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April 3, 2022

The Best Souvenirs from France to Bring Home and Fall in Love With

Enjoy our inside guide to the best souvenirs from France to bring home and fall in love with. 

See also our guide to the perfect weekend in Paris, a 4 day Paris itinerary and a collection of the best hotels in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower here.

What to buy in France - the best souvenirs in France and the best souvenirs in Paris

Finding the best souvenirs in Paris...

The Best Souvenirs from France

Forget plastic Eiffel Towers and dubious berets. Let's talk about the best souvenirs from France, the ones that your friends and family want to receive and which you would like to keep for yourself.

Think fresh, creamy cheese and some of the best wine in the world. Imagine the soft lace of French lingerie, the fire of absinthe and the lavender-soaked bath products you can fill your suitcase. When it comes to what to buy in France (and what to bring home from France) a happy challenge awaits.

We're going to talk about the best souvenirs from Paris, as well as those from the rest of the country. With these unique souvenirs, you will have the perfect memory of your trip.

The best Paris souvenirs

What to buy in Paris

  • Cheese
  • Wine
  • Chocolate
  • French lingerie
  • Artwork
  • Fragrance
  • Something for your house
  • Something for your skin

The Best Foodie Souvenirs from France

Macarons a typical French souvenir

Macarons: a beautiful French souvenir

Macarons

Pastel pretty in pink, lemon, lavender and mint, nothing whispers sweet French chic like a well arranged set of macarons.

Like the shades they come in, they represent Paris at its rose-tinted best, all twinkling lights and dreamy riverside walks, wrapped up in an art deco version of an intoxicating moulin rouge.

Quernons d'Ardoise

Quernons d'Ardoise hail from the Anjou region in the Loire. They take their colour from the slate that decorates the castle and their insides from something altogether tastier: caramel, chocolate and nut

In essence, they're caramelized praline, coated with violet chocolate with chopped almonds and hazelnuts inside.

And they're absolutely gorgeous.

Roquefort Cheese

Pungent, creamy and salty with a sting, this blue cheese can only be made in the caves surrounding Roquefort itself. It's a tricky souvenir to bring home but it's just about possible if it's sealed and your journey is short. A padded cool bag may just help you along. And then, you will have a slice of the most famous French cheese to welcome you home.

Best souvenirs from France - herbes de provence

Bring home some herbs de Provence and bring home your holiday flavour...

Herbs de PRovence

Found across the south of France, these little sachets of dried herbs consist of basil, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary and tarragon. They are often sold in mini sack cloth bags, with paintings on the front. 

  • Where to buy them? Look out for farmers markets across France.

Basque peppers from Espelette

It's another niche food entry but the deep red pepper produced in the Basque region of Espelette furnishes a range of delicious (and not so delicious) French souvenirs. Look out for cherry-pepper wine, flavoured jamon, and of course the peppers themselves. As well as tourist paraphernalia in every pepper shape available. 

Madeleines

Hailing from the Lorraine region of France, these shell-shaped light sponges can truly melt in your mouth if they've been made right. 

  • Where to find them: Mesdemoiselles Madeleines, 37 rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris

Chocolat!

When it comes to chocolate, Paris does not mess around. Critic Mort Rosenblum described Jacques Génin's as "the best chocolatier in the world" and now his creations are available to take home. 

Hot chocolate and chestnut cream

Cafe Angelina has been sweetening the tastebuds of Parisans since 1903. Its signature product, the hot chocolate with chestnut cream, is also available to take home in a gift box set. Visit the Tuileries Cafe Angelina to find star-shaped tins of chocolate caramel and ginger candies too. 

Mustard

Today's Maille mustard may strut its seeds beneath the Unilever umbrella, but the original Maille mustard first appeared in Paris in 1723, in service to King Louis XV. At the time, mustard was recommended as a treatment for the plague but while that use has faded into the history books, the dijon style of mustard remains.

Foie Gras

While definitely a controversial product, foie gras from France is some of the silkiest and smoothest you'll find in the world.

France - Paris - Absinthe drink with watch

The Best Drinks to bring home from France

Absinthe

If I'm honest, I'll admit that I don't actually enjoy absinthe. Known as the "green fairy," you buy (and drink) it for its legendary status rather than because anyone actually likes it. 

It's supposed to have psychedelic properties and inspired the creatives in fin de siecle Paris into a whirl of Toulouse-Lautrec soaked Moulin Rouge expression.

To most of the rest of us, it simply results in a hangover. 

But hey ho. It's up to you!

Red wine from Bordeaux and St Emilion

Bordeaux and St Emilion are worth visiting for their natural beauty, strong sense of history and, well, wine. Set up some wine tasting sessions in St Emilion and you will be ruined for life. 

What to buy in France - champagne in Paris

Champagne. Paris. What's not to like?!

Champagne

Yes, the region of Champagne in France produces one or two bottles of bubbly that are worth bringing home. 

Do we really need to say more on the subject?!

Tea

Tea may seem a strange souvenir to bring back from France but the experience of shopping at Mariage Frères earns it a place on the list. With loose-leaf smoky tea stored in black and gold tins and ornate lettering, it's like visiting an artist's studio, all decked out in dry leaves. 

France Souvenirs for Your Home

Best souvenirs from France - vintage posters at the Bouquinistes

These bouquinistes are UNESCO approved...

Vintage books and postcards

The Bouqinistes, or vintage booksellers, along the banks of the Seine were recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. You'll find rows upon rows of secondhand books and vintage postcards, with prices ranging from a few centimes to expensive luxury gifts.

  • Where to buy in Paris - at the Bouqinistes from Quai de la Tournelle to Quai Voltaire

An Opinel French knife

The Opinel family have been handcrafting their knives from Savoie since the early 20th century and their pocket knives now have a reputation as being timeless family gifts. Just remember to check the rules and regulations for your journey home and definitely do not pack the knife in your hand luggage.

  • Where to buy the knife. You will find Opinel stores throughout Paris. 

Glassware from Cafe de Flor

The two main cafes on the corner of Saint Germain entertained all the top poets, philosophers and artists in their day. These days, they'd all be sat at home, sending whatsapp and Facebook messages. 

Cafe de Flore and Les Deux Magots can still offer an atmospheric, erudite experience, as long as you arrive early to beat the crowds. 

You can also now bring home Cafe de Flor glassware, to have the spirit of Sartre and Hemingway once you get home. 

Best souvenirs from France - lavender soap

Lavender Soap From Provence

Ah, Provence in southern France, where lavender bursts in purple fields and sunshine sifts through the breeze. You won't find that carefree, relaxed feeling in Paris but you can pick up the soap. 

You'll find numerous Occitane en Provence shops across the city centre but for less of a chain feel, head to Le Marais. Look for the deep blue shutters of the soap makers from Marseilles, lathering away here since 1900 and bringing you the essence of the French Riviera.

A Louis Vuitton Handbag

Founded in 1854, this French luxury fashion chain has produced one of the most famous logos in the world: just the simple V and L. 

Sure, you can now find Louis Vuitton products across the world but there's something to be said for buying a handback as a souvenir to take home from Pari. 

  • Where to go? Why the Louis Vuitton boutique on the Champs Elysées, of course!
Best place for souvenirs - Chanel on Rue de Faubourg Honoré Paris

One of the best souvenirs from France comes from Coco Chanel

French perfume

When shopping for French perfume, the answer has to be Chanel No 5. Designed by Coco Chanel, this fragrance has become one of the most famous in the world. And you can walk into the Chanel store on the classy Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré and buy a bottle of your very own.

  • Where to go? Chanel, 38 Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré

Antiques

As befits a country with thousands of years of recorded history, you will find plenty of antiques for sale in Paris and throughout France. It can be an uphill struggle to work out which are authentic, though. Still, if rifling through flea markets is your thing then you will be in paradise!


Bookmark this guide to the best souvenirs from France on Pinterest now and shop later!

What to buy in Paris - best souvenirs from France
What to bring home from France

The Best souvenirs from Paris with an artistic flourish

As you might expect with all those world class museums, you can find Paris souvenirs from all your favourite artists by shopping across the city or online. And if it feels a little too embarrassing to be so excited by a museum gift shop, say it in French. Les Boutiques de Musées. There. That sounds better, doesn't it? 

MINIATURE SCULPTURE OF THE KISS

Visit the Rodin Museum to find miniatures of the Kiss, reprints of drawings, stationery and more. 

PICASSO SOUVENIRS

Spanish artist Pablo Picasso spent time in Paris around the time of the second World War and the Picasso Museum justly celebrates his work. You can find Picasso dove tote bags, sketch notebooks and cushion covers at the Boutiques de Musées online store or visit the museum itself.

Art you can wear

Find beautiful jewellery in the Louvre Museum Gift shop, along with the expected reproduction art works and a beautiful book shop for both adults and children. 

France - Paris - Galeries Lafayette - Grand dome at Christmas shopping time great for Paris souvenirs

Shopping for Paris souvenirs at the iconic Galeries Lafayette

Where to buy souvenirs in Paris


Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen

As one of Europe's largest flea markets, Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen in the 18th arrondissement gives you plenty of space to rummage for a bargain. 

Search for antiques among the Parisian and worldwide restaurants and bring your own cash to avoid queues for the ATM. Use the Garibaldi Metro to avoid the crowds and don't touch anything unless you're ready to haggle. It's one of the few places in Paris where prices aren't fixed.


Boulevard Haussman and the Arcades

Indulge in a little Belle Epoque Parisian shopping by heading to Boulevard Haussman and relish the razzle dazzle displays of iconic giants Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.

Don't miss the covered arcades, which squeeze antique book shops between luxury boutiques and old fashioned toy shops. Galerie Vivienne is one of my favourites.


Champs-Élysses

Broad, tree lined and running straight from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de Concorde, the Champs Élysses is more than just a famous spot. Top designers base their flagship stores here and in parallel Rue St Honoré, with seasonal window displays to make even window shopping worthwhile.


Le Marais

An essential stopping point when shopping for Paris souvenirs, Le Marais winds narrow streets between havens for hand-crafted goods, concept stores and natural beauty products.

French Souvenirs for Fun

Ah, go on then. Let's have some fun with the following souvenirs from France. These Parisian souvenirs will mark you out as a tourist but is that all that bad?!

An Eiffel Tower Replica

Why now go all out and get one in a snow globe?! No expert knowledge required, simply walk along the banks of the Seine towards the tower itself and street vendors will approach you! Or, in fact, just about anywhere throughout Paris.

A Beret

So what if French people don't really wear berets? Buy a French beret, a bunch of flowers and a baguette and strut your stuff with the other instagrammers around the Eiffel Tower.

The best Paris souvenirs and the best souvenirs to bring back from France

Gifts from Paris

  • Cheese
  • Wine
  • Chocolate
  • French lingerie
  • Artwork
  • Fragrance
  • Antique book
  • Opinel knife
What to buy in France - shopping in Paris

Tips for Shopping in Paris

  • Expect some shops and stores to be closed on Sundays in Paris, although this tradition is starting to change.
  • Credit cards are widely accepted, although you may run into some issues with American Express. 
  • Always keep your receipt in case you need to exchange items later. 
  • You can try to barter with a very light touch at markets but not inside stores. 
  • Dress well for better service in the high-end stores and boutiques.

Tags

France, Paris


About the author

Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.

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  1. I’m not sure which I’d like to try first, the Quernon d’Ardoise or the macarons inspired by them! They both look so delicious…and I just love the slate color :-)

    1. Shhh…Well, a slight secret of mine. Macarons LOOK amazing. But they can sometimes taste a little…stale?! The Quernons d’Ardoise on the other hand…oooh, sheer pleasure!

      1. You are so right about the macarons. I’ve had a few stale ones on occasion :-( Now…where to find the Quernons d’Ardoise closer to home (Netherlands), until I get another chance to visit France ;-) ;-)

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