The Best Souvenirs from Paris: Unique and Authentic Picks

paris-souvenirs-cover

Whether you’re collecting travel keepsakes throughout your trip, or shopping for last-minute Paris souvenirs, finding something unique that you can’t get back home can be quite a challenge these days. Anyone who’s visited Paris has seen the stalls full of cheap tchotchkes that surround the Notre Dame, but you’d be better served to avoid these, and instead look for quality products that reflect the hard work and craftsmanship of true local artisans.

So we’ve compiled a list of items far more interesting than typical souvenir-shop memorabilia, which will take you on a unique souvenir shopping trip through the streets of Paris. The best part is that these gift ideas are mostly affordable, and way more interesting than an Eiffel Tower scarf or magnet. And, more than that, you definitely can’t get any of these items (within easy access) Stateside.

Tips for Shopping in Paris

While shopping in Paris, it can be easy to get distracted by the many prestige French brands being showcased in high-end shops in the city center. Buying bags or clothes from these brands in Paris often means avoiding the import taxes you would have to pay if you bought them in the U.S., but you must consider whether they are worth the suitcase space and what your shopping priorities are. Still, if you have a favorite brand, you can often find exclusives and items in France that may not be available back home.

On the other end of the spectrum, you want to avoid the trap of buying generic, mass-produced souvenirs. Instead, support local artisans by purchasing handmade items that reflect the true culture and artistry of the area. Research unique local products beforehand, and explore local markets, vintage shops, and flea markets for one-of-a-kind finds. Look for city-exclusive items, even from well-known brands, and choose practical souvenirs you’ll use and enjoy long after your trip. Ask locals for recommendations to discover hidden gems, and be wary of stores selling Eiffel Tower keychains, berets, postcards and Paris-themed apparel. Instead, opt for eco-friendly souvenirs to minimize environmental impact, and select items that reflect your personal experiences and memories from the trip. This way, your souvenirs will be unique, meaningful, and supportive of the local culture and economy.

Where to Find These Souvenirs 

The special aspect of Parisian shopping that still perseveres is the culture of hole-in-the-wall boutiques and specialized stores in the Marais, Haute Marais, Canal Saint-Martin, and other local neighborhoods. Try to avoid traditional souvenir shops and department stores. Instead, take a gamble on small, independent shops; you might discover a treasure worth keeping for a long time. By doing so, you’ll also be supporting small businesses and their creativity. A recent opening that exemplifies this charm is Vanessa Grall’s boutique, Messy Nessy’s Cabinet, featuring items from small producers focused on their craft.

Paris is also full of markets, vintage shops, street markets, and les puces (flea markets). Here, you’re sure to find one-of-a-kind treasures that reflect the true essence of Parisian style and culture. And just like that, you’ll really be bringing back home a piece of Paris. 

Gourmet Treats

Poilâne Biscuits Cookie Tin

Poilane cookie tin
Courtesy of Poilâne.

Poilâne is the royalty of French bread and biscuits, and while bringing a loaf of bread back home might be a bit impractical, they also sell cookies in charming cardboard boxes and adorable tins. Once you’ve enjoyed the cookies, the tin can be repurposed as a jewelry box or something meaningful to you. — Stop by the boulangerie at 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. 

L’ Éclair de Génie Billes Gaufrettes Chocolat Lait Caramel

L' Éclair de Génie chocolate

There’s no one like Christophe Adam when it comes to éclairs—a true delight to the palate, and highly recommended for an afternoon goûter. But if you’d like to take something home from L’Éclair de Génie, consider a jar of milk chocolate and caramel balls. They might sound simple, but these treats are explosions of flavor and texture. Enjoy them with your morning coffee while you reminisce about your days in Paris. — Stop by the pastry boutique at 14 rue Pavée in the Marais.

La Chambre aux Confitures Jam

La Chambre aux Confitures jam set.
Courtesy of La Chambre aux Confitures.

French preserves are always a great gift for anyone with a sweet tooth. La Chambre aux Confitures, an all-French jam brand, even serves the Élysée Palace. If it’s good enough for the French president, it’s good enough for us! The framboise royale is a true cult favorite, but all are delightful indulgences, and you definitely can’t find them at your hometown corner store.  — Get yours online at the brand boutiques and grocery stores.

Compagnie & Co Tea

Black tea from Paris
Courtesy of Compagnie & Co.

Founded by the Meric family in Paris, Compagnie & Co is France’s oldest tea brand. The company established its iconic store at 19 Avenue de l’Opéra, a location that became synonymous with the brand for many years. Today, their exquisite teas are available in select specialty stores, including La Grande Épicerie de Paris. Fun fact: while black tea remains the most popular choice in France, Compagnie & Co offers a diverse range of flavors, including variations of green and herbal teas, as well as rooibos and white tea. — Get yours at La Grande Épicerie de Paris.

E. DEHILLERIN Kitchen Supplies

Crepe pan
Courtesy of E. Dehillerin

E. Dehillerin is a unique destination for baking utensils due to its rich history and professional products. Established in 1820, this Parisian institution offers an extensive range of high-quality kitchen tools trusted by both amateur and professional chefs. The store’s vintage charm, expert staff, and reputation among culinary legends work together to create a nostalgic and personalized shopping experience. Unique items found here include hand-crafted copper cookware, specialty knives, intricate pastry tools, traditional French utensils, vintage kitchenware, professional-grade equipment, and custom-made items, making it a treasure trove for those seeking exceptional and hard-to-find kitchen tools. But even if you aren’t a Michelin-grade chef, you’ll appreciate one of their authentic crêpe pans in black steel for just €12.72. — Stop by the boutique at 18-20 Rue Coquillière in the first arrondissement. 

Fashion and Accessories

Paris Hotel Tote Bag

Orso Hotels Paris tote bag with monuments.

In Paris, tote bags are a major fashion statement, but avoid getting yours from a sidestreet souvenir store. Instead, bring one home from your hotel. Most modern hotels will either gift or sell tote bags with their branding. This makes for an excellent souvenir to bring home and use as reusable shopping bags. Hôtel Rochechouart (and all the Orso group hotels), The Hoxton Paris, The Westin Paris-Vendôme, and select others offer particularly stylish options.

One-of-a-kind Jewelry

Necklace from Chichi Catselnango.

Tiny Parisian jewelry shops hold a world of accessory treasures that always make for good keepsakes. Just keep your eye on the lookout for these stores — there are a few! Popular options include Lõu Yetu (12 rue Volney, 75002) and Les Fleurs (6 Passage Josset, 75011). This is one of the best Paris souvenirs, and it won’t take up any space in your luggage.

Maison Labiche Embroidered Shirt

Maison Labiche Breton embroidered shirt.
Courtesy of Maison Labiche

We’re allowed at least one French culture stereotype, so we’ll take the Breton striped shirt, or marinière as it is known in French. At Maison Labiche you can buy an adorably embroidered piece of clothing, or even customize a shirt to say whatever you’d like. — Stop by the boutique on 105 Rue Vieille du Temple. 

Alexandre de Paris Hair Accessories

Alexandre de Paris hair clip.

In case you haven’t heard, claw clips, barrettes, and hair accessories are all the rage (even the French girls are wearing them), and Alexandre de Paris is the best place to get them. They make the perfect souvenir from Paris for your fashionable friend, or even as your own chic reminder from your trip. — Try them on at the boutique at 342 Rue Saint-Honoré in the first arrondissement. 

Vintage Couture

Color-coded vintage store.

Paris is a cabinet of curiosities for modern and vintage fashion, and its array of vintage stores is an absolute dreamland. Find a Chanel top or a Céline belt for a fraction of the price at stores like Thanx God I’m a V.I.P. and other Paris thrift shops. If there is going to be a souvenir that transcends time, it is sure to be that one unique piece you got in Paris at a little vintage shop. — Thanx God I’m a V.I.P. is located at 12 Rue de Lancry. 

Home Decor

Candles from Le Comptoir de la Bougie

French candle in black tin.
Courtesy of Le Comptoir de la Bougie

If you can find this 12€ candle, you’re sure to get a better scent than even the fancy-pants brands boast. The Jardin Imperial is a heartbreaker. You’re likely to find it in curated souvenir stores, or even at Monoprix. These not-so-bougie bougies are also available on French Amazon.

Café Kitsuné Cups

Paris Cafe Kitsune coffee mug.
Courtesy of Café Kitsuné

Café Kitsuné is not only the Franco-Japanese fashion brand’s chic caffeinated spot in three Parisian locations, it also the original shop that allows you to take a bit of Paris home by purchasing minimalist coffee mugs. — Locations available here.

Fleux Home Trinkets

Flower and home decor.

Paris’s most interesting home decor store is the Marais’ Fleux, where a vase is never just a vase, and you can purchase a giant paper butterfly to hang on your wall. Decorating your home with souvenirs is a good way not to let go of the memories, so pack some bubble wrap and stop by this chic shop. — 52 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004

Au Bain Marie Tableware

Au Bain Marie
Courtesy of AU BAIN MARIE. © Julio Piatti

Setting the table is all the more fun and chic with Au Bain Marie, a hidden gem on rue de l’Université in the Latin Quarter. This charming shop brims with unique tableware and entertaining essentials, including antique silver ice buckets, cutlery, and crystal decanters. The true highlights, however, are the hand-painted majolica and porcelain dishes crafted by owner Aude Clément, renowned for designing tablescapes for prestigious clients like the French embassy.

Eau de Paris

Eau de Paris Seine water souvenirCourtesy of Messy Nessy’s Cabinet.

There are typical souvenirs from Paris, and then there’s Eau de Paris by Messy Nessy Cabinet—bottled Seine water. Get this for your Wes Anderson-type friend who’s always interested in something a bit different. It’s sure to get a chuckle, and makes a perfect decor piece for the shelf. Just remember, as the label says—please don’t drink it. — Find this product at the boutique at 19 Rue de Bièvre in the Latin Quarter. 

Art and Books

Vintage Art

For affordable vintage art in Paris, explore the city’s flea markets such as the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, Marché aux Puces de Vanves, and Les Puces de Montreuil, where you can find a range of vintage items including artwork. Additionally, Rue de la Grange aux Belles in the 10th arrondissement offers small shops with affordable art, and Emmaüs Paris charity shops provide budget-friendly options. The Drouot Auction House hosts regular sales with competitive prices, and neighborhood garage sales, or Vide-Greniers, are excellent for unique finds.

Vintage magazines from La Galcante

Book and magazine store.

La Galcante, located just beyond the the Louvre museum, is a treasure trove of magazines, books, and newspapers ranging across topics and decades. A vintage magazine from a birth year or on a topic close to the heart can make a great piece of art to treasure forever, and it will only cost you a few bucks. — 52 Rue de l’Arbre Sec, 75001

Second-hand Books from the Bouquinistes

Discover the charm of Paris by buying second-hand books from the bouquinistes along the Seine. These iconic riverside stalls offer a treasure trove of vintage books, rare finds, and literary classics. It’s the perfect way to bring a piece of Parisian history and culture home with you. They also often offer vintage prints and posters at reasonable prices.— Located along the Seine, mostly near the Notre Dame.

Monthly Vogue Cover from Your Trip

Vogue France Lilly Collins cover.

You may not have heard, but Vogue covers are also cultural currency and a reflection of our times. Picking up the monthly Vogue France (formerly Vogue Paris) is a great way to remember your trip, especially if Lily Collins is on the cover! You can even frame it to recall exactly when you were in Paris. Plus, it’s an excellent way to practice your French reading and comprehension.

Beauty and Fragrance

Sisley Paris Velvet Sleeping Mask

Sisley paris sleeping mask. Courtesy of Sisley Paris.

Your skin will thank you for this one! This Sisley Paris overnight deep hydration mask is pure blis,s and will leave your skin looking plump and revived. Scented with saffron flowers, this skincare pick-me-up is an absolute must-pick-up when in Paris, whether for yourself, or as a lavish gift for someone you care about. — Pick yours up at one of the Sisley Paris boutiques. 

Violette_FR Red Lipstick

makeup mirror
Courtesy of Violette_FR.

No outfit is complete without a classic Parisian red lip, and Violette_FR, one of the original beauty influencers from Paris, makes the best one. Now an international brand, Violette_FR is a must-have for all your lipstick needs. Wear it boldly as you reminisce about your trip to Paris. For a specialty experience, visit Le Bon Marché, where brand reps will help you choose the perfect lipstick, blush, and even eyeliner. While you’re there, pick up a chic Objet de Réflexion purse mirror for an added touch of elegance.

Bourjois Marscara & Lipocils Enhancer

Enhanced natural beauty is very important to Parisians, and mascara is the secret weapon in every Parisienne’s no-makeup-makeup look. So, what brands are they wearing? While some may opt for the big-name brands, the word on the street is that Bourjois mascara is just as good as Chanel! And for those looking to keep their eyelashes healthy, the Talika Lipocils Expert Eyelash Serum is a must-have too. — Pick up at any pharmacy. 

Algologie Elixir De La PRESQU’ILE – Global Anti-Aging Radiance Serum

face serum
Courtesy of Algologie

The French are masters at aging gracefully, thanks in part to a few magical potions you can only find in Paris. This Algologie serum features exceptional marine care, inspired by the science of skin stem cells. Infused with pro-regenerating algae and light boosters, it corrects all signs of aging. Let your skin stay as vibrant as your memories of Paris.  — Find it at most Parisian pharmacies. 

Roger & Gallet Wellbeing Spray

You can find plenty of French perfume in Paris, but most are now available worldwide. However, Roger & Gallet Wellbeing Spray is an exception! This fig blossom concoction by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian invites you to simply slow down. Enriched with natural fig extract and its relaxing properties, this iconic fragrance unfolds with the freshness of juicy citrus fruits. — Boutique located at 195 Rue Saint-Honoré in the 1st arrondissement. 

FAQs – Paris Souvenirs

What are some things to consider when buying souvenirs in Paris?

When buying souvenirs in Paris, choose authentic, locally-made items that reflect the city’s culture. Avoid mass-produced trinkets and look for artisanal goods, like handmade jewelry, local food products, or vintage finds from markets. Visit small boutiques to support local artisans and pick practical, unique items you’ll cherish.

Where are some good places to find unique souvenirs in Paris?

For unique souvenirs in Paris, explore Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, a renowned flea market with vintage treasures, or the charming boutiques of the Marais district, offering handmade jewelry and local art. Literary enthusiasts will love Shakespeare and Company, a historic bookstore. Culinary fans should visit E. Dehillerin for top-notch kitchenware, and the Marché aux Fleurs for botanical items. These spots provide memorable and authentic Parisian keepsakes.

Where can I find the best vintage magazines in Paris?

La Galcante has the best collection of vintage magazines in Paris, France. 

Are there any restrictions on what I can bring back from Paris?

Yes, there are restrictions on what you can bring back from Paris. Be aware of customs regulations, which may prohibit you to travel with certain foods, plants, and animal products. Additionally, expensive purchases like alcohol and tobacco may have quantity limits and require declarations. Always check the specific guidelines of your home country before bringing souvenirs back to avoid any issues.

Is it safe to use my credit card in Paris?

Yes, it is generally safe to use your credit card in Paris. However, be sure to use secure ATMs, avoid sharing your PIN, and monitor your statements for any unauthorized charges.

How can I ensure the souvenirs I buy are authentic?

To ensure the souvenirs you buy are authentic, shop at reputable stores, markets, and boutiques, and look for items made by local artisans. Avoid mass-produced goods and ask about the origin of the products.

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