France Today Summer Gift Guide: Must-Have Accessories, Treats and More!
It’s official: summer’s here and we’re dreaming of long, lazy days on the sun-soaked plages (and why not Paris Plages?) As we’re getting ready to pack our beach bags, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of summer must-haves: all made in France. Now that’s haute!
La Mortuacienne- THE authentic French lemonade
Feeling thirsty this summer? Refresh yourself with La Mortuacienne, THE most authentic French lemonade. Since 1921, these delicious lemonades have been produced in the purest tradition with local water, natural flavourings and high quality sugar. Today, the family-run business is still managed by 4th generation family members at the original factory, in Besançon, France. Luckily, no need to travel to France to get them; they are sold throughout the UK at independent quality retailers, such as Wholefoods and Selfridges in London, Keelham Farshop in York, Mangetout in Devon, or at Cote Brasserie restaurants… Ask for it by name and enjoy one (or more!) of the deliciously sparkling, fruity flavours: pink, orange, pamplemousse, mandarine, citron, traditional, grenade and, brand new for summer, Mint & Lime. Available in 330ml screw top and 1ltr swing top, traditional bottles. Santé!
Nothing says summer like a maillot de bain by Vilebrequin. First founded in Saint-Tropez in 1971, Vilebrequin offers a fabulous range of styles, patterns and colours. Our favourite? The classic Moorea swimwear for men, which comes in fish, turtle, and other marine motifs. Perfect for playing on the plages.
La Roche-Posay sunscreen
There’s a reason La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios sunscreen has a cult following. Oil free and with a light-weight texture, this unique sunscreen line is perfect for sensitive skin. Offering advanced broad spectrum protection against UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays, La Roche-Posay Antihelios doesn’t clog up your pores like other sunscreens do. The brand takes its name from the town of La Roche-Posay, situated in the Vienne department and renowned for its mineral-rich thermal springs, where people come from all over the world for skin “cures” and water-based treatments. Tip: The 50+ sunscreen for kids is excellent, as well. Available in stores around the world and online.
Iced Tea by Dammann Frères
We’ve long been fans of the fine teas by Dammann Frères (especially when we can shop for it in the lovely boutique located under the arcades in the Place des Vosges in Paris). Imagine our delight in learning that the French brand also offers a selection of heavenly iced teas for the summer months. With names like Jardin Bleu, Bali, Fidji, Samba, Pêche and Touareg, these refreshing infusions offer a sensory voyage to far-off exotic places. Available in Dammann Frères boutiques and online.
Fragrance by Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger
Grasse, situated in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the south of France, has long been renowned as one of the world’s perfume capitals. Just a 30-minute drive from the French Riviera, this Provençal hilltop town has a unique microclimate conducive to cultivating flower and plant varieties for fragrances. The Roux family has been a key part of the Grasse perfume industry for generations. In 1998, Virginie and Antoine Roux created their own brand of haute parfum called Au Plays de la Fleur d’Oranger– inspired by their passion for the region, family traditions, and the abundant flowers, in particular bitter orange and rose centrifolia flower, which today have become the cornerstones of the brand’s statement fragrances. New for 2017 is the Eau de Virginie, with notes of locally grown Mimosa blossom and the tuberose. Also coveted: the line of niche perfumes and the Néroli Blanc collection.
Folle Envie: A Refreshing, Organic Aperitif
We recently discovered the most delightful French aperitif: a brand new drink fashioned from a great-grandmother’s ancient recipe– effectively reviving a fun tradition from yesteryear. Called Folle Envie, the drink is made with lemon peels, organic home-distilled grain alcohol, and hints of cardamom. Creators Estelle Sauvage and Olivier Fichot are based between Bordeaux and Cognac, and they’ve chosen to source all local, organic ingredients for their libation. The company also makes a delicious tonic, concocted with organic French plants, called Archibald.
Espadrilles by Chatelles
Who says women can’t shine in flats? This Parisian brand has transformed the concept of the women’s slipper. They’re all made to order! Customised slippers by Chatelles can have embroidered initials, tassels in various colors… the sky’s the limit. After all, the motto of Chatelles’ founder François du Chastel is “Reject the dictatorship of high heels and say no to the banality of ballerinas.” For the summer season, we’re loving the Ulysse espadrilles pictured below.
A Hip Leather Bag by Nat & Nin
Looking for a relaxed– yet still elegant– bag for the summer months? We go gaga for the fun leather handbags created by Nat & Nin. Having grown up in an atelier run by leather artisan parents, sisters Nathalie and Ninny launched their first line in 2005, channeling the passion and reinventing the savoir-faire they’d gleaned from their parents. Nat & Nin quickly developed a following for its natural sophistication and refreshing simplicity. The premium top grain leather is sourced from Italy, and the styles are irresistible!
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