Christmas brings out the best and worst of seasonal shoppers – from the queues and elbow-jostling at the large department stores and malls to shoppers who head for the smaller stores for that something special during the festive season, here is my round-up of places to shop on the French Riviera.
If you have children, Christmas is a magical time but it can be overloaded with huge expense and stress for many parents. I try to stagger my gift buying across a few months to avoid the Christmas crowds, but for last-minute gifts you can’t go past these stores on the French Riviera:
Pierrot La Lune (8 rue James Close) in Antibes has some beautiful traditional toys including wind-up figurines, wooden toys and classic tin toys. They also stock Playmobil, Tin Tin and the Steiff bears. A lovely store for a special gift (it’s pricey though).
Pylones in Cannes and Tiger (Flying Tiger) are stores that you can find cool unique gifts for kids from 2 years up to teens. They have everything from quirky lunch boxes to gadgets and stickers, lots of travel games and stocking fillers.
If you have kids into science, nature, planets or discovery then stop by by Nature et Découvertes at Cap 3000 in St Laurent du Var. It’s a great store for finding educational gifts such as DIY rockets, telescopes, planetariums and all sorts of science-related goodies.
If you want to break away from the socks and underpants routine at Christmas, try one of these stores – guaranteed to get you some brownie points.
Pop Art in Nice specialises in customised printing on clothes but they also stock vintage pieces, sculptures and of course, pop art. It’s a great store if you’re looking for a gift for a guy into skateboarding or urban culture.
Cobalt is a funky concept store retailing all sorts of contemporary and eclectic items including designer furniture, stationery and objets d’art. They stock Woouf iPad covers and Seletti’s fun monkey and mice lamps. The über cool already know where it is – go now before the masses discover it.
Who can resist a delicious fragrance? French perfume is well known to ignite hearts and Fragonard has some exceptional fragrance blends. Rather than opt for a parfum, their room fragrance diffusers are so lovely you’ll think you’ve dived straight into a Provençal field head first. I love the Ginger and Vétiver one. They have retail shops in Cannes, Grasse, Eze, St Paul de Vence and Nice or buy a treat online at www.fragonard.com
If you are seeking a special book for her, try heading to La Briqueterie Librairie. Based in Vieux Nice (4-6 Rue Jules Gilly), this amazing bookstore has a brilliant selection of books with subjects ranging from music to art and history. Highly recommended.
For interior decorating fans, there are so many beautiful Provençal items but the bright colours or prints don’t always match your furniture. I love these neutral Jean Cocteau-themed cushions you can buy on Society 6, and Eklektik Gallery in Monaco is a testament to its name with a fabulous collection of classic and contemporary ceramics, ethnic art, fragranced gifts, homewares and furniture.
I hope you have enjoyed my Holiday Gift Guide – it’s a sample of some great places to buy French Riviera goodies! Joyeux Noël!