I don’t know about you, but the combination of not being able to travel to Paris along with the occasional home lockdown this year has meant I’ve tried more than ever to bring Paris into my private world.
That has meant reading so much that I’ve had to tweak my glasses script, eating likely more than my weight in macarons, and buying all sorts of Parisian paraphernalia.
Our connected world is both a blessing and curse. On one hand, we see so much of what we can’t have (or where we can’t go); on the other, we can shop from pretty much any corner of the globe.
Cue the Paris for Dreamers Gift Guide. Whether you’re looking for a perfect Christmas present for your favourite Francophiles or whether you simply need a virtual Paris shopping fix, read on for ten très chic gift ideas …
1. Petit Paris
If you crave strolling the Parisian streets and admiring their urban furniture of Morris columns, Wallace fountains, news kiosks and lampposts, you might some satisfaction (albeit on a smaller scale) with the J.Carlton’s Miniatures collection.
2. Paris Frame of Mind
One of the most impactful ways to bring Paris into a home is via a gallery wall, or even with one large statement photo. Acclaimed photographer and passionate Francophile Georgianna Lane sells the dreamiest ones imaginable.
3. Paris at a Click
ELLE has been a Parisienne’s favourite weekly for decades. And sure, nothing beats buying a glossy paper version as you’re on your way to Friday breakfast at Café de Flore, but you can at least take your iPad to your favourite café, order a croissant, and virtually visit Paris through a shiny glass screen.
4. Eau de Paris
If there’s ever been a year we deserve to ‘light the good candle’ it’s 2020. Some of the best candles, of course, hail from Paris. It is the City of Light, after all! But candles don’t just add a lovely glow to the room, they infuse the air with perfume, something Parisian well appreciate. The modern perfume industry originated in Paris (ironically at a time when the city was particularly rank in smell), so it’s little surprise that Parisians see fragrance as more than just a spritz of perfume. It’s about how everything smells, from your food to your home. One of my personal favourite brands is the iconic Diptyque, whose ‘Roses’ candle strikes me as particularly Parisian in spirit.
5. Paris in a Scarf
Marin Montagut, artist turned lifestyle brand, fuses Parisian elegance and whimsicality. You can find a cornucopia of arty and homey delights at his cabinet of curiosities-style Rue Madame boutique which, happily, offers an e-shop component. A must-buy is surely one of his gorgeous silk square scarves imprinted with his uniquely enchanting maps of Paris quartiers.
6. Antique Chic
While we can’t right now get to our beloved Parisian fleamarkets and rummage away, Ajiri Aki from Madame de la Maison does the legwork for us, sourcing exquisite antiques like soup tureens, engraved cutlery and cut crystal glasses from markets all over France, and selling them from her beautiful Parisian home.
7. Bonjour, Paris
Sipping creamy coffee from a bol de café au lait is an oh-so-French way to start your day. Add a Parisian edge with this version from Pied de Poule, which also sells a number of other cute appellations.
8. Paris by the Book
Chances are you’ve had a little more time to read this past year, and rearrange books in the home you’ve got to know all too well. Which might have led to, say, colour-coding your shelves, or re-stacking glossy piles. And if that has in turn reignited a love of coffee table books, you might want something new and beautiful to add the top of that stack. Highly recommended is Féau & Cie: The Art of Wood Paneling, which showcases a selection of glorious boiserie-rich interiors designed by Parisian master panellers Féau & Cie.
9. Something Sézane
It’s Breezy French Girl style guaranteed. Think all the Francophile essentials: stripy tops, trench coats, cosy knitwear, flirty dresses … but also all sorts of covetable accessories and shoes.
10. Paris in the Bag
A tote like Vanessa Bruno’s iconic Cabas (available internationally from Le Bon Marché’s 24s.com) will instantly add an à la parisienne touch to your look — a slightly Jane Birkin touch, too, if you choose the raffia version. Parisiennes love basket bags and totes for the way they allow you to throw in any market buys or impulse purchases your day happens to inspire. And just think of what you’ll fill it with when you’re finally back in Paris: souvenirs, vintage books from the bouquinistes, scarves, boxes of macarons … Talk about a dream bag.