France, the land of chivalry and love, the land of love and light, the land of culture and cuisine, the land of fashion and fairytales, the land of Paris and Nice, the land of politics and wine. There are so many reasons to visit, and so many things to do when you do visit.
And of course, there are a zillion posts on what to see and do in France when you visit. But what do you take home from this land of elegance and romance? Or what do you buy for your relatives when you go back home from France?
We asked a lot of well-traveled bloggers these questions, and here are their suggestions for what souvenirs to buy on your travels through France.
1. Bottle Opener magnet
I only spent a little while in France although I wanted to stay a lot longer. My sis Abby though spent much more time there than I did, and the souvenir she brought back for me was a fridge magnet shaped like a bottle opener.
This one was perfect because she actually gave it to me to replace the one from Kenya that she broke. I’ll tell you about that in another story though.
What’s also perfect about this bottle opener is that it has a few popular Parisian monuments on it, to remind me about why I want to go back.
Way back when sis got this France magnet for me, it cost hardly Euro 1, but even if you pay more, it’s a fun souvenir to remind you of your time in France.
By Sarah from Abby’s Hearth
France is famous for its cuisine and culinary ingredients, in particular, wine, cheese and chocolates! It boasts over 1000 types of cheese, and a small wheel of French cheese would make the perfect souvenir if you’re a foodie! You’ll be able to bring home a unique type of cheese that you would never be able to find in your home country!
For the best quality cheese, make sure it comes with the designation “AOC” or “AOP”. (AOC refers to “Appellation d’origins Controlee” i.e. Controlled Designation of Origin.
For such foods, the ingredients, production method and origin of the food are all specified. AOP is similar to AOC but is an European designation that stands for “Appellation d’origins Protegee” (Protected Designation of Origin.)
Alternatively, if your country does not allow you to bring in fresh food, you could treat yourself to a French cookbook so that you can re-create the meals you and in France!
By Zhen from A Love Letter To Asia
3. Lavender Soap
When visiting France, it’s hard to know what souvenirs to buy that won’t take up too much room in your suitcase. Fortunately, there is one perfect choice that is both lightweight and budget-friendly: lavender soap!
Not only is this soap easy to find no matter where you are in France, but the smell will make you feel like part of the French countryside. If you get a chance, rent a car and explore the lavender fields during your trip!
This soap is also made from natural ingredients, so it’s gentle and great for your skin. Plus, the delicate lavender scent isn’t overpowering.
So if you’re looking for something special to take home from your trip to France, consider picking up a bar of lavender soap. Not only will it remind you of your wonderful time in France every time you use it, but it’s sure to make an amazing gift for your friends.
By Lowri from Many Other Roads
Is there really anything more French than Champagne? France is renowned for its Champagne — it’s a legally protected and geographically created product; it can only be produced in the Champagne region of France (if you find it from any other country, it’s a fraud). This exclusive designation ensures that only wine in this region is labeled Champagne.
When you’re considering which brand to choose, consider one of the popular options like Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouët, and Veuve Clicquot as they are all vegan-friendly, meaning that they don’t clarify the wine with any animal products — it’s the perfect gift for a vegan friend!
Given that, how can you not bring back a bottle or two as a souvenir or a gift?
By Rebecca from Veggies Abroad
Did you know that France is the second-largest wine producer in the world (after Italy?) And did you know that they’re also the second-largest wine consumers in the world (after the US)?
With that much wine going around the country, it should come as no surprise that French wine is among one of the best-rated across the globe.
So if you’re looking for a souvenir that will transport you back to the land of baguettes, croissants, and cheese, or if you need a gift for a drinker at home, a bottle of wine is perfect!
And the best part?
If you buy directly from a vineyard, you get to visit (and taste wines from) one of the many vineyards in the country! Turning this souvenir into an unforgettable experience of your France trip.
By Lara from Both Feet On The Road
If you’re looking for a delicious French treat to bring home as a souvenir, you can’t go wrong with canele. Canele originates from Bordeaux, a city in southwestern France.
These little pastries are a popular treat in France and can be found in bakeries and cafes all over the country. They have a crisp outer layer and soft, custardy centre, which make for a deliciously satisfying texture.
Their unique flavour is a blend of vanilla and rum that’s simply irresistible. And don’t forget about their distinctive shape – cylindrical with a fluted edge, they’re as beautiful as they are delicious.
Enjoy one at home with a fresh coffee or glass of wine, close your eyes and transport yourself back to France.
By Jenni from Dordone Vie
7. Anise candies from Flavigny (where Chocolat was filmed!)
Once upon a time there was a young chocolatier who moved to a tiny village with her daughter. She didn’t fit in, the villagers were wary of this single mother, but eventually, her magical chocolates won them over.
Much of the film was shot in the tiny Burgundian village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain (it was called Lansquenet in the movie), but the village is famous for a different delicacy: anise candies.
These delightful little pearls were made here by monks for centuries, until the French Revolution banned much that was religious. Production restarted a century ago, and a visit to the candy workshop will unveil all its secrets: a tiny grain of anise, coated over and over again in sugar, and then flavored.
You’ll find them easily across France, their pretty metal oval boxes waiting for you at supermarket checkouts, in tobacco stores or specialty grocers, or online.
By Leyla from Off Beat France
8. Wine glasses from Alsace
The historical Alsace region in north-eastern France has long been known for its wine savoir-faire and unique French culture. The wine terroir produces some of the best white wines in Europe, and therefore every wine lover should discover the Alsace wine route for themselves.
Alone the wine glasses, with their emerald shaded stems, should be on your souvenir buying list. These glasses with the traditional pottery wine jugs can only be found in Alsace.
White wines, such as typical Alsatian Gewürztraminer or Pinot Gris should be always served cooled, and the jugs keep the wine at a pleasant serving temperature.
The glasses add to the unique aesthetic and every sip will transport you back to Colmar or Strasbourg in Alsace.
By Paul from Paulmarina
Macarons in Paris are a culinary treasure and are a snack you should definitely try when visiting the city. Macarons, those delectable and colourful French confections, are an irresistible treat that one should undoubtedly indulge in while visiting Paris.
Renowned for their delicate almond meringue shells sandwiching rich, creamy fillings, macarons offer flavours that tantalize the taste buds.
Paris is famous as the birthplace of macarons, and the city’s patisseries take great pride in perfecting these delicate delights. Each boutique offers exquisite flavours, from classic ones like raspberry and pistachio to more inventive combinations like salted caramel and lavender.
To buy macarons in Paris is to savour a symphony of flavours crafted with unmatched expertise and passion. The experience of enjoying these dainty delicacies amidst the city’s charming ambience and elegant architecture is unparalleled.
Macarons make for an ideal souvenir to bring back a taste of Paris, encapsulating the essence of the city’s culinary brilliance in every delightful bite.
By Victoria from Guide Your Travel
10. La Marinière – “the French sailor shirt from France”
A trip to France is not only a memorable experience, but also an opportunity to buy unique souvenirs that can also become part of your outfit.
Marinière – “the French sailor shirt “- is a great souvenir and gift you can offer yourself. Despite the fact that nowadays white sweater with blue stripes has become a popular item and its variations are present in almost any brand of clothing, you will buy a real sailor shirt only in France. It is the one that will have that energetic appeal and remind you of vacation travels.
The striped shirt was originally part of the uniform of French sailors and is very closely associated with the sea and summer vacations. The subconscious association of “the French sailor shirt” with sea voyages will give you the joy and enthusiasm when wearing this garment.
For a long time, La Marinière was the uniform of sailors, but then it became a popular garment among bohemians. Many French artists and painters liked to wear La Marinière, as they were attracted by the casual chic and the symbol of freedom that it gave.
La Marinière was a favorite garment of couturier Jean Paul Gaultier. He invented the iconic fragrance for men, Le Male, and made the bottle in the shape of a man’s torso wearing “the French sailor shirt “
The best place to buy La Marinière would be the south of France, which is a wonderful place for holidays and is one of the warmest places in Europe at any time of the year. Since “the French sailor shirt ” symbolizes the sea and the French Riviera and is very popular on the seaside, you will find your perfect La Marinière there.
By Alexandra from The Alternative Travel Guide
11. Second hand book from Seine at Les Bouquinistes
If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris in, France, you’ll probably notice the famous stalls that run along the River Seine. These green stalls are known as Seine at Les Bouquinistes, and a stop should be a part of any Paris itinerary. These stalls consist of many booksellers selling second-hand books, which make for the perfect souvenir!
Not only can you purchase a book to read while lounging in Paris, but it’s a great souvenir to remember your trip by.
There are so many genres to choose from, and it’s a wonderful way that books can be reread and loved by others rather than being thrown away. Furthermore, you will also find fun posters, magazines, and paintings.
To locate the stalls, simply head to the Seine River, they can be found on either side, and they are usually open from 11:30 am and close at sunset.
By Sam from Find Love and Travel
12. Sugar candies in Nice
For those spending some time in Nice, a great souvenir to take back home is candied fruits and chocolate from the local shop, Auer.
Maison Auer was originally founded in 1820 and is one the oldest chocolate shops in Nice. And a couple of things that makes this shop unique is that it’s been owned by the same family since it was originally established, and the fact they use traditional methods that have been passed down through the generations to prepare their chocolates and candied fruits!
Thus, if you’re looking to give your loved ones a small taste of Nice and its local food, Auer is a must-visit!
By Kristin of Global Travel Escapades
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Although Sarah has worked in travel for 15 years and specializes in Africa, she loves music, wine, food, and travel. Armed with her camera, she’s on a mission to photograph old memories and tell stories showcasing her East Indian community and her love for travel and culture.