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Shopping in Paris, Souvenirs, Typical and Cheap Gifts

The possibilities for shopping in Paris are unlimited. The city is considered the fashion capital of the world, offering many stores and boutiques for luxury shopping, haute couture and exclusive jewellery, but it is also possible to do shopping in Paris avoiding the prohibitive prices if you know how to move.

Paris, like the rest of France is not cheap, in fact, the word cheap does not exist in the French language and the expression used by the French for that purpose is “moins cher” which means less expensive, so we can get an idea that to visit the capital it is necessary to have an extra budget in comparison with other large European cities.

In our guide to shopping in Paris:

  1. Typical gifts from Paris.
  2. Best shopping areas in Paris.
  3. Best markets in Paris.

Souvenirs, Gifts and Typical Products from Paris

Tourists looking for gifts, souvenirs and typical products can satisfy all their shopping needs in Montmartre, which is the shopping area par excellence and includes numerous gift shops, art galleries and shops with more or less artistic items.

Those who prefer to give to their loved ones some of the typical products of the world-famous French gastronomy such as cheese, wines or macarons and chocolates, can buy them in aforementioned markets, food stores or supermarkets throughout the city.

11 Ideas for a gift or souvenir from Paris

1. Vintage Poster from the Bouquinistes

Le Chat Noir by Alexandre Steinlein

The Bouquinistes are the street vendors of old books, sketches, pictures, vintage postcards and posters depicting Parisian lifestyle. A classic old-fashioned poster like the reproduction of “Le Chat Noir” will make a refined gift or souvenir for art lovers.

2. Painting from Montmartre

Street Painters in Montmartre, Paris

Montmartre is famous all around the world as the iconic site of painters and sketch artists painting and selling their pictures on the cobbled streets of this district. You can find there both marvellous paintings and kitsch portraits, but one thing is for sure: the choice is great, the same as the range of prices. Even a small painting from Montmartre will be a very sophisticated and artsy gift.

3. Unique Vintage Clothes

Vintage leather clothes in Paris

Everybody knows that Paris is heaven for fashionistas! In no other place you will find such a choice of spectacular, precious, super-stylish second-hand clothes of the greatest world brands, or some truly unique pieces of less-known fashion designers. The markets described above are perfect places to find some truly unique pieces of elegant or original clothing, accessories or jewellery.

4. Sexy Béret

Béret

Béret is a soft, round, knitted hat with a little “tail” in the middle, made of woolen felt. It was traditionally worn in France both by men and women, and it still is, yet much more rarely. Its fame come from the fact that it’s often associated with Parisian Bohemian style. The usual image of a French artist would be a man wearing a béret, with a cigarette in the corner of his mouth, right?

5. Exquisite Macarons

Delicious Macarons

Famous French cookies, delicate and light meringue-based shells enclosing fine cream or marmalade, owe their fame as much to their spectacular taste, as to their perfect beauty. Their lovely, pastel colours make them maybe the most elegant cookies ever invented.

6. Delicious Handmade Chocolates, Jellies and Marrons Glacés

Assorted handmade chocolates

When it comes to sensual pleasures, the French are true masters! Don’t even try to resist sinfully tempting assorted chocolates in all forms and flavours. Choose freshly handmade chocolates in one of the elegant confectionary shops and enjoy! Some of French specialties include surprising flavours like lavender or violet.
You have to try another typical French confectionary: pâtes de fruits – natural fruit jellies – they are nothing like the industrial jellies, they taste like the spirit of the fruit enclosed in a small bite! There is a huge variety of flavours: most types of fruits you can imagine. Absolutely delicious!
A different type of famous French delicacy are marrons glacés  – candied chestnuts, also used as a cream to spread on crêpes.

7. Wine

Wine shop

On the topic of sensual pleasures – one of the most renowned products of France is obviously wine. The variety is endless, whether you prefer red, white, rosé or sparkling wine – there is something for everybody’s budget. You may look for wines from the most famous wine regions in France: Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône Valley. If you have luggage to check-in, it will cost you much less to choose something in one of numerous spirit shops and delicatessen, rather than buying at the airport.

8. Cheese

Specialized cheese shop

French cheeses are worth their fame all over the world. The variety of tastes, soft, creamy, hard or crumbling textures, different level of maturity, mixtures of cow, sheep and goat milk, mold inside or outside, and different herbs, nuts, truffle and other refined ingredients they are matured, infused of mixed with, will make your taste buds vibrate. Some of the most famous types include: Camembert, Roquefort, Brie de Meaux, Chèvre (goat cheese), Tomme de Savoie, Epoisses, Reblochon.

9. Marinière blouse

Marinière shirt

This long-sleeved shirt with blue horizontal stripes on white background made the part of the uniform of the French Marine since the 19th century. In the 20th century, this highly recognizable shirt was restyled as a typically French fashion garment by Coco Chanel, and then Yves Saint Laurent and Jean-Paul Gaultier.

10. Nostalgic Vintage Object from Flea Market

Vintage porcelain on flea market

Flea markets let even the tourists on the tightest budget to take home something very special and unique. A coffee set of sublime porcelain, an old-fashioned clock, a stylish photo frame or an original sculpture can make a truly unique gift “with soul”.

11. Eiffel Tower Souvenirs

Eiffel Tower keychains

Let’s face it – you just can’t go home from Paris without bringing the most classic of all souvenirs – a miniature of Eiffel Tower: as a keyring, earrings, on a coffee mug, on a set of coasters or as a mini statue – just another perfect dust-collector. It will make you smile back home.

Guide to the best shopping areas in Paris

Below you will find a guide divided into sections on luxury, mid-range and cheap shopping in Paris.

Read all about Fashion in Paris here: The Best Guide to Paris Fashion 2019

Parisian Chic & Luxury

Classic Parisian chic

Let’s start our Parisian shopping itinerary through the famous Champs-Élysées, which is one of the most exclusive shopping areas of the city where we can find the most prestigious stores and luxury brands, such as the world famous Dior, Chanel, Louise Vuitton.

The Avenue Montaigne and Rue Royale are well established destinations in high-level tourism where we can also find all kinds of luxury items and prestigious brands of designers who succeed on the catwalks, such as Prada, Hermès or Yven Saint Laurent among others.

Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann
Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann

The spectacular shopping mall Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann and Printemps (located in Boulevard Haussmann) would complete the top sites of exclusive places for shopping in the French capital. They are definitely worth visiting even if you don’t buy anything, simply for the beautiful and sophisticated design of their interiors and display cases, which make you breathe the famous Parisian chic.

Affordable Shopping

Shopping mall in Paris

Popular shopping districts with more affordable prices where you can actually buy some fashionable clothes, elegant accessories or refined items, are the Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain and Saint-Michelle, which are also full of the typical Parisian cafés to have a pleasant rest.

Guide of Markets in Paris

Paris is famous for its flea markets where tourists gather from all over the world in search of bargains: antiquities, unique vintage clothes and artisan products of all kinds.

1. Les Puces de Saint-Ouen – The Biggest Flea Market

Antiquities on Les Puces flea market

Don’t miss the biggest antique market in the world: the flea market Les Puces de Saint-Ouen at Porte de Clignancourt, popularly called just Les Puces. It is the most popular flea market in Paris and you can find there everything from antiques to second-hand clothes to and decorative accessories suitable for all budgets. It is extremely huge, and the number of visitors exceeds even 170,000 on a busy weekend! You can find a lot of bargains in its numerous stalls. If you are looking for vintage Parisian clothes, check out boutiques along Rue des Rosiers, where you will find the most sophisticated clothing of the most famous brands of the world of fashion.
It’s always better to go there in the morning, as it gets overly crowded in the afternoon.

Address: Les Puces de Saint-Ouen – Porte de Clignancourt, Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint Ouen (metro Line 4 – Porte de Clignancourt)

Opening Hours: Saturday 9 am – 6 pm, Sunday 10 am to 6 pm, Monday 11 am to 5 pm (but not all the stalls open on Monday)

2. Bouquinistes  

Bouquinistes – book vendors by the Seine

You absolutely have to visit one of the most iconic views of Paris: the Bouquinistes – the sellers of second-hand books, sketches, pictures, vintage postcards and posters installed along Rive Gauche – the left bank of the Seine. Their small, old-fashioned stalls are charming and they have some real treasures on sale!

3. Porte de Montreuil Flea Market

Flea market in Paris

You will find another flea market in Porte de Montreuil, with low prices, and everything from clothes to watches and from shoes to sets of coffee cups.

Address: Marche aux Puces de Montreuil – Avenue du Professeur André Lemierre, 75020 Paris

Opening Hours: Saturday, Sunday, Monday 8 am to 7:30 pm

4. Marché d’Aligre – Food Market & Cheap Clothes and Objects

Jackets on the market

Another useful market is historical Marché d’Aligre, one of the oldest markets of Paris. You will find there a good range of quality food products at very convenient prices, but also bric-a-brac – miscellaneous objects for collectors and not only, as well as second-hand clothes and cheap African clothes.

Address: Rue d’Aligre et, Place d’Aligre, 75012 Paris

Opening Hours: Daily except Mondays, 9 am – 1 pm, 4 pm – 7:30 pm

5. Marché Bastille – Big Food Market

Marché Bastille is one of the biggest markets in Paris, with great food – especially superior quality cheese, cold meats and wine, as well as cheap African clothes, handbags and accessories.

Address: 8 Boulevard Richard Lenoir, 75011 Paris

Opening Hours: Thursday 7 am – 2:30 pm, Sunday 7 am – 3 pm

6.  Île de la Cité – Charming Flower and Bird Market

The beautiful and central Île de la Citè market is open all year round and is one of the busiest in the city. It’s a flower market daily, except Sundays when it turns into birds market, with hundreds of species of birds on display – just a curiosity for a tourist to get a glimpse of something truly Parisian.

Address: Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux Cité – Place Louis Lépine, Ile de la Cité, Paris

Opening Hours: daily 8 am to 7:30 pm
***

More on Shopping in Paris

Paris is a city where everyone can find something for themselves. Although shopping is never cheap here, the mere pleasure of strolling through the streets, immersing yourself in chic and Bohemian Parisian atmosphere, and soaking up the impressions is often enough. Even just window-shopping and discovering unusual products and skilfully arranged luxury boutiques is something to remember.

Do you have your own tips on shopping in Paris? Are there any other Parisian of French products worth recommending? If so, leave a comment!

Author

Małgorzata Kmita

Chief Editor & Writer of euroviajar.com, a serial expat - I've lived in 7 countries, I speak 7 languages, and I travelled to 39 countries so far. I have a deep interest in understanding the culture and lifestyle of various countries and regions. I'm always looking for the authentic local habits, tastes and surprises that give a certain place its character.

4 thoughts on “Shopping in Paris, Souvenirs, Typical and Cheap Gifts

Très bien :) All true! Galeries Lafayette are fantastic, you must go if you like French products.

Merci Charlotte :) I agree, Galeries Lafayette are one of the most impressive – and visually appealing – shopping malls I’ve ever seen.

Hello Małgorzata ! Thank you for the very inspiring and valuable content, you’ve really shared some of the best places for shopping in Paris. We also like the Saint Paul “Le marais” area (Rue Vieille du Temple, Rue des Rosiers …) – it’s really full of very nice boutiques with chic and unique clothing items and some great food and coffee shops. If you have the chance to check it, I think you’ll really like it.

We’ve also just created a concept for tourists – “Paris Gift Box” – with unique, “Made in France” items crafted by artisans having a true passion for their art and know-how. Considering your experience with travelling around the world, we would be very happy if you had a look and shared your honest opinion about our selection.

Hi Ioana, thank you for very nice feedback and information. I will check out your Gift Box and contact you, thanks.

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