How to Find Authentic French Souvenirs in Paris?
Having trouble finding a souvenir you desire? And an authentic one on top of it? Welcome to a huge club. Joking aside, as strange as the title of this article might seem, all passionate shopaholics know it for a fact. If you visit Paris, France (or any other destination, for that matter), it is natural that you would like to take home authentic french souvenirs to remind you of the place you visited. And finding one tends to be more difficult than it should be.
The global market has a huge impact in many areas, including the souvenir market in the French capital. More often than not, you are likely to lay hands on a Parisian souvenir made in China, for example. Yet, vendors selling items with the “Made in France” label still exist. And you are most likely to find them in nondescript places.
A short guide about souvenir hunt
You should be aware of one thing from the start. Souvenirs that resemble famous Parisian landmarks are almost 100% imported items. It really doesn’t matter whether you will purchase those in stores or from street vendors. The item in the shape of the Eiffel Tower with flashing LED lights, for example, is among the most imported souvenirs.
There is also a small matter of whether something is actually made or just assembled in France. Still, you have fair chances of finding an item that matches both features during your souvenir hunt. They could be fashionable goods or decorative commodities, as well as those that will delight your sense of taste or smell. In that regard, berets, scarves, macaroons (Laduree, Pierre Hermes…), wines and perfumes have much better chances to be authentic than many other products. Not to mention champagnes (Bollinger, Dom Perignon…) and cheeses (Roquefort, Camembert…), of course, if you don’t mind having a less durable souvenir.
A little longer guide about where to go to buy souvenirs
Now that we have sorted this out, it is time for taking action. The main rule is quite simple, and it says – “Most often, you will find an authentic French souvenir in low-profile shops and stores rather than in major ones.” Of course, it doesn’t stand for wines, perfumes and such commodities. Even Galleries Lafayette, one of the major department stores in the world, has a department selling products made in France.
Speaking of which, Galleries Lafayette’s Passion France is a section where you can find various goods, including souvenirs. Keychains, snow globes with Paris’s landmarks inside and magnets are some items on offer there. As for original French fashionable items, open your eyes for nondescript shops throughout the city. The Marais district, par example, tends to unearth a great deal of such stores.
Many people imagine Parisians always wearing berets. That’s far from the truth, but this head cover is nevertheless one of the most anticipated souvenirs for travelers. Gift shops are full of these commodities hauled from China. For an authentic French beret, get your bearings to the aforementioned Passion France. Prices are around 20€.
Scarves are other fashionable goods that could serve you well when you need warming or to appear elegant. And you can find them in many shapes and colors. Prices are widely different, depending on the material and thickness. They range from 20€ and 250€ (silk scarves), in general. There are sets including scarves and hats available, too.
Scented candles and sachets that exude romance make a fine addition to the collection of souvenirs from France to many people. One of the businesses for you to look after these goods is Kerzon. The price of their sachets is 9€, and names of some available lines are Parc Monceau, Jardin du Luxembourg and Place des Vosges. As for candles that have same names, the cost of these is 35€ per individual candles. The price of the set is 58€. For more affordable mini-candles (25€), visit Diptyque.
Gab & Jo is a concept store selling original French souvenirs and gifts. There, you may find a bag that matches your beret or scarf, for example. They also have various accessories on offer that will put you to sweet torments.
If you are after a piece of jewelry for a special occasion, check out Monsieur Simone. This store has its own workshop in the City of Light, which makes its products 100% made in Paris.
Where else to go for original French souvenirs?
Flea markets (Puces St.-Ouen, Les Puces de Montreuil, Porte de Vanves…) are other places where original French souvenirs may await you. They are full of various treasures in many forms. Flea markets are usually located out of touristy areas. Hence, they primarily cater to local people, which means that you don’t need to break a bank for purchasing a souvenir.