She carried you, gave birth to you, and that was only the beginning. This Sunday is a chance to say, “Merci, Maman chérie,” and with just a few days left to get your act together we thought you could use some inspiration. Check out these ideas for last-minute Mother’s Day gifts with French flair.
10. Macarons. Lighter-than-air yet creamy, colorful and sweet, the once hard-to-find macarons (mah-kah-RON) can now be purchased in plenty of stores across America from French bakeries like Ladurée or Paul to the pastry counters at fancy grocers like Whole Foods. For extra points, do a little research on your mom’s favorite flavors and colors, pick out a matching spray of flowers, and write the card in French.
9. Cook her a French dinner/lunch/brunch. This does not have to be hard. While you could go all-out and attempt Julia Child’s canard farci en croute, here is another option for people who lack the time to de-bone a duck: start with the Everything Easy French Cookbook by Cécile Delarue. It’s filled with simple-yet-elegant treats like Sole Meunière, Pommes Duchesses and Tarte à la Fraise with easy Chantilly cream. Delarue also has a blog with videos to help you along.
8. French lessons. From Pimsleur to Rosetta Stone to Duolingo, there is no shortage of language-learning software out there. But while apps may work for some, it’s always a treat to speak with real people when learning a language. If your mom has always dreamed of speaking French, why not book her a series of classes at the Alliance Française, the non-profit whose mission is to promote French language and culture abroad? With over 110 chapters in the US alone, there’s bound to be one near you.
7. Surprise boxes filled with fancy treats. Try the World is a food subscription service co-founded by a Frenchman and an American. Sign mom up and she’ll start receiving pretty boxes filled with international delicacies curated by sought-after chefs within a couple of weeks. The boxes arrive every two months for the period you decide, and each time she opens one she’ll think of you.
6. French beauty supplies. French women are famous for keeping beauty simple. In a recent interview with New York Magazine, French makeup artist Violette put it like this, “the main beauty philosophy in France is to accept who you are.” Help mom get into this good-to-yourself mindset with some top-quality skin care items from Claudalie or Clarins. Both have spas and boutiques across the country and both are now offering Mother’s Day deals.
5. Oysters. Did you know that eating oysters is a very French thing to do? The author of French Women Don’t Get Fat has a whole book about why, and if your mom liked that book she’ll enjoy Meet Paris Oyster just as much. If you live near the ocean, take mom out for a plate of these jewels of the sea and a glass of champagne. If not, maybe just stick to the book.
4. Champagne. Speaking of champagne, it only comes from France. A champagne rosé like a Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperial is a particularly nice touch in springtime. En plus, you could offer her some vintage French champagne coupes, such as these for sale on foodie website Food52.
3. French films. The French are famous for doing film right and if your mom loves movies you’re sure to find a French one to delight, surprise or inspire. On the lighter side try a classic Jacques Tati like Mon Oncle (you can buy it from iTunes) or Julie Delpy’s hilarious 2012 film 2 Days in New York. Added bonus: no French needed as the former has hardly any dialogue and the latter is in English. For the serious film buff, try a box set from the Criterion Collection. This Agnès Varda set of four beautiful films is on sale for only $79.96.
2. Cronut. If you live in New York City and you have the courage to wake up early and wait in line, mom is sure to thank you for it. Dominique Ansel’s famous donut-like-croissant creation is just the one-of-a-kind touch that could take a Mother’s Day breakfast or brunch to the next level. The bakery is at 189 Spring Street, and according to the “Cronut 101” page on the website, if you arrive before 7:30am you have “a great chance” of scoring one (the limit is 2 per person).
1. Send her to Paris. Maybe you just won the lottery or signed a lucrative book deal — maybe you’re one of 12 siblings and you all chip in. If you do decide to spring for this ultimate gift, check out fledgling French airline La Compagnie, which offers daily flights to and from New York to Paris CDG. Since La Compagnie is all business class, your mom will arrive in Paris well-rested and ready to enjoy the City of Lights.