Gift Giving Ideas – GiftBook by

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Unwrapping France: A Guide to Gift-Giving in France

We’ve been exploring the world one blog at a time. From South Korea to Ireland, and today our journey continues. It’s time for a deep dive into the art of gift-giving in France. France is a bastion of creativity and passion, and the gifting customs are no exception. It’s always wise to ask your recipients about their gifting preferences, but it never hurts to study in advance.

Your friends, family, and colleagues in France will likely accept any gifts you send them with grace and appreciation, no matter what you send. That being said, being graceful and appreciative isn’t the same as being impressed. When it comes to gift giving in France, you should ensure every gift is designed to impress. From the simplest of chocolates to the most basic of bouquets – your gifts should stand out, and this blog will teach you how to make sure that happens.

Gift-Giving in France - Woman in front of the Eiffel tower with French Flag

Gift Giving in France – The Importance of Greeting Cards

Expressing your sincere feelings is the best way to ensure that your gifts stand out. A greeting card with a thoughtful message can truly make or break the gift you’re sending. Take care to make your message personal and expressive. You don’t need to be a wordsmith, but you do need to do your best to express yourself.

A greeting card is so important in France that sometimes it is the only thing that is expected. Suppose you are invited to a party or attend a dinner at a friend’s. Custom dictates that you send a thank you card after the event. If you can’t attend an event, this gesture becomes more important.  

Consider pulling a popular quote if you struggle to find the right words. Be it poetry or lyrics, finding a quote that expresses your thoughts will delight your recipient.

Popular Gifts in France

Known as one of the culinary capitals of the world, gourmet gifts reign supreme in France. Though not everyone in France is a foodie, and not every moment calls for a gourmet gift. The second most popular gift in France is – gift cards. Sending your recipient a gift card gives them the ultimate power, and enables them to select exactly what they’d like to receive and when they’d like to receive it. The most popular gift cards include those to local restaurants, perfume shops, and high-end clothing stores.

However, the reason for sending the gift can dramatically alter what is appropriate. When it comes to gift-giving in France, many moments call for a gift.

Romantic Gifts

France is known all over the world as one of the top romantic getaways. So it should be no secret that romantic gifts are some of France’s most common and expected gifts. With Gift Baskets Overseas, sending a romantic gift to France is quick and easy. The classic combination of flowers and chocolate is the clear winner for romantic gifts.

Bust as relationships get more serious, so should your gifts. Take care to cater to your partner when curating a gift for them. Melt your love’s heart by building a custom romantic gift to France with all their favorite goodies in mind. A healthy self-care routine is highly prized in France, making spa gift sets some of the most popular romantic gifts for serious couples.

Birthday Gifts

When it comes to sending a birthday gift to France – there’s hardly a wrong answer. The best birthday gifts are personal and should reflect the birthday person’s interests and wishes. However, if you aren’t too sure about their tastes, there are some universally popular and safe gifts to send.

A good bottle of wine will always impress. This is especially true if you’re trying to surprise a colleague! Make sure your birthday gift to France arrives on time or early. If you order late or see a shipping delay contact your recipient. Letting them know a gift is on the way can ease any feelings of disappointment.

Thank You Gifts

The people of France are sticklers for manners. Showing your appreciation to those who go above and beyond to help you is expected. The gift doesn’t need to be extravagant. In fact, in most instances, a hand-written gift card will do. However, for those moments that deserve more than words, a thank-you gift is in order.

A cheerful bouquet and sweets are the most popular thank-you gifts in France.

Gift-Giving in France - Wine and cheese board picnic

Apology Gifts

As much as we try to avoid it, we all make mistakes or hurt people in ways we wish we could take back. For those moments, apology gifts can go a long way toward repairing your relationship. Sending apology gifts to France always means including a thoughtful gift card. The contents aren’t nearly as important as the thought behind them.

Flowers are a popular apology gift in France. Flowers have strong symbolism, and many such as blue hyacinths, lily of the valley, and white tulips, symbolize a sincere apology. You could also take care to send a gift that is meant to offer comfort. From their favorite sweets to something that holds sentimental value, the gift you send should be meant to lift their spirits.

Corporate Gifts

In the world of business gifts, it’s hard to tell when gifts are expected. In France, gifts during your first meeting or early on in the business relationship are a hard no. However, sending corporate gifts during the holidays, especially the New Year, is quite common. Making an impression when sending a corporate gift to France is all about making the gift personal. Skip the branded swag, and stamping your logo everywhere. Instead, make a personal connection by sending a quality bottle of wine, liquor, or even high end chocolates.

Unique Gift Traditions in France

Gift traditions in France all revolve around being thoughtful. This makes many gift traditions fairly intuitive – after all, they’re all about catering to your recipient. So if you know your recipient well, and your gifts cater to their preferences, you’ll likely have things well in hand. However, there are a few less obvious things that could cause miss understanding.

  • Bouquets should always have an odd number of flowers, but never 13.
  • Never bring wine to a house party unless asked, as hosts prefer to pick it themselves. Instead, opt for fresh fruits or something sweet instead.
  • Business gifts shouldn’t be exchanged during your first meeting.
  • Reserve sending white flowers for weddings unless your recipient asks for them.

One tradition about gift-giving in France you’ll want to learn about if you plan to visit or move there are les étrennes.

Les Étrennes

The first question any ex-pat to France asks is, what are les étrennes? The second is when are les étrennes given?

To answer both, les étrennes are a small thank-you gift given to private and public workers in the New Year. Traditionally les étrennes are small amount of money given in an envelope, perhaps with a thank-you note. However, if you happen to have a close relationship with the worker, a small physical gift is also welcome.

The people of France tend to give les étrennes to:

  • – School Teachers
  • – Coaches or extra-curricular teachers
  • – Concierge staff
  • – Gardeners
  • – Building administration (for things like apartments)
  • – House cleaners
  • – Postmen
  • – Garbage collectors
  • – Firefighters

The amount given or the extravagance of the gift given varies. Remember that the amount is traditionally higher for people that impact your day to day life greatly, such as building administrators, house cleaners, and gardeners.

Popular Holidays for Gift-Giving in France

Holiday gift-giving in France is a huge event! The French tend to be firm believers in using the holidays as the time to connect and get closer to those important to them. If you don’t have the time to read through each of the holidays, no worries. Gift cards are a great gift for any holiday; ensure that you send a thoughtful note along with it.


Christmas is the time to go all out with your gifts! You’ll want to send your gifts early, as many people travel for the holiday. Surprising friends, family, and colleagues in France with Christmas gifts is all about indulgence! Skip anything practical, and go straight for fun! Music gifts, books, even board games are welcome Christmas gifts in France. If you’re not sure about their taste in those things, don’t worry! Sending a gourmet gift meant to share is a holiday classic!

Gift-Giving in France - Champagne bottle and fireworks

New Year

New Year is a great time to surprise friends and important business associates. You should always send your New Year gifts to France early! It’s key to ensuring your gift can be enjoyed for the holiday. After all, most of the New Year celebrations happen on New Year’s Eve! Champagne or sparking wine are the top New Year’s gifts in France. If you know your recipients have little ones, ensure you include some chocolates or sweets so they can get in on the gift. New Year’s in France is often spent with family, and any gift you send will mean that much more if it can be shared.

Valentine’s Day

In France, Valentine’s Day is more like Valentine’s Week. After all, the whole country has a romantic reputation to uphold. Valentine’s gifts in France are often sent early to invite your love to a romantic night out. Even if your partner is long-distance, plan a romantic Valentine’s night over video chat. The most popular Valentine’s Day gifts in France are flowers, chocolate, and perfume! That shouldn’t deter you from thinking outside the box if you know your partner prefers something else.


Many people in France celebrate Easter. Beyond the religious services, Easter is a time for family to get together and share in a traditional dinner of lamb or rabbit. Easter is the perfect excuse to spoil your friends and family (especially their children) with sweets and chocolate. Make sure you send your Easter gifts to France early, as delivery on the actual day isn’t possible.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day in France typically falls on the last Sunday of May. However, if the day is the same as Pentecost, it is moved to the first Sunday of June. The most popular Mother’s Day gifts in France include flowers, wine, and spa gifts. It is common to send gifts not only to your mother but grandmother as well. Make sure you also have a hand in spoiling your in-laws. As with other holidays that fall on a Sunday, take care to send your Mother’s Day gift to France early.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day in France falls on the third Sunday in June. Celebrating Father’s Day is a must – and in France, the honor also goes to your grandfather and in-laws. The most popular Father’s Day gifts in France include beer, wine, and savory gourmet treats. Take care to send your Father’s Day gift to France early, as Sunday delivery is often not available.

Wrapping Up Gift-Giving in France

At the end of the day, gift-giving in France is about building and maintaining deep connections. The longer you know someone, the more personal and specific your gifts should be. Ensuring you include a personal greeting card with your gift can earn you a lot of grace if you unknowingly send something they don’t like. Take care to call your recipient after you send something to ask if it was well received, to give them an opening to tell you what they really thought of your gift. If you’d still like a little bit of help picking the perfect gift for that special someone in France, feel free to contact us. Our customer service team is standing by 24/7 and will happily assist you through every step of the process.

You’ve learned about gift-giving in France: now what?