modernization of Paris in the 19th century. Notes of juniper berry, caraway, and black amber are reminiscent of Parisian markets from the age of industrialization.
To buy: amazon.com, $167
This cute little book, authored by supermodel Ines de la Fressange, is full of fabulous Parisian recommendations, from the chicest stores to the best restaurants, and focuses heavily on the way French women manage looking effortlessly glamorous.
To buy: amazon.com, $20.36
Jean-Luc Godard Box Set
Venture beyond Breathless and discover more of legendary New Wave French director Jean-Luc Godard’s best movies. This three-box set includes some of his lesser-known — but just as dynamic — films Hélas Pour Moi, Passion, and First Name: Carmen.
To buy: amazon.com, $12
Ricard Pastis de Marseille
You’re bound to find this anise-flavored spirit in every French home you visit. This popular liqueur is typically diluted with water (though some enjoy it neat) and has a taste reminiscent of Sambuca, or licorice. The French especially love to drink this during winter, when the alcohol’s strength warms up your insides.
To buy: b-21.com, $33.99
Merde Il Pleut Collapsible Umbrella
This hysterical umbrella is bound to put a smile on any Francophone's face. It’s emblazoned with the words ‘merde il pleut,’ which translates to ‘shit, it’s raining.’
To buy: oscardo.com, $34
This nipple cream is beloved around the world for it's many beauty uses. It’s the perfect lip balm and can be used on dry skin as well. Makeup artists put it on cheeks and eyelids for a dewy look. If the person you’re buying for is into makeup and skincare, they’ve probably had their eye on this product for a while.
To buy: avibon.com, $19.99
Perhaps France’s most beloved candies, Carambars are the perfect stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift. Caramel is the most traditional flavor, but we love the fruity variations, too.
To buy: amazon.com, $8
This scarf, by French brand Seour (soeur translates to sister — the company was founded by two sisters) is guaranteed to make any outfit more chic. Do as the Parisians do and wear it with pair of skinny jeans, t-shirt, loafers or heels (but not too high), and a jacket. You’ll fit right in over drinks on any Paris terrasse.
To buy: barneys.com, $150
Williams Sonoma Provence Tablecloth
For the Francophile hostess, this Provençal-style tablecloth is an excellent gift. Taking inspiration from French textiles and designs, one of these vividly colored table linens are sure to brighten up any kitchen.
To buy: williams-sonoma.com, $31.96
The tradition of an after-dinner espresso remains strong in Europe, so if your Francophile friend (or partner, or family member) doesn’t have one of these, get them one. They'll thank you at their next salon.
To buy: williams-sonoma.com, $150
Embryolisee Lait Crème Concentre
Also referred to as the 24-hour miracle cream, makeup artists, supermodels, and beauty pros from around the world swear by this cult-favorite moisturizer. Its not-too-heavy, not-too-light formula is perfect for all skin types, and acts as the ideal base for makeup application.
To buy: dermstore.com, $28
Bon Appetit Box
Bon Appetit Box is a new subscription-based service created by a French husband and wife duo with a mission to share the best their home country has to offer. Tasty delicacies and French-pantry staples can be delivered right to your front door.
To buy: bonappetitbox.com, from $30
Mariage Frères Nöel Tea
Since 1854, French maison de thé Mariage Frères has been churning out some of the most gourmet tea blends in the world. This Christmas, they’re launching a collection of five festive teas inspired by the scents of the holiday season. Our favorite? Espirit de Nöel, a black tea with hints of orange, cinnamon, almond, and Bourbon vanilla, which comes in a keepsake can.
To buy: amazon.com, $68
Caudalie Beauty Elixir
Caudalie’s best-selling product is a staple for French women and those well-versed in the international beauty scene. Their beauty elixir (a face mist that instantly brightens and tightens skin) is formulated with grape extracts, rosemary, mint, and other natural essential oils. The spray can also be used to set makeup, or as an aftershave for men. But we like to use it mid and post-flight, to instantly refresh dull, dehydrated skin.
To buy: sephora.com, from $18
Leonor Greyl Masque Quintessence
Ever wonder how French women can pull off unstyled, 'I-woke-up-like-this hair' with such ease? That, my friends, is because they use hair masks. Leonor Greyl, a French haircare brand with a major cult following, makes one of the best on the market: their Masque Quientessence uses Cupuacu and Manketti nut oils to rehydrate and moisturize even the most dry and damaged locks. Comb through wet hair, leave on for 20 minutes, rinse off—and voila! You’ll have soft, shiny hair that can be air-dried and results in a perfectly tousled look.
To buy: nordstrom.com, $145