If you’re one of those generous travelers, you delight in picking out something special for that friend who couldn’t make it on the trip with you this time around. You flick through the dime-a-dozen t-shirts in the airport, you walk past the snow globes and key chains and opt out of the kitschy plastic Eiffel Towers the vendors wave at you in front of all the tourist attractions. So what’s a thoughtful friend supposed to buy as a souvenir for someone back home?
I have some French souvenir ideas…
Yes, you can probably find some of these at specialty shops or online, but there’s something about getting the authentic item directly from France that makes it that much more special.
The best souvenirs from France
Roger & Gallet Soaps
Nice soaps are a must for your guest bathroom, so for the friend who entertains, grab a couple of Roger & Gallet soaps. They smell good, they come in pretty packaging and they’re affordable at about 5 euros/soap depending on where you shop. Check out pharmacies and parapharmacies for a full selection of scents.
Canelés — a specialty of Bordeaux — are delicious but they don’t travel well in a suitcase. Do the next best thing and gift your friend a canelé mold or two. They have that undeniable French charm and will remind you of all the canelés you ate in France (or make your friend envious of all the canelés you ate in France). You can encourage your friend to try her hand at homemade canelés or just display a couple of copper molds in her kitchen as part of the decor. Or take it outside the kitchen by flipping it over and using the mold as a little catch-all for buttons, paperclips or other small items lying around for a touch of French flair.
Macarons from Ladurée
The best souvenirs from France are the ones you can eat, right? It’s a little cliche since macarons are everywhere lately and Ladurée is the most well-known place to buy the little circular treats, but they’re everywhere for a reason. A box from the famed Ladurée will not go unappreciated. The sweet treats are best eaten within a couple of days so grab them the day you fly home if possible (Paris airports have a Ladurée stand as well) and then store them in the fridge. Trust me, they’ll be the highlight of the giftee’s week. Yes, they’re that good.
A bottle of wine
In my opinion, this is one of the best souvenirs from France. While you can’t bring a whole case of wine back in your suitcase, you can safely pack a bottle or two for a well-deserving friend. My faves to bring home? A local bottle of Crémant — a bubbly wine that’s similar to Champagne and just a fraction of the price.
Something from a French flea market
A French brocante has all kinds of fun treasures just waiting to be discovered. Grab something unique for a friend or family member like a vintage tea towel, decor piece, a cafetiere like the one above (disclosure: that’s a link to my Etsy shop) or anything else that catches your eye.
A French pharmacy find
Cookies or a sweet spread
If you’re on a budget, pick up some French cookies or biscuits from the supermarket (more on that coming soon). I love anything from Bonne Maman. Like a jar of jam. Sometimes the regular old supermarket is a treasure trove when it comes to souvenirs!
Remember, whatever French souvenir you choose, it’s the thought that counts!
What are the best souvenirs from France in your opinion?