(asked by Rachel from Buffalo, NY)
I’m going to France this fall to study French and live with a French family. I was thinking about getting the family something to say, ‘thanks for letting me live with you’, but I have no idea of what kind of gift would be appropriate. I want to let them know that I’m grateful, but don’t want to get something weird or out of place. Any thoughts?
Wow, I haven’t been “dearsired” in a while. Thanks.
First of all sorry for the late answer, you must already be in France by now (remember it takes time between the moment you send your question and the moment I get to answer it), but this will still be useful for other people in the future.
So what would be a nice gift to give when you’re going to stay with a French family (either because they’re a host family, or your friend’s family or your future in-laws, etc.) ?
In a previous post, I suggested decent wine, flowers, nice chocolates. Those are the typical safe gifts you can give when you’re invited to a French family.
If you’re going to stay longer than a few days and/or if you come from a country that has a rich culture and history, you can bring something that’s typical from your country and is not too tacky as a gift (bad news for Americans, I could never find such a gift to bring back to France).
Really, the trick is to not be tacky, or cheap (I don’t suggest to buy something really expensive, but you don’t want to buy a €3 bottle of wine either, that’s almost insulting), apart from that it’s the act that counts not what you actually give.
And in any case, the best gift you can give them is to be nice and polite, take part in everyday chores and those sorts of things.