Moving to another country for love is romantic, adventurous and very, very hard. As the spouse of a local, you do have a leg up in many ways. But you still have to adjust to a foreign land, create a new life and integrate into a different society.
I confess that my French is not as far along as I would like. But when people here in Paris find out I am married to a Frenchman, many are quick to scold me for not speaking French at home with my husband.
Each year, French chocolatiers and confiseurs create even more high-end, creative and beautiful calendrier de l’Avent, elevating them to a must-have for cozy holiday decor. And now the offerings have extended beyond chocolate to include tea, beauty and high-end treats.
If you’re in Paris before the holidays, skip the souvenir shops and buy your loved ones a special, quintessentially French present. Or you can always use the internet to deliver a little France to you. These are my favorite French gift ideas this year.
Starting in 2016, the chic Parisian candle and fragrance brand Diptyque has released a unique holiday candle carrousel each year — and I am lucky to have all three. Rarely has a decorative item made me so happy.
I don’t normally write about products or shopping, but I had to share this because it is one my favorite French items. The gold carousels fit atop the small (and in 2018 also the medium-sized) Diptyque candles and when the candle is lit, the carousel rotates and reflects light (video here).
The first year Diptyque produced this candle carousel, it was a whimsical duck theme. I saw it in a magazine and fell in love, but sadly after calling multiple New York locations I was told it sold out worldwide within days of being released. Still my husband knew it was my dream Christmas gift.
In a holiday miracle, my husband went to the Nolita store in NYC and was able to procure the floor model carousel from a dream-fulfilling employee, who gave it to my husband for free (they aren’t allowed to sell floor models). My husband has a French charm that translates well in English apparently. I couldn’t believe my eyes when the duck carrousel was under the Christmas tree for me, and have been obsessed with it since.
In the years since, I have planned ahead. Now that we live in Paris, each October I’ve gone to speak to employees at the flagship shop to get the release date information. And in 2017 and 2018 I was the very first person to purchase the carrousel at the Marais Diptyque store. (FYI: The 2017 release date was November 2nd; in 2018 it was October 31st.)
The price is for the medium was 50€ last year, and for the small you had to buy a set with two candles totaling around 110€. I bought the medium to have something new.
Astrology-themed, the 2017 carrousel was a collaboration with artist Philippe Baudelocque and feels more Christmasy to me than the premier edition. I will always have a soft spot for my original duck carrousel, but I use this one more for the holidays. The 2018 design was “Légende du Nord” and the work of illustrator Pierre Marie. The carrousel features three spirit characters that have been invented by Diptyque, as well as two compass medallions.
The Diptyque carrousel is a limited edition item and always sells out quickly. There are usually a few available on ebay, but expect a hefty markup.
I plan on making this a new Christmas tradition and can’t wait until my apartment has a carousel for every room. Hopefully my husband isn’t already regretting that he started this addiction!
With the world increasingly globalized, more companies in France are opening up to people without excellent French language skills. Some multi-national companies work primarily in English in order to compete, while certain industries cater specifically to Anglophones.
Next up in my “French Favorites” series: handmade espadrilles from the French Basque region. This traditional shoe is chic and inexpensive and has become my go-to summer footwear. It’s a must-have souvenir from Biarritz — customizing your own and watching the ribbons being sewn-on really […]
When you think of France, you almost certainly don’t imagine a surfer chic lifestyle. But a little slice of California-style heaven does exist on the southwest coast and I experienced a coup de cœur on my vacation last week.
Lutèce, Paname, City of Light… Paris by any other name is just as sweet! You’ll see Paris’s former names and nicknames used all over the city as well as in books, movies and songs. Here are the noms de plume of Paris to know.