A 'gift' in France is called a donation, and French 'gifts tax' the droits de donation.
The definition of a ‘gift’ for the purposes of the tax excludes those gifts which may ordinarily be made in the course of daily life.
So, for instance, wedding and birthday gifts do not come within the gaze of the French tax authorities, provided the gift is reasonable by the living standards of the donor.
A gift may be in the form of cash, but it may equally take the form of the transfer of real estate, e.g. transfer of all or part of the family home to your children.
A gift may also be made manually, or via the auspices of a notaire, which is always required where real estate is being transferred.
As there is no inheritance tax between married couples or those in a civil partnership, and with reasonable inheritance tax allowances for children, the use of gifts as a tax planning strategy is probably only of importance to those with substantial wealth or who do not benefit from the above concessions.
That said, the reasonably generous allowances under French inheritance tax contrasts with the entrenched rights of children under French inheritance laws, so the use of gifts remains important for those who wish to obtain greater freedom in the disposal of their estate.