It’s hard not to swoon a bit when you think about Paris – but if the Paris-lover in your life can’t be in the City of Lights this holiday season, why not bring Paris to them? Here are a few Paris gift ideas to delight any Paris-o-phile you know. (And if Paris-o-phile isn’t a word, it should be.) Better yet, you can always just send this list to anyone who asks you, “What’s on your wish list this year?”
You’ll find books about Paris, movies set in Paris, Parisian music, and miscellaneous Paris trinkets – and hopefully there’s something here to suit the tastes of every Paris fan.
- What do you mean you’ve never flown over Paris in a helicopter? Well, okay, neither have I. But you don’t have to hire your own plane to enjoy a look at the city from the skies – just flip through the pages of Paris From Above and you won’t even have to fasten your seatbelt.
- Everyone knows about the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, but Paris is a big city – and some of the most romantic and memorable spots are well off the beaten path. You can explore them from your living room with the great Quiet Corners of Paris book – and then seek them out when you actually get to the city.
- Even if you’ve visited the Louvre, you probably didn’t see everything. It’s a huge museum, after all. That’s why The Pocket Louvre Visitor’s Guide to 500 Works is such a great gift. You can reminisce about all the art you saw when you were there, and plan the path for your next visit at the same time.
- Moleskine notebooks are ideal for jotting down your thoughts as you travel, but they’ve taken the concept a step further with their fabulous City Notebooks. If the Paris lover in your life is heading to Paris anytime soon, the Moleskine City Notebook for Paris is a great gift – it will let them make their own notes about unique and special finds, so they can easily revisit them next time.
- Another great gift idea for any Paris fanatic who’s planning a trip there is a good guidebook – I prefer Rick Steves Paris and the Lonely Planet Paris Encounter books, but there are dozens of different guidebooks out there to choose from.
- And for a more unconventional guide to Paris, the Paris Out of Hand book is a fun look at some of the city’s lesser known sights.
- Anyone who’s planning a visit to Paris should plan to eat well, and that’s easy to do with one of these handy guides – The Hungry Traveler: France gives great menu tips and advice for regional cuisine, but it’s out of print (if you can find a used copy, grab it!) – so I’d suggest checking out the Marling Menu Master for France instead. Hungry for Paris is a guide to more than 100 of the city’s best and most interesting restaurants.
- If there’s a young Paris fan on your list, then a copy of the classic Madeline is a great introduction to the city. This is a great gift idea if you’re going to be taking your kids to Paris and want to help them get excited about what they’ll see.
- The great film “Amelie” takes place mostly in and around Montmarte, and it’s a lovely look at some of the parts of Paris many visitors never see. Plus, the whole movie just makes you want to hop from Parisian cafe to cafe in search of the headstrong heroine.
- In the sequel to the popular “Before Sunrise” film, “Before Sunset,” the two characters spend an unforgettable day in Paris. And what turns the story takes after the credits roll is entirely up to you.
- There are several famous cities which serve as the backdrop for the controversial film “The Da Vinci Code,” and one of them is Paris – including some of the opening scenes, which take place in the Louvre museum.
- There might be no better homage to the city of Paris than the famous “Gigi,” which won nine Academy Awards and will have you singing along in no time.
- To see Paris through the eyes of a traveler, check out Globe Trekker Paris with Justine Shapiro as she visits a cabaret, learns to cook, does a bit of shopping, and checks out the city’s famous museums.
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- There is perhaps no more Parisian voice than that of the late Edith Piaf, and with the success of the recent film “La Vie En Rose” (which was largely filmed in Paris, and makes another great Paris gift!), there’s no better time to get re-acquainted with her singular style. This Best Of Edith Piaf CD is a great way to do that.
- Create your own Parisian cafe atmosphere with the right background music from the world music experts at Putomayo. Their Putomayo Presents: Paris CD is the perfect soundtrack to your Paris dreams.
Paris Odds & Ends
- Everyone needs a model of the Eiffel Tower, Paris’ most iconic landmark, in their home or garden, right? Of course they do. No Paris lover should be without one.
- And if you’d prefer to enjoy a sense of accomplishment with your Eiffel Tower model, then get one of these kits to build your own – there’s a Lego Eiffel Tower, and a 3D Puzzle Eiffel Tower, too.
- If you can’t be in Paris all year long, at least you can pretend you are with a Paris calendar that displays images from this endlessly photogenic city. And if you’re trying to learn French, this Living Language French Phrase a Day Calendar could help, too.
- It was on one of my first trips to Paris that I was first introduced to La Vache Qui Rit – otherwise known as Laughing Cow Cheese. It’s widely available in the US now, but at the time it seemed like a delicious Parisian treat, especally when it was spread over a warm, fresh baguette and washed down with some Orangina. Ahh, the good old days, when that constituted a gourmet meal…
- While you may have to actually go to Paris to get the best macarons (or at least find a bona fide Parisian bakery near you), you can whet your appetite – literally – by gazing at the sweet treats in this beautiful macarons print.
- I think these tins are just gorgeous – even if you aren’t a big fan of the very French Abbaye de Flavigny drops themselves, often flavored with flower scents, you can re-use the tins for years.
- Okay, so you may not see as many actual Parisians wearing berets anymore, but donning one of these traditional French hats might make you feel just a bit closer to Paris.
- The Eiffel Tower graces just about everything you could imagine, but some of the most popular gift ideas are in the form of jewelry – like these Eiffel Tower earrings. Any Paris lover would love to get these (well, at least anyone with pierced ears, that is).
- For the Paris fanatic who’s planning a trip to the city, a good map is a great gift. And there are no better city maps than the ones that don’t require any complicated folding. That’s why I love the Paris PopOut Map – it’s pocked-sized, and it folds itself. It’s genius.
- Remember those big alphabet magnets that you used to play with to help you learn to spell? Well, you can apply that same principle to learning French with this set of French poetry magnets.
- At bedtime, you can give your brain a hint that you’d like your dreams to be filled with Paris by hitting the hay on these Paris sheets – and wearing an Eiffel Tower bathrobe around before you go to sleep doesn’t hurt, either.
>> If you’re shopping for someone who loves Paris, chances are good they’d also love just about anything on this list of France gift ideas as well!
original photo at top by kahala