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French vacation surprise!
May 26, 2005 7:24 AM   Subscribe

My parents are visiting the French Riviera for about a month, and I have their (almost) complete itinerary. I'd love to send something to one of their hotels as a surprise gift, but not sure what.

I'm thinking something small and relatively cheap that can be shipped from the States -- something that a retired couple would enjoy receiving from home while on vacation. Is there a particular item/idea that comes to mind as something you would have been surprised and happy to receive while on vacation?

Also, what can I expect to pay to ship something to them from the United States, and is any carrier more reliable when it comes to delivering an item on a specific date? Will hotels commonly hold packages for guests who haven't arrived yet? Will the fact that I know absolutely no French matter, or will hotel employees speak enough English that I'll be able to explain to them what I'm trying to do? Will the questions ever end?
posted by nitsuj to Travel & Transportation around Côte D’ Azur, France (4 answers total)
Another option is perhaps (If the hotel offers it) arranging an in-room spa day for them, with massages and what not. Could be nice after a long day of walking around, and you wouldn't have to worry about shipping times.
posted by mrs.pants at 7:29 AM on May 26, 2005

It may be easier to just have the hotel deliver champagne (or whatever else they can supply in-house) to their room. I've no idea what you could send (you will know your parents best) but I think first port of call would be emailing or calling the hotel and asking them the questions you posted here. They will surely have English speaking staff members and depending on the quality of their service will be able to tell you their mail policy and may even have tips on the best courier to use etc, what they can offer your parents for a treat, or what locally produced gifts/delicacies they can buy in on your behalf.
posted by fire&wings at 7:39 AM on May 26, 2005

Call the hotel, say "Bonjour. Vous parlez anglais?," and then book something special (like the spa treatment). Make sure you get specific instructions on how to pay for it, and then zip a traveler's cheque across the Atlantic.
posted by bjork24 at 8:05 AM on May 26, 2005

The cheapest way to mail is using Global Priority flat rate envelopes (available at your PO).

Maybe a vacation journal or diary? Their favorite American magazines or newspapers?

I think you're doing a nice and thoughtful thing for your parents.
posted by LadyBonita at 1:14 PM on May 26, 2005

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