Gift giving in France is mainly fun and lighthearted. It is a way to show affection and goodwill towards the person you give the gift to. There are some things you might want to know and remember before purchasing a gift and giving it to someone. One main thing is to remember that the thought behind your gift is more important than the cost of the gift. Knowing what someone likes before giving them a gift will make more of an impact.
Read more in our gift giving etiquette series:
France Gift Giving Customs
- It is expected to give gifts when it comes to social events, especially when it comes to expressing thanks.
- When you are invited into a home in France, it is rare. Bring flowers, chocolates, or liquor. Give the gift when you arrive, before celebrations or entertaining starts.
- Usually, gifts are open upon receiving them.
Giving Gifts to the French
- Send a thank-you note the day after being invited into your French host’s home. Make sure it is handwritten and delivered via messenger. You could also send flowers or a fruit basket when you send the thank you note.
Business Gift Giving Customs & Etiquette in France
- Discretion is the most important thing when giving gifts in a business setting.
- Refrain from including your business card in the gift you give.
- Holiday cards can be a good choice, especially as a thank you to business associates.
- Sending New Year’s greetings in January, but no later, is a good practice for business associates.
Gift Giving Occasions in France
- Fete du Travail- exchange flowers
- Mother’s Day
- Father’s Day
- Valentine’s Day
- Birth of a child
Gift Giving Tips in France
- The expense, or lack of, of a gift, should not concern you. It is more important to choose something you think they will appreciate.
- Occult or mystic books and music will make good gifts as long as you know, the person’s tastes.
- Books for their coffee table about your home country make good gifts.
- Make sure a bouquet of flowers is in an odd number of flowers.
Gift Giving Don’t in France
- Avoid chrysanthemums as they are for funerals, avoid red roses as they are for lovers or people in a relationship, and avoid carnations as they are seen as a gesture of bad will.
- Avoid white flowers in general, as they are for weddings and yellow flowers as they signal infidelity.
- Don’t bring wine if you are invited into a home, as they would likely prefer to choose the wine.
- Avoid a bouquet of 13 flowers.