household essentials the french swear by

discover what french households ALWAYS have in stock.

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by Rosie Hatch

The French way of life has always been the subject of fascination for the rest of the world. It is the gold standard of living–close to nature, effortless, and chic all wrapped up into one. Here we explore the inside of a typical French abode to discover 10 items the French can’t live without.

Market Bag (Panier)

Visiting the local food market is a routine outing in all parts of France. From the bustling city of Paris to the quiet countryside of Aix-En-Provence, there is surely a market nearby with fresh fruits, vegetables and most importantly-baguettes! In order to carry their market goodies home, the French use the panier , a woven bag that fits all the necessities for the day’s meals. It is both eco-friendly, convenient, and very French!

Linen Tea Towels

If there’s anyone that can make a kitchen towel chic, it’s the French. So chic in fact, that they are becoming somewhat of a trend in other areas of the world. French tea towels are both rustic and beautiful and powerhouses in the kitchen. Originally used to cover hot teapots to keep them warm, they are now used to tackle many other kitchen tasks. From covering day old bread to keep it fresh, to polishing silver without leaving behind lint–there is not much these French towels can’t do.  

Lavender Sachet

Although native to southern France, lavender can be found in French homes all over the country. It’s strong, familiar scent and its antibacterial properties make this a staple in multiple areas of the house. In the bedroom it is carefully hung on a bed post to aid in a good night’s sleep. It is also placed in drawers and cabinets to ward off moths and insects. In addition to its strong scent, the French believe that lavender can cure many ailments and is occasionally cooked in decadent recipes to aid in good health. 


Most French households today still haven’t caved into the idea of clothes dryers. That is because their timeless method is energy efficient and cost-effective. Dryers, although convenient, are costly and can be ruining your clothes quicker than the conventional air-dry method. Using a clothesline helps maintain natural fibers and elastics unlike the extreme heat of a dryer. In addition, sunlight can make whites brighter and can even stop bacteria from spreading. The French are onto something on this one.

Classic French Dinnerware

The French enjoy the simple things in life- family, love and food. There’s no better way to bring these three things together than hosting an aperitif or gourmet meal for friends and family. French dinnerware can be sophisticated for an elegant meal or casual for everyday use which makes it essential in any French household. What distinguishes French dinnerware from others is its quality and delicate patterns. All you need now is fresh flowers for the table!


If you visit France, you can easily find a café where you can sip some coffee and engage in political or philosophical discussions with locals. In the French home, it’s not much different. Coffee is an essential part of the day and is usually consumed in the morning or after a meal. In the French home you can find either espresso machines or stove top coffee makers which produce deeper, richer cups than their American counterparts. 

Sophie the Giraffe

Babies and Sophie the Giraffe go hand in hand, especially in her native France. This adorable, soft, squeaky toy made in a quaint city near Paris in 1961 has become a cultural phenomenon- in fact, it is currently the bestselling baby product on Sophie’s distinctive charm comes from the fact that she is made from 100% natural plant-based rubber and still handmade to this day. Her sweet face is painted using food dyes to make her teething and slobber-friendly, so she’s irresistible to babies and parents alike!

Crepe Pan

Although crepes only have a few ingredients (flour, eggs, milk and butter) it is how they are cooked that makes them extraordinary. In order to achieve delectable crepes every time the French enlist in a special pan that is made just for these treats. It is a non-stick pan that is flat and round and distributes heat evenly. For savory and sweet crepes alike this kitchen tool is a must. Where’s the Nutella?

Savon De Marseille

Port-city Marseille, France is the second largest city in the country, and also famous for creating Savon de Marseille, a seawater and oil based soap used in France since the Middle Ages. Like many other French creations, this soap is created with care and patience. So much in fact, that to make the soap the entire process takes about a month. Originally created for bodily hygiene, its uses have expanded to include shaving and even washing laundry!

Mini Sewing Kit

The French are never caught with a missing button or loose seams because they always have a mini sewing kit handy. Scissors, thimble, needle and thread is all they need to fix garment mishaps. Sewing by hand is a skill that is useful for everyday needs, this is one practiced French skill to adopt at home, stat.