Hand in glove in style
Agnelle was founded in 1937 in Saint-Junien – the Haute-Vienne (Limousin) town with a long history of glove-making – when Joseph Pourrichou, director of a paper mill, opened a workshop for his son, Lucien.
Ever since, the firm has been famed for both fine craftsmanship and the quality of the materials used to produce luxury leather gants. All of the leather it uses is sourced in France or Spain and treated at French tanneries.
The company has remained family-owned for three generations and today it is under the stewardship of his great granddaughter Sophie Grégoire. In 2006, the firm was recognised as a “Living Heritage Enterprise”, and since 2011, has been registered as a prestigious Unesco “Métiers d’Arts Rares”.
Among the modern styles available are these rock and roll-ish, tassled “Lena Franges Whisky Doublure Alpaga” ones, priced €170 and also available in black.
The discreet missing link
Cufflinks may have a reputation as being a last-minute, no-other-ideas Christmas gift for the smartly dressed man in your life.
However, these ever-so-stylish yet discreet silver ‘Victor’ boutons de manchette from Paris jewellery maker Gemmyo are sure to get plenty of use instead of languishing at the back of a drawer.
Their round, all-metal design with a slight “striated” effect, has a diameter of 1.8 cm, and is flat at the front and back. They are equipped with a “swivel head” mechanism, making them quick and easy to attach. Price, €240. Perfect for post-lockdown, when we can attend glitzy occasions again!
Elegant daily grind
There is more to Peugeot than cars and bikes – in fact, the firm started out as a maker of coffee and spice grinders which evolved into pepper and salt mills by 1842. Today, these wooden moulins are seen as among the best of their kind in the world.
This pair of ‘Paris’ mills in beech, measuring 22cms high, costs €69.90. Available form leading homewares stores and online.
France in the frame
Combining chic and modern graphic design concepts with an affectionate look at elements of French culture, architecture, sport, music, cinema, food, wine and more, La Majorette à Moustache’s posters make for perfect Christmas gifts for Francophiles.
Do you know your Rouge des Prés from your Aubrac? This quirky guide to the cows of France – will make you an expert in no time.
And the bright and colourful cabines de plage poster with its array of beach huts, will bring a hint of the French seaside to your home whatever the season. Both 50x70cms, €39 (frames sold separately).
All white on the night with stylish festive tableware
Culinary stresses aside, one of the joys of welcoming guests for a dinner feast at Christmas, Réveillon or New Year is shopping around for one-off, seasonal tableware with which to wow your invitees.
La Redoute is an excellent source of affordable plates and bowls with a festive theme or colour scheme. Why not keep it simple with these lovely porcelain plates with graphic landscape pattern. 4x dessert plates, €19.99; 4x dinner plates, €24.99.
Sweet treats from Provence are firm Xmas favourites
For anyone with a sweet tooth and a penchant for finely crafted French regional specialities, Christmas is close to heaven. Among the leading lights of Provençal delicacies is Confiseur François Doucet, purveyor of chocolate goodies and pâtes de fruits.
As well as an advent calendar and gourmet coffrets, great gift ideas for this Noël are chocolate raisins macerated in a Marc de Champagne and almonds encased in nougatine and chocolate, both (€14.28).
The gift of comfort
When it comes to Christmas gifts, what do you buy the beginner gardener? There are endless options – basic tool sets like shears or pruners, a decent pair of gloves, planting kits, or simple herb-growing pots for a balcony or terrace.
But when it comes to the experienced gardener who has all the tools of the trade, it is hard to find something useful. Here is a practical idea – a portable stool or kneeler to help protect dodgy back or weary limbs.
Search online for banc agenouilloir de jardin (kneeling seat for the garden) or un tabouret de jardin (a garden stool).
Mistletoe and wine
To decorate your festive hallways or dining table with some holly (Ilex aquifolium), ask for houx in French – it is available in many garden centres and other retailers in the form of garlands and cut branches. We have also spotted an LED one from Truffaut priced €23.95.
Mistletoe, meanwhile, is called le gui in French – you might tempt someone to a quick kiss “sous le gui”.