There is so much to see and do in Paris, but there is not a lot information on what to buy in Paris or the best souvenirs from France. While Paris is known for the Champs-Elysées and for its french wine, cheese and bread, there are also plenty of unique Paris souvenirs to buy on your vacation. Whether it is an Eiffel Tower statue miniature from a street vendor or a Mona Lisa postcard from the Louvre, keep reading for more ideas on what to buy in Paris and make the most of your vacation instead of trying to decide what to buy. This list will arm you with the best things to buy in Paris and you can buy them as you find them instead of not being sure if you will find something better and then wishing you had bought something you had seen the day before!
What to Buy in Paris: Best Souvenirs from France
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Eiffel Tower Statue
No visit to Paris is complete without at least a glimpse of le Tour Eiffel and a miniature replica is one of the best things to buy in Paris to take home as a gift or to display in your home. They vary in size, quality and price, you can get keychains for less than 1 Euro and can spend several dollars on larger replicas! They can be used on bookshelves, on an end table or as a small paperweight on a desk!
There are plenty of vendors who are walking around selling these statues and you can also find them in souvenir stands and gift shops all around the city!
One of the french stereotypes is that all Parisians wear berets. Perhaps they wear it with the mariners sweater as they paint their masterpieces by the Seine river? While not totally accurate, a beret will kick your fashion up a notch and looks great with most outfits! Most of the inexpensive ones that you will find in gift shops will be made in China, but you can slo check out boutiques that have locally made ones.
A Marinière is a long sleeved jersey that was originally worn by the French Marine. It was introduced to the fashion industry by Coco Chanel and other designers quickly followed! It has become an iconic image of a Parisian ever since and you will fit right in sporting one with your newly purchased beret.
French wine has to be one of the best souvenirs from Paris or anywhere in France for that matter. If you get a chance to get out of the city, make sure to visit some of the sprawling wineries that you will find all over the country.
Traveling with Wine? While one bottle may not put your luggage overweight, wine is not the easiest thing to transport back home. If you find a favourite, ask if it is available at the Duty Free at the airport and then grab it once you are past security! That way, you will not have to worry about oversight luggage from all of the other French souvenirs that you have bought nor have to worry about the liquid restrictions for carry on baggage.
Mille Bornes is a popular card game which is not easy to find! It was on my list of french souvenirs to pick up when I was road tripping France with my kids. It is a strategic game is involves driving, speed limits, and bumps along the road. If you want to pick one of the unique french souvenirs for kids, grab a copy of Mille Borne (you can always find english instructions online if the one you have doesn’t have english included).
If you are a fan of Vichy or Laroche Posay or high quality lotions and creams, do yourself a favour at stop into a Parisian Pharmacy. Their prices for these types of cosmetics can be a lot cheaper than at home! While they may not be a typical French souvenir, you will be happy I mentioned it!
Macarons are small pastries and contains a ganache in between the two biscuits. It is a favourite french dessert for most foreigners and you can even buy in at a McCafe in McDonalds! There are various colors and flavours and you can find small and large packages to bring home as a gift from Paris for your family and friends. Taking a macaron class is also one of the top things to do in Paris.
Mustard is one of the most used condiments in the world and it is something you should browse while in a French grocery store! While a lot of the products you find in French Grocery stores are not translated to english, look for Moutarde and its typical yellow colour and you will not have trouble finding it! There are so many types of mustard, try a few new ones while in Paris and you might come home with a new liking to something you hadn’t tried before.
Popular french sweets, like Haribo Tagada candies are one of the best gifts from Paris for kids! There are several other sweet treats at local grocery stores. Have a browse down the aisle and pick out a few to bring home. If you happen to find yourself in one of the hidden french passages, you might happen upon a sweet shop too!
If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth the Parisian way, check out these non-touristy things to do in Paris.
While this is probably not mentioned anywhere, but French Birthday cards and other cards are absolutely beautiful and are one of the best things to buy in Paris. Whether it is in a grocery store or a small shop, take a quick look at the carousel of cards and you are sure to find yourself some beautiful ones to bring home from your visit. They are also a lot cheaper than birthday cards from Hallmark!
Southern France is famous for it soaps and there are many different types and scents that you can buy when you are looking for things to buy in France. Le petit marseillais is a popular grocery store brand that you can pick up while you grab some groceries. These are one of the inexpensive gifts from Paris and are nice and small to bring back home.
Mickey Mouse Parisian Style
For Disneyland fans, a trip to Disneyland Paris is a must! The park is full of uniquely Parisian Disney souvenirs and you will be sure to find one as a keepsake from your visit! While Disneyland Paris is one of the typical things to do in Paris, you can also check out the less touristy things to do in Paris as well
Vegetable sponges are one of the most unusual and unique french souvenirs that I came across but once you try them, you will not go back to synthetic. They are vegetable based and proudly made in France. While you grab these in a French grocery store, also get a couple french dish towels or soaps!
Mona Lisa Postcard
After your visit to the pyramid shaped Louvre, grab yourself a postcard of the Mona Lisa at the gift shop before you leave. Postcards can be mailed home to family or fronds (or even to yourself, I started doing this with my kids until one tok 9 months from Jordan to get to Canada, but from France it should get to its destination in a week or two). While the Mona Lisa cannot be a souvenir for anyone, a postcard is one of the cheap things to buy in Paris.
Candles may not be the first thing you think of when you are looking for things to buy in Paris. But French candles are growing in popularity as french souvenirs to bring back home from your vacation.
Museum Entry Tickets and Metro Passes
After visiting the Louvre or traveling on the Metro, keep your ticket stubs. These make the best souvenirs from Paris and take up no room in your suitcase! While we are all bad at printing photos these become a tangible souvenir from your visit and can line the back of a shadow box or be pasted into a journal or put on the fridge.
While its neighbour across the pond is more famous for tea, my ABSOLUTE favourite tea in the world can only be bought in French packaging! I will give away the secret, it is french Twinnings Vanilla Tea! While not the ONLY tea you should buy in France, try some of the amazing tea’s in france and bring a few back home from your vacation.
Bouquins of Paris (Booksellers of Antiquarian Books) along the Seine
While walking along the Seine, you cannot miss the Bouquinistes of Paris. They were registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011 and they sell used books and postcards. While browsing through the stacks, you are sure to find the perfect one and they make the best unique gifts from Paris. While they are not shiny and new, they come with character and a story.
When you think of what to buy in Paris, or what to buy in France, cheese is probably what you think of, after wine of course. Many fromageries offer vacuum packed hard cheeses, which can be transported back home. If you do not have a long journey, most cheeses in your suitcase with a cooler bag should be ok.
Tips for Souvenir shopping at Monoprix
Monoprix is a popular place to pick up some of the best French souvenirs. It reminds me of a Walmart or Target and has not only groceries but also clothing, electronics and other accessories.
We bought the kids a new toy to keep them occupied on our Road Trip and I also stoked up on some great and inexpensive kids clothing. They also carry the popular “squeeze your old orange juice” station that is so popular in French grocery stores, typical grocery store items as well as some Parisian souvenirs!
While wandering on a Paris walking tour, you are likely to find other unique Parisian souvenirs.
Want to read more about our time in Paris? You can see my rant about Toilets in Paris in this post.
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Lindsay is the founder and editor of Carpe Diem OUR Way. She is passionate about sharing her experiences of traveling with children on adventurous family holidays around the world! She resides in the suburbs of Vancouver when not jet setting abroad.