Paris is known as the City of Lights, the City of Love and the Fashion Capital of the World, but what are the best ways to remember your trip to the French capital? My list of the best souvenirs from Paris are a great place to start, allowing you to take home great memories from the city.
Paris is understandably one of the most popular destinations in the world. It has so much to offer from fashion shows to iconic landmarks, and incredible food, museums, theatre, shopping and much more. As a big city that’s at the centre of so much action, whether or not you end up falling in love with Paris – everyone can agree it’s an unforgettable and unique city.
If like me, you did fall in love with Paris, you’ll no doubt want to take home something to remember it by. Shopping in Paris is something lots of people fantasise about, from meandering around the art-soaked lanes or strolling down the avenue of Champs-Élysées. You’ll find everything from designer stores in Paris to independent boutiques in the fashion capital.
Although shopping is a lot of fun here, knowing where to get the best souvenirs from Paris is a great time-saver. It ensures you spend time exploring the city to the fullest and don’t miss out on anything while you’re there. This list covers lots of ideas on what to buy in Paris, whether it’s a keepsake for yourself or loved one back home.
12 Top Souvenirs in Paris to Buy
Whether you’re looking for something for yourself or a gift for someone else, I’ve found the best Paris souvenirs to remember the city by.
1. Eiffel Tower miniatures
Miniature Eiffel Towers are an obvious choice, but it’s because it’s such an iconic landmark. If you were asked to list ten landmarks from countries around the world, the Eiffel Tower would most likely be on there. So it makes sense that one of the best souvenirs is a travel-friendly replica of it.
You’ll probably find a mini Eiffel Tower at lots of vendors close to the real tower. As well as souvenir shops, there are lots of people selling them on the street too.
2. Macarons from Ladurée
These delicate, pastel-coloured pastries are a Parisian delicacy. Housed in ornate boxes, they’re as delightful to look at as they are to eat. Flavours range from raspberry to salted caramel to lavender, and they also do vegan macarons. You could look online to see pre-choose flavours as there are so many to try!
Ladurée sell macarons in gift boxes that range in sizes and colours, which are an ideal souvenir idea if you’re trying to find a gift for someone. Or something to cheer yourself up with the night you get back home from Paris. You can create your own hamper or get a pre-assorted selection.
3. French perfume
Paris is synonymous with high-end perfumery. Walking around the city, you can just picture Keira Knightley spraying her Coco Mademoiselle and then riding off on a motorbike around the streets of Paris.
Brands such as Chanel, Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent have their roots here, so there’s a wide choice of perfumes to pick from. They’re not necessarily cheaper than buying them elsewhere, but there’s just something nice about the idea of buying your perfume from Paris.
4. Vintage posters
For those looking for artistic souvenirs from Paris, vintage posters from Montmartre’s art stalls are ideal. Whether it’s a classic French film poster or an advertisement for Orangina, they’re an evocative slice of Parisian history.
The style comes from the late 19th century, which used lithography, a printing method that came into vogue during this period. Artists could use this style to multi-coloured artwork in large quantities, leading to a revolution in printing that transformed the streets of Paris into open-air museums.
They’re great for showcasing Paris’ bohemian side, featuring everything from the cabarets of Montmartre, like the Moulin Rouge, to the latest brands of French wine or Parisian circuses. You can wander around the bouquinistes (riverside booksellers) to find some too.
5. French wine or champagne
Although Paris isn’t generally the first place in France people think of for wine (it’s usually more like Bordeaux, Provence or Champagne), it has a history of wine production. In fact, the Romans built a temple in Montemarte to Bacchus, the god of wine and agriculture.
The Paris region still produces lots of wine, however you’ll find lots of different brands made throughout the country available. Taking a bottle of French wine or champagne home makes for such a nice treat when you’re no longer in Paris. Or, it’s a good gift idea if you’re looking for the best souvenirs from Paris for family or friends.
6. Marinière (a striped shirt)
This classic French shirt is not only fashionable but also emblematic of French culture. Traditionally blue and white, it’s a versatile piece that evokes memories of the Seine and the city’s chic sense of style.
Just think about those Jean Paul Gautier aftershave ads and you’ll be able to picture a marinière. Or Coco Chanel’s editorial adverts. Although they originate in Brittany, they’re still associated with French fashion generally.
7. Books from Shakespeare and Company
This iconic English-language bookstore was originally established in 1919 by Sylvia Beach. It was a hub for eminent writers like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Though it faced closure during World War II, George Whitman revived it in 1951 with a new store on the Left Bank, maintaining its legacy as a sanctuary for writers and literary events. Today you can visit its huge collection of works, as well as its cafe next door.
It’s a perfect place to pick up a Parisian souvenir. It’s historic in the world of literature, meaning you’ll have a great story to tell about your book. The books are usually stamped with their logo too, making them even more special. If you’re wondering what to buy in Paris, a book from here is a great shout.
The quintessential French hat! Stylish and iconic, a beret is an accessory that immediately screams ‘Paris’.
I’m not necessarily advising you to wear one there as wearing a béret with your camera out and your backpack and map just screams tourist. But buying one as a souvenir is a good idea.
9. French skincare and cosmetics
Brands like Caudalie, Bioderma, and La Roche-Posay are just a few examples of what France offers in terms of skincare. Or there’s also designer brands that do makeup lines too like Chanel and Dior. There’s also Guerlain, Yves Saint Laurent, and Lancôme to choose from too.
Updating your skincare or makeup bag is a nice souvenir from Paris that can actually be useful. Or it can make a nice gift too (depending how much you want to spend as Parisian beauty is chic but not that cheap!).
10. Opinel pocket knife
The Opinel knife traces its origins to the late 19th century. It was actually created in the French Alps, but can be found in cities like Paris today. It’s a traditional pocket knife, with a wooden handle usually made from beech or oak wood, and a stainless steel blade. It usually has a Virobloc safety ring too which locks the blade in an open or close position.
They’re quite lightweight and simple but stylish, which is why they can make for the best souvenirs from Paris. They’re actually historic too, seen as a peasant’s tool that now represents French design and you can see them on show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
11. Stationery from Papier Tigre
For lovers of quality stationery, Papier Tigre in the Marais district offers notebooks, postcards, and more – each infused with French design aesthetics. You can tell it’s good quality too by details like the weight of the paper, the finish of a notebook’s binding, and even the vibrancy of the inks used.
12. Parisian chocolates
French chocolate is just delicious. The French always seem to showcase passion, elegance, sophistication, beauty and more, and this extends to their chocolates. Some of the most celebrated chocolatiers are Patrick Roger and La Maison du Chocolat. Patrick Roger, often dubbed as the ‘Rodin of Chocolate’, crafts his chocolates as a sculptor would, moulding unique textures and tastes, turning each piece into an edible masterpiece.
On the other hand, La Maison du Chocolat, a revered institution since its inception in 1977, is known for velvety ganaches and refined pralines. They have bitter undertones of dark cacao and delicate infusions of fruits, nuts, and spices. A visit to Paris is incomplete without indulging in these chocolatiers’ selections, and they make for the best souvenirs from the city.
Tips for buying souvenirs from Paris
Choosing from the best souvenirs from Paris means you have to make some choices when it comes to occupying space in your luggage, budget and time to go shopping for them. So here are some tips on how to find them quickly and efficiently.
While the city’s avenues and alleys brim with items that scream ‘tourist’, it’s essential to sift through and prioritise authenticity. Instead of being lured by all the typical trinkets, delve deeper into local artisans’ boutiques, perhaps in the charming Marais district or the bohemian streets of Montmartre, to find the best keepsakes.
Although Paris has a reputation for luxury, it’s crucial to manage your budget. That being said, don’t overlook the delectable realm of edible mementos—macarons, fine wines, or pungent cheeses, but always be aware of travel storage and customs regulations.
It’s also great to ask around. Parisians, with their innate flair for elegance, often know hidden gems off the tourist track. These might end up being cheaper too! If you’re really trying to keep your budget down, read my list of the best free things to do in Paris.
Quicklist of the top souvenirs from Paris to take home
- Eiffel Tower miniatures
- Macarons from Ladurée
- French perfume
- Vintage posters
- French wine or champagne
- Marinière (a striped shirt)
- Books from Shakespeare and Company
- French skincare and cosmetics
- Opinel pocket knife
- Stationery from Papier Tigre
- Parisian chocolates
What is the best thing to bring back from Paris?
The best thing to bring back from Paris will depend on what kind of things you’re into, but universally-acclaimed souvenirs include French macarons, quality wines, artisanal cheeses, and Parisian fashion.
What things are cheaper to buy in Paris?
Several items are notably less expensive or of superior value in Paris compared to other destinations. These include French wines, especially when purchased directly from wine shops; certain French skincare and beauty products, due to the absence of import duties; locally-made fashion accessories, and some cheeses and pastries, considering their authenticity and freshness.
What are the best luxury souvenirs to buy from Paris?
For those with a penchant for luxury, Paris offers an array of exquisite items. High-end fashion brands like Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton present exclusive collections. Additionally, luxury perfumes from houses like Guerlain or Hermès, fine jewellery from places like Cartier or Boucheron, and artisanal chocolates from elite chocolatiers such as Patrick Roger or La Maison du Chocolat make for opulent souvenirs.
What are the cheapest souvenirs to buy from Paris?
Paris offers a range of affordable mementoes for travellers on a budget. Classic options include Eiffel Tower keychains, postcards featuring iconic Parisian landmarks, berets, and Paris-themed tote bags. Additionally, browsing the bouquinistes (riverside booksellers) can lead to affordable vintage books or prints. Remember, the sentiment attached to a souvenir often outweighs its monetary value.