Last Updated on 21st July 2023 by Sophie Nadeau
Planning a trip to France and wondering what to bring home from your trip as a keepsake? We have you covered. In this guide, I’ll be covering the best souvenirs from France, including French gift ideas you can bring back for your loved ones.
The word ‘souvenir’ comes from Latin via French from the French word ‘to remember’. As such, it should come as no surprise that France is certainly a country where you can pick up some lovely mementos.
If you’re planning a trip to France then you’ve made a great choice. Whether you’re hitting the snow-covered slopes in the winter, indulging in Christmas market foods in the Alsace, strolling through charming towns in Provence or checking out the bright lights of Paris, you’re sure to have a vacation you’ll remember forever.
There’s a great industry of Made in France products in France, which will either be designated by a little label stating ‘Made in France’ or ‘Fabriqué en France,’ thus ensuring that you’re purchasing an authentically made French product.
- Food and drink souvenirs from France
- Miscellaneous souvenirs from France
Food and drink souvenirs from France
It may seem like a bit of a weird thing to bring back as a souvenir, but French baguette is unique the world over for its light taste and simple deliciousness.
As baguettes are best eaten on the day you purchase them, you should buy them on the last day of your trip and stick them in the freezer as soon as you get home. You can also try taking croissants home in this manner but they’re likely to get squashed on the way home from your trip!
I personally break my baguettes in half before putting them in the freezer so that I can bake them as I fancy. I then take my baguette out when I’m ready to make a little French apéro and douse them in a little water before sticking them in the oven for five to ten minutes (check the baguettes frequently during cooking).
As a country that is well-known for its wine production, it should come as no surprise that Balsamic Vinegar is a great souvenir to bring back from your trip. If you go to the Provençal village of Roussillon, you’ll even find a whole shop dedicated to Balsamic vinegar!
France is obviously known for its cheeses. As a result, bringing back a few varieties as souvenirs is a great idea if you’re able to (check your country’s import regulations). Popular cheeses include Camembert, Brie, Roquefort, and Comté.
France has a long and rich tradition of chocolate-making. Throughout the country, you can find many artisanal chocolate shops, though the most popular towns to buy chocolates in include Bordeaux, Biarritz, and Bayonne, as well as Paris.
A tasty way to remember your trip or alternatively bring home as a gift (if they make it to the intended recipient without being eaten beforehand) is to bring back a box of artisanal chocolates.
One of the most popular souvenirs is the forever iconic and tasty macaron. The best selling cookie in France comes in a variety of flavours, including vanilla, pistachio, and chocolate.
You can buy them from famous patisseries like Ladurée or Pierre Hermé. If you’re in Paris, then check out the best macarons in Paris. There are even Ladurée counters at the airport if you’re looking for a last minute souvenir before departing France.
France has a long tradition of tea-making that actually rivals that of England, which lies just across the Channel Tunnel. Some of the most popular French tea brands include Mariages Frères and Kusmi tea.
France is one of the best countries in the world for excellent wines, and bringing back a bottle or two as a souvenir is a great way to experience the country’s wine culture even after your trip has ended.
As well as Champagne (the sparkling wine, typically white, can only be called as such if it comes from the region), other popular wine regions in France include Bordeaux, Burgundy, Sancerre and the Loire Valley. Provence is most famous for its rosé.
France, and more specifically Burgundy (known as Bourgogne in French) is well-known for its mustard production and so it should come as no surprise that you can easily buy some mustard to bring home and use in your cooking or salad dressings well after you’ve left France. Curious to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about mustard in Dijon.
Miscellaneous souvenirs from France
Going to a brocante is undoubtedly one of the most fun things to do in France as you never quite know what you’ll find next. From vintage wine glasses to antique cutlery, there are all kinds of treasures to be found which can easily make for a great souvenir from your trip.
Eiffel Tower Souvenirs
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in France and is so famous that it has since become emblematic of Paris. As you can imagine, there are countless souvenirs which are inspired by the iconic tower.
From keychains, miniature replicas, to T-shirts and magnets, there’s no shortage of things to choose from. Just be aware that it can be hard to find Eiffel Tower souvenirs that are actually made in France!
One of my favourite low-cost ways to bring home travels is to purchase a few postcards. While, of course, you can purchase modern postcards, my personal favourite are vintage finds. If you’re heading to Paris, then check out one of the flea markets, where you can typically pick up 100 year old postcards for just a few euros!
France is home to a number of famous perfume brands, many of which you’ll likely have heard of before. Some of the more luxurious perfume brands include Chanel, Dior, and Guerlain.
Bringing back a bottle of French perfume as a souvenir is a way to remember your trip every time you get ready for a special event. If you’re looking for a special experience, then you can even attend a workshop where you create your own signature scent.
France is also known for its high-end fashion brands and, indeed, the term ‘haute couture’ come from the country. Some of the most famous luxury brands to originate from France include Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Yves Saint Laurent.
There are also a number of high end high street retailers such as Zadig and Voltaire, Maje, Sézane, Sandro, Maje, and Ba&sh. If you’re looking for some good deals, then you can head to an outlet shopping mall close to Paris known as La Vallée Village.
France is home to some of the most famous art museums in the world, including the Louvre (the largest museum in the world), Musée d’Orsay, and Centre Pompidou.
It’s also where many famous artists spent many of their years and one of the most popular day trips from Paris is to Giverny, Monet’s former home turned museum (and where you can see the famed waterlilies).
All of these museums typically have their own gift shop, where you can buy some souvenirs from your visit. Typically these boutiques sells things like prints (including from special exhibitions), postcard, and books.
France is also known for its high-quality soap. Savon de Marseille and Roger & Gallet are some of the biggest mass-produced brands, though there are also smaller brands which make more artisanal varieties.
I love gifting my friends and family bars of beautiful smelling soaps (such as lavender- known as lavande in French and vervain- known as verveine) that i’ve found in the lavender markets of Provence.
Each summer I try and spend a week in Provence as it’s easy to reach from Paris and offers visitors a plethora of fun activities. From strolling through medieval towns to frolicking in lavender fields, this is the ultimate chill meets historical holiday destination.
Heading to the markets is a sure-fire way to find beautiful French souvenirs such as lavender sachets (I bought some to keep in my underwear drawer to deter moths), lavender candles, lavender soap, and even lavender flavoured honey!
A french beret
Yes, it’s a little cliché, but it can be fun to buy a beret as a souvenir from your time in France, especially if you want to take some photos with it. The most classic colour is red, though berets come in all kinds of colours, and I personally have a purple one.
France is known for its beautiful pottery, of which there are several varieties from various spots around the country. Some of the ;ore popular French regions which product pottery include Provence and Brittany. If you’re headed to Provence, then one of the best towns to buy ceramics in is Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.
French Tablecloths, Tea towels and Napkins
France is pretty well-known for its colourful and vibrant tablecloths and napkins and I swear we have so many at home that my French husband was gifted by various family members!
Tablecloths often featuring traditional designs like stripes, florals, or specific monuments and landmarks. If you back a set of French table linens, you can guarantee that you’ll add some French flair to your dining table and remember your trip every time you eat!
French cuisine is world-renowned, as are the number of bookshops scattered across the country. As a result, if you’re looking for a foodie themed souvenir but don’t want to bring back any fresh food, bring back a cookbook featuring classic French recipes.
French Language Learning Materials
If you’re interested in learning French, consider bringing back a French language learning book or even go and buy some children’s books which will have a lower level of French that will be easier to understand while you’re practicing.
French Posters and Prints
Highlighting everything from vintage travel ads to iconic works of art, France is known for its iconic posters and prints. Bringing back a poster or print as a souvenir is a great way low-cost to decorate your home and remember your trip.
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Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A Francophile at heart, she runs solosophie.com when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She splits her time between Paris and London and travels as much as she can! Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.