The Frenchman and I go to France at least once a year to visit family and friends and before we come back, we always have a list of must-buy items to bring back. Typically we spend an afternoon at Monoprix (France’s equivalent to Target) to buy our “necessities” and we always have separate shopping lists.
His Shopping List
- 99% Lindt Dark Chocolate – The Frenchman enjoys a square of this 99% dark chocolate with his afternoon espresso. Apparently it’s difficult to find anything over 90% in the U.S., but I think I’ve seen the 99% chocolate at World Market and you can also find it on Amazon.
- Hollywood Chewing Gum – He says the gum in the States is too sweet and he prefers the Hollywood brand sold in France
- Mustard – This man loves his Maille Dijon mustard. We always try to bring a jar back (which usually only lasts a month or two), but Trader Joe’s has a great Dijon mustard option which holds us over.
- Wine – If it was up to him, he’d bring a whole luggage case full of wine, but we often bring back 2-3 bottles each and they’re usually bottles that are difficult to find (or outrageously marked up) in the States. On our last trip from France, we came back with 5 bottles and paid for it dearly with overweight luggage fees!
Her Shopping List
I used to come back with food (including foie gras, jam, macarons, cookies and chocolates) and while I still bring back some food items, I now go out of my way to bring back much more important (and exciting) items… beauty products! The French are known for their cult beauty items and while many of these products can be found in the States, they’re so much cheaper to purchase in France. Side note: I usually buy these “souvenirs” at Monoprix (so we can do one shopping trip for the two of us), but you’ll definitely have more variety of products and better prices if you visit one of the many famous French pharmacies.
Here’s what I scored on my latest trip:
- Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse – this oil is a cult beauty product. I haven’t tried it yet and apparently you can no longer find it in the U.S. (even more reason to buy it in France!). I love how it’s multi-use (an oil for your hair, body and face). I’ve started to use oils lately and prefer it over lotion.
- Caudalie VineActiv Overnight Detox Oil – I love the Caudalie brand. Most of their products are made from grapes – so, as a wine lover how could I not love it? This oil is already a part of my evening routine. I love this stuff and it’s also easy to find in the U.S.
- Caudalie Beauty Elixer – I haven’t tried this Caudalie product yet, but looking forward to it. This elixer helps to refresh the skin, smooth features and also sets your makeup.
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-light Sunscreen Fluid – Another product I use daily. Sunscreen is a must in LA and I love that it’s a liquid rather than a cream or lotion.
- Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre – Another cult French beauty product which I have yet to try. It’s a light cream but super hydrating and soothing. It can also be used as a primer, makeup remover, and face mask.
- Avene Cicalfate Repair Cream – I love this brand and this cream is great for sensitive skin and helps shield and repair your skin from sun damage.
- Bioderma Sensibio H2O – I buy bottles of this on every visit to France and have them in stock under my sink. It’s a part of my daily skincare regimen (I use it morning and night) and two of the 500 mL bottles usually lasts me about a year. I also purchased a 100 mL small bottle for traveling since my last bottle was confiscated by airport security.
What are your must-buys when you visit France? Let me know if I’m missing out on anything (food, beauty or otherwise). I’d love to know what to bring back on our next visit.