One of the things we talk about in the France Travel Planning Facebook group (you can join here if you aren’t a member) is shopping for souvenirs of France. Group members have plenty of great ideas for the best things to buy in Paris – and beyond. Based on ideas from the generous members of the group I’ve created this post on the best Parisian souvenirs and the best gifts from France. For more information on how to shop successfully in France, I recommend my French shopping etiquette post.

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Fantastic souvenirs of France: things to buy in Paris Le Bon Marche department store Paris showing escalators
Le Bon Marché

Best things to buy in Paris – and where to buy them

What to buy in Paris is obviously a very personal decision, depending on your taste, interests and budget. If you are like me and are a huge fan of one bag travel to Paris, it also depends on how much room you have in your suitcase.

While there are many souvenir shops in Paris (and street vendors for that matter too), I encourage you to cast your net wider, and think more laterally about things to buy from Paris.

The Ultimate Paris Address Book 2023 is your insider address book to Paris with 100pages and almost 500 listings of places to sleep, eat, shop and see.  Listed by arrondissement, and with a section at the back for your own special finds, The Ultimate Paris Address Book 2023 is the perfect accompaniment to a traditional guide book to plan your trip to Paris.  From where to find a charming country lane in the middle of Paris to the latest hip eatery​ in a fashionable arrondissement.  Each entry includes a website address or phone number as well as brief description of what to expect if you visit. Buy your copy now >>

Things to buy from Paris for your home

Homewares are a very popular souvenir from France. Linen tea towels are generally excellent quality and are widely available – as are napkins and other table linens. I find them an excellent choice for regional souvenirs as they are generally typical of the region and are easy to carry around on my travels. Bed linen is very good quality and is easy to take home.

Kitchen ware is another good option, although you may need to arrange to send your heavier or bulkier purchases home. The France Travel Planning Facebook group recommends Le Creuset and Laguiole cutlery as being excellent value in France, but cookware is generally popular. The best Paris kitchenware shop is undoubtedly the historic E. Dehillerin which stocks literally everything you could possibly want to cook with – even things you didn’t know you needed.

If a Le Creuset pot is a bit outside your budget hit the flea markets for antique cutlery and other kitchen ware at fantastic prices.

Are you planning a trip to France? My France Travel Planning Facebook group is a vibrant and friendly group where you can ask questions, learn from others and get great advice. You can join here >>

Art is always a popular France souvenir. In Paris, look out for reasonably priced prints in the antique shops of the passages and flea markets. French museums have excellent posters and other decorator items that are quite easy to take home.

Ceramics and china are a little trickier to take home, but can be picked up cheaply in flea markets. There are also a myriad of small designers and ateliers throughout city where you can pick up a small piece you definitely won’t find at home.

For homewares, and other very giftable goodies that are easy to take home, I love Marin Montagut’s eponymous shop just near the Luxembourg Gardens.

France Travel Planning tip

Paris souvenirs to wear

Going by group members, a scarf is definitely a popular thing to buy in Paris – and of course you can also buy them throughout France. The cheapest ones cost just a few Euros in a souvenir shop or market and make excellent gifts from Paris – just don’t expect them to be silk or made in France. For made in France products, hit Galeries Lafayettes for an excellent range of their own brand silk scarves.

Fantastic souvenirs of France: things to buy in Paris pair of black Roger Vivier black patent leather ballet flats with red Roger Vivier shoe box

Jewellery is another excellent choice if you aren’t sure what to buy from France, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Bypass the big haut jewelry brands of the Place Vendôme and head into the little shopping streets of the Marais and the 6th arrondissement for the best examples of very fine, pretty, French designed earrings, necklaces and bracelets.

If you are looking for children’s and baby wear look no further than Monoprix for very pretty, very French styles at great prices. Of course, if money is no object, you will want to hit the high end designers, or French label Bonpoint.

A designer handbag is certainly one of the great souvenirs of France. In the Facebook group, Louis Vuitton and Longchamps le pliage range seem to be the go to options for most high end handbags or purses. An expensive handbag, wallet or purse can be a good buy, especially if you do the VAT refund (you can read about how to get a VAT refund in Europe here.)

Fantastic souvenirs of France: things to buy in Paris facade of Ines de la Fressange boutique in Paris, classic Paris architecture in 7th arrondissement
I bought a rather excellent pair of sunglasses in Inès de la Fressange’s boutique last time I was in Paris. They also sell handbags, clothes, perfume and lovely notebooks

But if you want a French bag and don’t want to spend enough for a small car, don’t despair. There are plenty of other choices available. Inès de la Fressange sells a range of very covetable leather cross body bags in different sizes and colours. Jerome Dreyfuss is a French classic brand and Zadig & Voltaire sell clothes and accessories, including bags, for every would-be Paris “it girl”.

Souvenirs from Paris & France to eat

While food is a popular souvenir from Paris and France generally, it is essential you confirm what you can and cannot bring into your home country. Some countries will allow you to bring things like meat and cheese under certain conditions – including packaging and whether the milk used is pasteurized, so be very clear before you purchase. And obviously, always declare any food purchased if your home country’s Customs Service requires it.

France Travel Planning tip
Box of Ladurée macarons with Ladurée shopping bag

When it comes to food, the local supermarket can be your friend – pick up sel de Guérande, salad dressings, mustards, Provençale herbs, butter, cheese, jam, cookies/biscuits and olives and olive oil.

Hit the artisan food stores that dot most cities (even quite small towns will often have a specialist chocolate shop) for pâtes de fruits (sweet fruit jellies), macarons, and foie gras. The best places to buy food souvenirs from Paris are listed in my Ultimate Paris Address Book 2023 ebook. It is full of local artisan food shops, as well as visitor favorites. You can buy yours here >>

American Facebook group members tell me Nespresso coffee pods are around half the price American readers will find at home.

Best souvenir from Paris & France – some other choices

If you are looking for some different souvenirs of France, look out for store merchandise when you are in the large French department stores, but also other shops. Shakespeare & Co has a range of easy to take home merchandise, as does the well known eatery Les Deux Magots. I think Le Bon Marché has some of the smartest branded merchandise such as notebooks, shopping bags and even luggage tags. You can pick up a Le Bon Marché linen shopping tote for just a few Euros.

Outside Paris, keep an eye out for local items – most you won’t find elsewhere. In Provence, look out for santons (the local terracotta Christmas decoration), in Brittany Quimper ceramics are pretty and typical. In Alsace, the charmingly decorated ceramic cookware are the go tos. In northern France, it’s lace.

Souvenirs from France – skin care and pampering

French pharmacy brand skin care is very popular in the Facebook group. Nuxe, Caudalie, Yves Rocher, and La Roche Posay are all very popular brands. But don’t discount the large number of much smaller brands that often are designed to solve one particular skin problem. I particularly like A313 that has a texture like an ointment but which is a rich retinol cream.

While all French pharmacies will have some local skin care products, in Paris, head (early to avoid queues) to City Pharma for the best range, and English speaking staff to assist you with your purchases.

There are also many small skin care and perfume producers that you won’t find outside Paris. My ebook has an excellent selection.

The Ultimate Paris Address Book 2023 is your insider address book to Paris with 100pages and almost 500 listings of places to sleep, eat, shop and see.  Listed by arrondissement, and with a section at the back for your own special finds, The Ultimate Paris Address Book 2023 is the perfect accompaniment to a traditional guide book to plan your trip to Paris.  From where to find a charming country lane in the middle of Paris to the latest hip eatery​ in a fashionable arrondissement.  Each entry includes a website address or phone number as well as brief description of what to expect if you visit. Buy your copy now >>

What to buy from France for one bag travellers

While many of the items I’ve already suggested are excellent souvenirs of France for one bag travellers, I do have some other things to buy in Paris and beyond that are perfect for those of us who like to travel light.

Ballet flats – especially Repetto are a perfect choice. Ditch the shoe box, keep the shoe bag and they pack into almost nothing. And they are terribly French.

French lingerie is very different to what you may be able to buy at home. Even cheaper brands are very stylish and pretty. Sizing is different to what you will be used to at home, so do be ready to try on your choices. To be very French buy a matching set of bra and briefs.

I also like calendars and antique postcards. You can pick up antique postcards for as little as a Euro, so they are also an excellent budget option. And you can buy them at almost any weekend market throughout the country.

How to pay for your souvenirs of France

Yellow wallet with Euro notes of different denominations

Both Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted credit cards in France. American Express is fine for the big department stores, chains and high end shops, but is less widely accepted in smaller shops.

Make sure you check credit card fees for overseas purchases with your bank – they can be very expensive. You will need to pay a fee to use ATMs in France.

France Travel Planning tip

To avoid excessive overseas transaction fees I recommend a Wise card (previously known as a Transferwise card.) Wise card fees are very small and the card is very easy to use.

How to use a Wise card

Once you purchase your Wise debit card you can set up accounts in multiple currencies on the Wise app with just one touch. To load the card with money you simply transfer money into an account on the card on your home currency. This transaction is free, unless your own bank charges you a fee to transfer money to another domestic bank account – I found transferring money from my Australian bank account to my Australian Wise account was instantaneous.

The money can just sit in your Wise travel card account in your home currency until you elect to move it into your Euro account. Then you will subject to the exchange rate of the day. You pay a very small transaction fee to move the money into your Euro account. I also found this transfer occurred instantaneously when I transferred money into my Euro account. Before you transfer you will see the exact exchange rate and the fee payable. I have found the exchange rate extremely competitive.

Then when you want to use your Wise card it is exactly the same as any other card – tap and go, or chip and pin both work perfectly fine. At the ATM the only fee you will pay is the ATM fee.

You can obtain your Wise card here >>

My Ultimate Paris Address Book 2023 includes over 100 great shopping ideas for Paris. Whether you are shopping for children, looking for special to buy, Paris specialties or a fabulous pair of shoes, it has you covered:

The Ultimate Paris Address Book 2023 is your insider address book to Paris with 100pages and almost 500 listings of places to sleep, eat, shop and see.  Listed by arrondissement, and with a section at the back for your own special finds, The Ultimate Paris Address Book 2023 is the perfect accompaniment to a traditional guide book to plan your trip to Paris.  From where to find a charming country lane in the middle of Paris to the latest hip eatery​ in a fashionable arrondissement.  Each entry includes a website address or phone number as well as brief description of what to expect if you visit. Buy your copy now >>

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