I am very keen now on certain French products, including pre-cooked beets, available in sealed plastic bags at markets and greengrocers. Fresh beets are bulky to carry and a pain to prepare, so the pre-cooked French version seems to me an invention of genius.

I also love Malongo coffee, sold at Malongo cafes -- there's one on St. Andre des Arts in the Latin Quarter -- and in grocery stores. Malongo beans come from small producers in developing countries around the world who are guaranteed fair prices and long-term trading commitments, enabling them to "continue traditional and sustainable livelihoods," according to the company. It costs about $5 a can and works well in my French press coffee maker. Thanks to Malongo, I no longer feel the need to spent $10 every morning for café crème at Les Deux Magots.

My third favorite item is Eau de Bouche Botot, an herbal mouthwash invented in 1755 by Dr. Julien Botot for French King Louis XV. It's available at pharmacies and comes in small, old-fashioned-looking bottles for about $10 each. But the stuff is so intense that it takes only a few drops in a little water to make your mouth feel as fresh as gargling with uncut Listerine. Turns out, though, that Botot is made in Florence, Italy.