18 Unique Paris Gifts They Will Actually Thank You For

This holiday season, give them gifts they’ll actually thank you for.

Enough with the keychains, notebooks, and cufflinks splattered with “I love you Paris”. Down with the Eiffel tower salt shakers, the Paris skyline magnets, the berets, lthe badly-translated wall art…

This holiday season, gift something unique! Something your Paris lover will actually appreciate and thank you for.

Paris gifts they will actually like

Plenty of gifts for men here, too!

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Jewelry

Eiffel Tower earrings. It’s been done… and you can do better!

What to give instead:

How about this verrrrry esthetically pleasing Paris map ring. Only their in-the-know friends will realize what it shows. For everyone else, it is a fabulous conversation starter.

Paris map ring

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Macarons

Skip this gift: Macaroon-shaped earrings or lip balm. It’s no match for the real thing.

What to give instead:

The real thing. Order a box of world-famous Ladurée macaroons to get their mouth watering. This is perfect for your gluten-free friends, by the way.

Laduree macarons

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Mug

Skip this gift: A dime-a-dozen I love Paris mug. Yes, sure: it’s true. But it’s not exciting to look at.

What to give instead:

How about a rather… “fresh”… start to their morning? This sleek and elegant mug hides a message for those who don’t speak French. The mug can translate to a very morning-related “Go to hell” or “Piss off”. Perfect for those who aren’t morning people. That’s what they’re saying in their head, anyway… until after the coffee!

Paris mug

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Shower curtain

Skip this gift: Wall poster. We’re not in high school anymore, folks.

What to give instead:

Everybody showers. Let them daydream about their Paris trip while sudsing up. This beautiful artistic Eiffel Tower will brighten up the dreariest of bathrooms. It’s sure to shoot a surge of inspiration into anyone’s morning routine!

If you want a Paris-themed curtain that’s a bit less colorful, check this one out.

Paris shower curtain

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Cooking equipment

Skip this gift: Paris metro apron, French tea towels. A wee bit tacky… plus, most people already have a drawer totally overloaded with tea towels.

What to give instead:

This gorgeous, classy, and timeless pepper mill. You probably recognize the name Peugeot. They will, too. This legacy French company is famous for bicycles and cars. Before all that (we’re talking 1800s, folks), Peugeot made coffee mills. So this classy pepper mill is a harkening back to the early days of one of France’s most famous company. History buffs and cooks alike will love and appreciate it.

Peugeot pepper mill

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Wall art

Skip this gift: Poster. Sure, there are some really great posters out there. But how about something a little more grown-up, a little more unique?

What to give instead:

This hyper-cool Paris vinyl wall clock.

Perfect for the musician who dreams of playing at the famous Duc des Lombards jazz club. Yes, we probably all just use our phones as clocks. But this unique clock is a work of art as well.

The vinyl Paris clock is also an awesome gift for the hipster you care about most.

Paris wall clock

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Glassware

Skip this gift: I love Paris wine glasses. What a way to distract from a good Bordeaux! Chances are, your drinking friends already have some quality wine glasses they’ll use. That leaves your poor gift alone to gather dust for eternity.

What to give instead:

Paris map etched rocks glasses. This is the perfect unisex gift. The etching (instead of cheap color transfer) is a subtle and classy nod to their favorite city.

Paris rocks glass

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Clothing

Skip this gift: Eiffel tower t-shirt. Know those shirts that say “my friend went to Paris and all I got was this stupid t-shirt”? Yeah. That’s not actually a joke.

What to give instead:

Underpants. Everybody wears ‘em. (We hope). As a Paris bonus, these have the Eiffel Tower! Talk about the good beginnings of a dreamy day.

Ladies, your version is here.

Paris underpants

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Lighter

Skip this gift: Cheap plastic lighter with Eiffel Tower clipart glued to the side. Those last 6 months, tops. Though let’s be honest. It’s going to get lost or broken long before that.

What to give instead:

How about something that will last? Whether they love cigars or candles or just lighting things on fire, this unisex lighter is a better gift. It makes a high-quality (and high-octane) statement. The lighter is made by famous Paris designer Pierre Cardin.

Bonus points for you when you explain this particular model appeared in the James Bond movie Skyfall.

Pierre Cardin lighter

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Lamp

Skip this gift: Thinking about going for one with an Eiffel-tower print lampshade? Think again. That’s spare bedroom material.

What to give instead:

This lamp is a living room show-stopper. Add a little subtlety to their Paris infatuation with this gift! This Eiffel Tower inspired lamp is even designed by French guy.

The only catch: you better have access to a 3D printer. Bonus points for you if their other present is a 3D printer.

Eiffel Tower lamp

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Drink

Skip this gift: The cheapest bottle of French wine from your corner liquor store, hastily wrapped in tissue paper and sealed with a crushed bow. Come on. You can do better.

What to give instead:

Angelina hot chocolate mix. Nothing says the holiday season like hot chocolate. This is your chance to give them the most famous hot chocolate in France!

Don’t forget to tell them that back in Marie Antoinette’s time, chocolate was considered a medicine. So really, you’re giving the gift of health, too. They should thank you twice.

Angelina hot chocolate

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Totebag

Skip this gift: I-heart-Paris totebag. It’s already breaking, because it was mass produced and printed before being shipped to Europe, North America, etc. Plus… it’s kind of boring. There are much more attractive and original totes out there.

What to give instead:

A unique and well-designed tote bag that’s made in Paris. These bags are hand-printed by Kasia Dietz, an American in Paris. What great inspiration for anyone who dreams of moving to France! Plus the totes are of obvious high quality. They’re smart, too. Losing things in a tote bag is a drag. You know what I’m talking about… the endless digging. But with these unique bags you have two pockets on the interior (one with a zipper, even better!) to help out.

And if they are going to France? Gift one of Kasia Dietz’s bag making workshops instead. Details here.

Kasia Deitz tote bag

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Gift box

Skip this gift: Eiffel tower statue, magnet, or tree ornament.

What to give instead:

Le Parisian gift box, or it’s more sweetness-centered counterpart, La Parisienne. You get a little bit of booze, a little bit of culture, and generally just some neat stuff. These boxes are put together in and around Paris.

The only thing better would is being in France so you could custom create a box of your own. Count on about 15-25 euros shipping from France, depending where you are located.

Parisian gift box

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If you live in France but are headed back home for the holidays…

Skip this gift: ANYTHING bought at a Champs-Elysees or Montmartre souvenir shop. Blerg. It’s going to pass a long, slow death shoved in the back of a junk drawer. Believe me.

What to give instead: Cheese

If you’re an expat returning home for the holidays, this is THE gift. There are quite a few fromageries (cheese shops) that will vacuum-seal cheeses. Now, beware what you buy. Most countries don’t care much about what dairy products you bring in your suitcase. Most… but not all.

The United States is one of the few countries to have some wacky rules about cheese. (I’m sure you’ve seen the ‘illegal cheeses vs LEGAL guns’ meme.) Basically, you need to stay away from any cheese made with lait cru (raw milk). That unfortunately rules out quite a tasty selection. But never fear, a good 24-month aged Comté is sure to impress!

Head to your local fromagerie. If in doubt, go to my favorite: Fromagerie Quatrehomme. There are a few locations in and around Paris.

french cheese

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If they have upcoming Paris trip plans…

Skip this gift: guidebook

Listen, they are probably not going to use that guidebook. Oh, they’ll pack it, obligatorily. And when they get back it will go on their bookshelf, never to be touched again (just like that encyclopedia).

But with the internet being a much larger source of information, why waste the trees (or the suitcase space)? Here are better ideas for Paris-bound friends and family.

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What to give instead: Paris crumpled map

It’s Paris, there’s no grid system: they will probably get lost. At least once per day. Paris crumple map is their friend.

It is exactly what it sounds like: a map you can crumple up. No more tedious folding and unfolding and tearing of a traditional map. But it’s also tear-proof, waterproof, and compact. Perfect for anyone who won’t have a data plan while abroad, or is worried about whipping out their brand-new phone in a big, busy city.

Paris crumple map

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What to give instead: Walking tour

There’s no better way to see a new city than walking around in it. If you don’t have friends in Paris – or if those friends don’t know a damn thing about the city – a walking tour is your next best thing.

But they’re ‘not walking tour people,’ you say. Don’t worry, there’s a company out there who will make them think they really are just walking around with friends. Super smart friends. Ones who know about food (and will teach you to eat it like the French), history (but not the boring stuff), secrets, and how to make you laugh.

They say money can’t buy happiness unless you purchase ‘experiences’ instead of objects. So buy them some happiness this year.

Don’t mean to toot our own horn, but Sight Seeker’s Delight offers some very fun tours in English.

Toot, toot.

Walking tour

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What to give instead: wine tasting

Wine culture exists just about anywhere people like to drown their sorrows. France seems to have some of the snobbiest though, if stereotypes are to be believed.

Give them the gift of knowledge: how to smell, taste, and enjoy the journey (not just the destination). O Chateau offers fun, informative, and tasty wine classes in English.

Wine tasting

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What to give instead: French class

One of the biggest fears in traveling to France is not knowing how to communicate. It’s true that many, many French people speak at least some English. But you have the opportunity to give the gift of immersion, autonomy, and sense of success. Gift the French language!

You’ve got some options….

Rosetta Stone is considered the best for virtual learning (computer-based). However, it. Is. Pricey! This is best as a long-game gift to someone who will continue to study the language post-Paris.

Another option to learn French is Duolingo. The Duolingo phone app is free, so that’s a plus. The drawback is that it’s more basic than Rosetta Stone. However, it’s great for someone who wants to learn the basics but doesn’t have time for sit-down study sessions. It’s all on their phone, so they can learn a little at a time. On the bus ride to work, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, sitting on the toilet… (yes, we do that too).

Last and in my opinion the best option to learn French: private lessons with real people. What’s great about these is you can hash out the sorts of things you’d actually like to learn. Already know some French but need to get used to speaking? Great, work on that. Don’t know any French and just want to know some of the most useful yet basic phrases? Right on. Because how to order a baguette, what to say when the metro is packed but you need to get off, and how to ask ‘do you speak English…’ they can change everything for a Paris visit.

And how many people stick to these no-commitment online classes, after all? Hire out a private teacher for some crash-course lessons before their Paris trip. But where do you get started with finding a teacher? There are a few options:

  • Call a nearby college to see if any teacher assistants are looking for extra hours
  • Visit a high school or college and check their bulletin board advertisements. You’ll find babysitters and hopefully a few students looking to give language lessons too!
  • Craigslist is another good place to find a French teacher. Make sure you ask for some references

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So there you go. You’re all set to give some unique gifts to people who love Paris. Happy holidays!

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