French products

Old Aug 13th, 2001, 08:52 PM
  #1  
Ellie
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French products

Will be going to Paris,Provence,Nice, and whatever is along the way. this is my first perhaps only trip there, so what do you think I should bring home that I can ONLY get in France for a gift and/or souvenir and how many items can I bring home. Thanks.
 
Old Aug 13th, 2001, 11:27 PM
  #2  
lanie
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Famous Provencal souvenirs are lavender honey, herbs de provence, olive oil soap, olive oil, callaisons (an almond paste topped cookie) from Aix en
Provence, nougat, dried lavender in Provencal fabric bags, Pastis (an anise flavored liquor that is mixed with cold water and enjoyed as an appertif all over the south of France, Santons (representations of villagers that are used as part of the Nativity tableau at Christmastime), table linens made from Provencal block print fabrics, toile du joie (a special print fabric that represents pastoral scenes in black, blue and red and white, whole candied fruits from Apt in the Vaucluse region
that look like vibrant jewels - they are whole and look much different than our chopped or dried fruits. There is a little shop on the Place du Madeleine in Paris that has mustards and the most wonderful little mustard pots to put them in. Laguiole knives and wine corkscrews, French faience pottery from
Quimper and other regions, there is a flea market in Paris that is a wonderful spot for finding little treasures. It is in north Paris and is called the "Le marche aux puces de Saint -Ouen" OPen Sat., Sun Monday and can best be reached by Metro(station Garibaldi on Line 13) Make sure that you try the Banon cheese while you are in Provence. It is a small round cheese that is wrapped in chestnut leaves that hae been soaked in marc (a wine byproduct) and tied with raffia. Wonderful!! Also, try the pissalidare (sp)while you are in Nice. It is an onion and anchovy izza. I know that it sounds horrible but it is fabulous!! Also try the tapannade (an olive paste used as a dip for raw vegitables and to spread on bread slices. You can also buy it in little jars to bring home. As you can tell I love France. Have a great time!! PS you an bring up to $400 of items in duty free.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2001, 05:35 AM
  #3  
elaine
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For souvenirs and inexpensive guests, I am a fan of the museum gift shops.
You can get anything from a Mona Lisa
refrigerator magnet to pretty tea towels and posters. good selection of art books as well, in English as well as French.
 
Old Aug 15th, 2001, 09:48 AM
  #4  
Ellie
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Thanks for the wonderful ideas
 
Old Aug 15th, 2001, 11:08 AM
  #5  
elvira
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After $400, you pay duty of 10% of the value. Don't lie on the customs form; if you get caught, you pay fines that will wipe out any future travel plans.

Paris: address book, calendars, Christmas and note cards, stationery, handmade papers and journals, fountain and ballpoint pens, paper folios; jigsaw puzzles, children's books and coloring books, toy cars and trucks; books and magazines on cooking, decorating, and crafts; perfumes not yet available in the U.S. and Nivea makeup; scented water for spritzing your linens before you iron them (yeah, like that'll happen in this lifetime).

Wherever you can find a grocer, supermarket, department store (Galeries Lafayette, Monprix), or specialty shop: mustard, honey, canned goose fat, foie gras, truffles, oils and vinegars, jellies and jams, cookies, sea salt, unusual spices and condiments (like sugared rose petals - I have no idea what to do with them), wine, cocoa, tea, Badoit, inexpensive art from street vendors.

Provence/Nice: lavender and related products, herbes de Provence, fabric, pottery.

Hit every street market; many have 'brocante', which is flea market stuff, and not so heavily touristed as the advertised, permanent markets like St Ouen or Vanves.
 
Old Aug 15th, 2001, 11:18 AM
  #6  
Joan
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JUst a cautionary note re: museum gift shop items, they are growing more alike the world over. I was disappointed recently to see a purchase I had made (a fabric covered note-book) in the L'orangerie, was available in the mall Museum shop back home. It was less money and marked 'made in China'. The one from Paris was identical but without the tell-tale tag...I guess the French do not have the same stringent labelling laws. Stick with the very useful advice from earlier posters and buy foodstuffs.
 
Old Aug 15th, 2001, 11:53 AM
  #7  
elena
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I buy fun, inexpensive fountain pens, including Waterman and Cross (under $15) that I cannot find in the US. Wonderful stationery, too.

Sometimes it's the packaging - Crest toothpaste in a tooth shaped container. They were a hit as a stocking stuffer!

Great oils, olive, pistacchio, hazelnut - available here but not easily and not always as good as J. LeBlanc.

We bought some great table linens in Provence - they were less expensive there and we have fond memories everytime we use them.

 
Old Aug 15th, 2001, 06:06 PM
  #8  
rick
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When my wife and I traveled through Nice and Cannes, we bought posters depicting the current artist showing at the various art galleries. It not only gives you a rare print of an uncommon painting, but it also provides the date and place of the gallery showing. I remember the posters were only $2-3 at the time(20 years ago).
 
Old Aug 15th, 2001, 06:07 PM
  #9  
vixie
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In Paris, my vote is for the Lavender Honey at Fauchon, no wait, its the
3 Fruits Rouges (jam) at Hedaird. Both can be found on Place de Madeline. In Nice I bought olive oil.(1 gallon) It was incredible, and the container is now a great kitchen decoration. The table cloths and napkins in Nice were great Xmas gifts. Have fun!
 
Old Aug 15th, 2001, 06:56 PM
  #10  
mary
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elvira---what is Badoit, please?
thank you
 
Old Aug 15th, 2001, 07:14 PM
  #11  
mimi taylor
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Everthing Elani says but I also want to add the provencial print oilcloth for dining out doors. I leave mine out all summer. Eleni , I collect cigales.
 
Old Aug 16th, 2001, 07:06 AM
  #12  
elvira
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mary, Badoit is a bottled mineral water, very slightly fizzy, which is produced by the Evian company....and not available in the U.S. Believe me, I asked....
 
Old Aug 16th, 2001, 07:51 AM
  #13  
Alma
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The most popular would be the beret. I myself bought back 2 lovely Limoges plates that were painted with 24k gold and had a picture in the middle of a couple from the renissance. It looks great on my shelf. Silk scarfs are plentyful there also. Wines, chocolate and herbs and spices are great gifts also. Jewelry is always fun to buy.
 
Old Aug 16th, 2001, 07:58 AM
  #14  
John
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For wine drinkers, a dessert/apertif called Banyuls is something like a Bordeaux crossed with a light Port - delicious and virtually unobtainable outside France. Can you bring back a couple of bottles for us?
 

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