Souvenirs De France
When I'm with guests traveling from the US, a big question that I get asked is: "What are the best souvenirs to buy when you're here?" So I figured it would be fun to share a few of my favorite things to bring back with me when I travel from various places.
To be honest, some of these are obvious while others are hidden gems. And then the rest? Well, they're everyday items that we've somehow got hooked on when traveling that we love to enjoy in our everyday back home when we're lucky enough to have them.
First up... Souvenirs de France, complete with a pretty visual and a reason why each makes it to my suitcase, when possible.
1. MONOPRIX BABY CLOTHES | While it may be on par with Marks & Spencers or Target, Monoprix is probably my favorite stop in France. Their baby clothes are gorgeous, and if you're lucky enough to travel during the sale time? Jackpot. My French friend told me that a director from Bonpoint had taken over their children's line and that is why it is so gorgeous. Fact? Fiction? Either way, most of my favorite pieces in Viola's wardrobe are from their end of season sales.
2. MACARONS | As cliche as it may be to put this on your list, we all know they're going to be purchased and brought back from someone. The two heavy hitters are Ladurée and Pierre Hermé. Either way, you're in good hands.
3. GROCERIES | As silly as it may sound, we have a few items that we love to get in Paris- especially at Monoprix. Green curry paste, granola with dark chocolate, sirop de fraise to make sparkling water feel very fancy, and of course chocolate-covered waffles.
4. FRAGONARD | This French perfumer has it's main studio in a charming hillside town of Eze in Provence. Luckily, you don't have to go to Southern France to get access to their goodies. (Just you know... across the ocean to various other parts of France.) I can never resist getting a souvenir from here- especially the candles. They have a Brioche candle that burns in our kitchen. It is one of my favorite gifts to give friends. They also have adorable items for sale like hand-embroidered pillows and shirts.
5. TABLE LINENS | Is this one kind of random? Maybe, but whenever we are at a market, I find myself drawn to thumbing through the stacks of table clothes for sale. Maybe it's because they are classic and simple... maybe its because they are so cheap (typically around €7-10).... Either way, these are another great gift to bring back for yourself or someone else.
6. TEA | Tea? The girl from England is recommending you buy tea in France? Yes, but let me explain. France has great teas. I love Ladurée's almond tea, and pretty much any Kusmi Tea. (I like the Anastasia blend.) They're quite a bit more than you would pay in England, but they are crazy blends and a bit more of a specialty item.
7. BIODERMA | I use this everyday. It feels like water and it removes makeup like none other. Every French woman I know loves and uses it. Luckily, Amazon now makes it accessible to the US & UK... but you can get it for about half the price in a French pharmacy. Stock up... and send me some!
8. ANTIQUE BOOKS | The book stalls along the Seine have some of the prettiest treasures in them. They pack great, they are cheap (if you shop around) and, I think, they make for sweet gifts for friends.
9. MONOPRIX CLOTHES | Okay, okay... one more thing from Monoprix: clothes for us! I can't say that 100% of their store is a hit, but they do some great classic pieces at great prices. Anything chambray that I have is from here, as well as some of my favorite coats and skirts. The guys line is significantly smaller than the women's line, but Tyler has a few favorites from there, too.
10. APILCO | I registered for Apilco dishes from Williams-Sonoma when I was getting married. Thank goodness people gifted them to us, because there is NO WAY I would ever shell out the dough for them on my own. (So expensive!) I found a store in Paris though, La Vaissellerie- just off St. Paul metro in the Marais- that sells the entire line for a fraction of the price. We bought bowls and plates for €3-4 each. They have multiple locations around Paris.
11. MAILLE MUSTARD | Everything is better with this on it. I have a hard time thinking of a meal in France that I don't put this on. (Okay, fine, breakfast... but otherwise, it has to be on the table.) I can get it here, but not as cheap as there. You can get a huge jar of this heavenly concoction that makes your nose run in just the way for only €2.50. Yum.
What would you fill up your suitcase with? Anything I'm missing that I need to know about? Educate us!
*image original Aspiring Kennedy