2023 Advice and tips
The French mountain regions abound with talented craftsmen and women boasting a whole host of original ideas and unique expertise. With traditional handcrafted goods, authentic concepts, and local specialities, you’re sure to find the perfect souvenir.
Here are a few ideas of mountain souvenirs to take home with you!
Each resort has its own distinguishing features, making for unforgettable memories. As a reminder of those special moments spent together, or to share the emotions experienced on the mountaintop, why not take a souvenir home with you?
- Black Peuf paintings: Created in the Bauges mountain range (Savoie), Black Peuf is a brand of illustration paintings showcasing the most beautiful viewpoints, and the region’s mountain environment.
- Le Chamoniard: Ski instructor Didier Simond is also a carpenter who handcrafts knives representing the Chamonix valley. Their handles are in the shape of Mont Blanc, and the blades are engraved with the first ascent by Jacques Balmat in 1786.
- Morzine mugs made by Gégé the potter: Well-known in his village, Gégé the potter continues the family tradition of making traditional Savoyard pottery. In his workshop, you’ll find a host of unique products and resort souvenirs.
- Cheese of course! Beaufort, Abondance, Vallorcin, Avalin, Tomme, Reblochon, Mont d’Or - each area has its own speciality which showcases its local identity. If you want to take home a souvenir from your holiday, cheese is always a safe bet.
Top tip: Ask for the cheese to be vacuum-packed for easy transportation, especially in hand luggage.
The mountain regions are bursting with gourmet culinary specialities, so why not treat family or friends to a sweet treat?!
- La confiserie des Hautes-Vosges confectioner’s shop: This family-run confectioner’s shop sells delicious, handcrafted sweets, using unique recipes handed down from generation to generation.
- Les Flocons Pyrénéens from Saint Lary Soulan: A local speciality, these mouth-watering little chocolates are covered in a thin layer of meringue.
- Herbal teas and cordials from Le Dévoluy: Fruit and berry picker / herbalist, Luc Bernard makes a unique range of produce from Alpine plants, reflecting the region’s flavours.
- Ancolie cake from Val d’Isère: this local speciality made by Maison Chevallot takes its name from a mountain flower found on the slope of the Olympic downhill run in Val d’Isère when it was built in 1992.
Opinel: The iconic Savoyard brand of knives, Opinel started out in 1890 in a little village in the Maurienne valley. More than 130 years later, the brand has retained its unique expertise and quality assurance.
Ayaq clothing: Created by 2006 Olympic biathlon champion, Vincent Defrasne, Ayaq is a responsible technical mountain clothing brand. It’s the perfect place to find a gift for sports enthusiasts.
SNÖ Eternelle: Organic cosmetics brand founded by Raphaëlle Monod, former freestyle ski champion from La Clusaz.
Pyrénées Noisetier Bijoux: This jewellery brand makes original creations from hazel wood and precious stones from the Hautes Pyrénées.
Personalised baseball caps: Florian Martin, baseball cap artist in Les 2 Alpes creates unique caps with your own design.
Pottery in Sainte Foy de Tarentaise: From her workshop, Anne Mamottant designs and creates unique pieces of pottery inspired by the mountains
The high-altitude forests and plains are home to plants that can be used to make delicious alcoholic drinks for you to enjoy (in moderation!). Each mountain region has its own speciality, made with local flowers and plants, using traditional techniques:
- Brasserie Sabaudia craft brewery
- Génépi Guillaumette genepi liqueur
- Bières artisanales du Galibier craft beer
- Liqueur de Chartreuse herbal liqueur
- Liqueur de Coscoll angelica liqueur
- Liqueur de Mélèze larch liqueur
Unique mountain experiences make for amazing gifts. It’s the perfect opportunity to try out new activities and make memories together:
- Night in an igloo: Treat a friend or family member to a night in an igloo on an Alpine mountaintop. This is an incredible timeless experience with the bonus of a snowshoe hike in the moonlight to get there.
- Evening snowshoe hike: Accompanied by a mountain guide, embark on a sunset snowshoe hike to reach the auberge where a typical Savoyard dinner awaits you. This is a magical experience in the great outdoors.
- Bushcraft: This extreme cold survival course is perfect for the more adventurous in search of new thrills, giving them the chance to discover survival techniques in cold, snowy surroundings.
Or why not treat them to one of many other activities on offer in the mountains, such as bobsleigh, ski touring, ice diving… Encourage your loved ones to discover new thrills and sensations with one of these original gifts!
Handcrafted gifts are sure to delight your little ones on Christmas Day. Here are a few discoveries that they’ll love:
- Forest books: Photographer and nature enthusiast Sylvain Mangel has joined forces with Marie Houlbrèque to come up with a lovely range of children’s books showcasing the Vosges forest and its residents in pictures.
- Cardboard toys and fancy dress outfits: In Le Grand Bornand, Tonton Carton makes handcrafted toys and fancy-dress outfits from cardboard. They make for original, innovative gifts that will fuel their imagination!