Where to Buy Authentic Gifts & Souvenirs in Paris?

Last Updated on May 6, 2024

These are some of the best places to buy original and non-touristy gifts from Paris. Courtney Traub/all rights reserved
Image: Courtney Traub/all rights reserved

If you’ve ever wandered along the banks of the Seine and around major Parisian attractions like Notre-Dame Cathedral, you’ll know that it isn’t exactly difficult to come across gift shops aimed at tourists in the capital. What can be challenging, however, is figuring out where to find gifts from Paris that aren’t cliché, yawn-inspiring and wholly expected.

We’re hoping to make all that easier with this brief guide. In what follows, we direct you to some of the best spots in Paris for inspiring, culturally authentic gifts or souvenirs– from boutiques to artisan fairs. You can use the clickable map below to easily navigate through our suggestions.

Souvenirs, Books, Artworks & Other Items

At times, you’ll want to bring home souvenirs from Paris (either for yourself or as gifts for friends and family). But is it really necessary for these to be mass-produced, cheap affairs (think flimsy Eiffel Tower keychains and Notre-Dame Cathedral mugs painted in kitschy tones)?

We answer with an emphatic no. It’s entirely possible to find Paris-themed souvenirs, books or artworks that are both aesthetically pleasing and original.

La Mouette Rieuse

La Mouette Rieuse, one of the best Paris souvenir shops offering tasteful and original French-themed gifts. Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

One of our favorite recent discoveries in the capital is this spacious gift and bookshop in the Marais district, tucked just a few blocks away from the Rue des Rosiers and its scrumptious falafel.

La Mouette Rieuse— literally meaning “the laughing seagull”– sells a variety of attractive souvenirs and gifts, from art prints, postcards and greeting cards to books in English and French, Paris and France-themed novelty items, to design items, children’s toys and books.

The best thing about it is that you won’t find much of the poorly designed schlock being peddled in most souvenir shops and stands elsewhere in the city.

Instead, at this “cultural concept store” (as the owners have dubbed it) there’s a thoughtfully curated selection of French-themed gifts, art and literature, plus a more general selection of gifts, high-quality stationary and other items. The upstairs café looks pleasant, too, though we haven’t yet sat in.

Location: 17bis Rue Pavée, 75004 Paris, (4th Arrondissement); Metro Saint-Paul or Bastille (open daily from 11am to 7:30 pm, excluding certain bank holidays)

The Bookshop & Boutique at the Centre Pompidou

Another place we regularly head for postcards, prints, small and large-scale artbooks, creative design items, stationary and toys is the ground-floor bookshop and boutique at the Centre Georges Pompidou. And just across the way, the boutique sells a variety of gifts and design items that are well worth a look, from jewelry and bags to lamps, notebooks and novelty items.

The boutique at the Centre Pompidou is an ideal stop for tasteful and original gifts in Paris. Centre Pompidou

Located on the ground floor of the massive cultural center (which houses one of the city’s best modern art museums), the bookshop and boutique are both ideal stops for interesting and tasteful Parisian gifts (whether themed on the city or not). They’re also smack in the center of the capital, which make them a convenient stop.

Location: Centre Georges Pompidou (ground floor– free to enter but expect a security check at the door); Place Georges Pompidou, 75004 Paris (Open every day except Tuesdays and May 1st, 11 am to 10 pm).

The Bouquinistes (Seine-Side Booksellers)

the Paris bouquinistes can be a good place to find interesting gifts from the capital. Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

Ok, this one comes with a caveat. Many, but not all, of the traditional bouquiniste stands lining several Seine-River banks, offer interesting selections of vintage books (mostly in French), original prints and posters, and other printed matter that might just make excellent gifts.

However, probably in a bid to boost earnings in recent years and keep the lights on, some of the traditional sellers have pivoted to peddling rather banal and tired souvenir fare.

You’ll likely have to browse a few of the stands in deep green metal to find something that calls your name. See our full guide to the Bouquinistes to beeline to a few of the best stands. These are independent vendors worth supporting, with a history stretching back hundreds of years.

Antiquarian bookshops in the Latin Quarter/Saint-Germain

Le Feu Follet, one of the best spots for rare books and first editions from Paris.

For anyone who appreciates a rare edition or vintage map, the Latin Quarter and the Saint-Germain district are excellent ports of call.

One we especially recommend is Le Feu Follet (31 Rue Henri Barbusse, 75005 Paris, open weekdays and closed on weekends). The shop sells over 20,000 rare editions of classic French and world literature, in addition to a variety of maps, prints and other printed matter.

Meanwhile, in adjoining Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the Librairie P. Jammes (3 Rue Gozlin, 75006 Paris) is a historic bookseller specializing in rare books and printed matter, with a special emphasis on the humanities, book history, the history of printing and typography, and graphic arts.

It would take a whole separate article to cover some of the other antiquarian bookshops in the area with the depth they merit, so for this one we’ll redirect you to this page for more ideas on where to head.

French Food & Gourmet Items

Jams from La Chambre des Confitures in Paris. Courtney Traub/all rights reserved

Given Paris’ status as a culinary capital, it’s unsurprising that food items figure among those most sought-after for gifts and suitcase-liners. Luckily, there are numerous markets and shops in the capital that sell travel-friendly gourmet goods, from jams and sauces to biscuits and macarons, oils and pates. If only fresh pastries and cheese were a bit more transportable…

La Grande Epicerie

One of my favorite stops for gifts fit for foodies is La Grande Epicerie, a sprawling gourmet market with two locations: one on the ground floor of the Bon Marché department store on the left bank, and another on the right bank, in the western district known as Passy.

Both are treasure troves of culinary delights, both from France and around the world. Pick up a block of high-quality spanish turrón (almond nougat), a jar of gourmet dried mushrooms or truffles, a box of artisan Parisian chocolate, canned terrines and meats, or choose from a dizzying array of French and European cookies and cakes.

Location: 38 Rue de Sèvres, 75007, Metro Sevres-Babylone (main location at the Bon Marché); 80 Rue de Passy, 75016, Metro Passy (Passy location).

Lafayette Le Gourmet

The “other” enormous Parisian food shop to beeline to for high-quality gourmet gifts is Lafayette Le Gourmet, located in the eponymous department store on Boulevard Haussmann.

Browse several floors of food and wine items, including a large selection of French and international wines, macarons from some of the country’s best purveyors, a huge selection of cheeses, and thousands of other artisanal French and world products. There are also a couple of onsite restaurants and bakeries, ideal for lunch between shopping efforts.

{Related: Some of the Finest Cheese Shops in Paris}

Location: 35 Bd Haussmann, 75009 (Metro Havre-Caumartin)

Gourmet Shops on Rue des Martyrs

In recent years, the area known as South Pigalle has become a major destination for gourmet tastings and shopping opportunities. Rue des Martyrs, in particular, is lined with an unusual number of culinary-themed shops selling artisan goodies.

I especially enjoy the gourmet jams, jellies and chutneys from La Chambre aux Confitures (9 Rue des Martyrs; there are also two other locations in Paris). Here, you can browse dozens of flavors, from fig- lime-thyme to blood orange, apricot and orange blossom, or wild strawberry. The shopkeepers are unusually helpful and friendly, and you can taste as many jams as you like.

Down the street, at Artisan de la Truffe (#19) you can purchase whole white or black truffles, or a variety of products infused with truffles.

Maison Arnaud Delmontel (#39 Rue des Martyrs) is a renowned bakery that also sells handmade chocolates (ideal for a gift); you may also be able to pick up French biscuits or cookies that can make it over in your suitcase.

{Related: Tasting Some of the Best French Pastries in Paris}

And for fans of gourmet teas, Collection T (#55 rue des Martyrs) is an ideal stop. Black, green, white, red, oolong and herbal teas line the walls of this temple to the humble aromatic leaf– and you can taste a few varieties before you buy.

See more on where to shop, eat out and roam in our full neighborhood guide to South Pigalle.

Covered Markets in Paris

The Marché Beauvau is one of the loveliest covered markets in Paris, and an excellent stop for foodie gifts from the capital. Courtney Traub/All rights reserved
The Marché Beauvau is one of the loveliest covered markets in Paris, and an excellent stop for foodie gifts from the capital. Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

Another interesting possibility for food gifts (as well as wines) are covered markets dotted throughout the city. These are permanent indoor food stalls where you can find shelf-stable and travel-proof items including sauces and oils, wines and liqueurs, biscuits, cookies and traditional candies.

The Marché Beauvau (pictured above), the historic covered market at the (outdoor) Aligre food market, is one of the places I regularly stop to look for interesting local products.

I also highly recommend taking a whirl through the Marché des Enfants Rouges, (literally, Market of the Red Children, 39 Rue de Bretagne, 75003). Situated at the border of the popular Marais neighborhood, it’s just two blocks from the Temple Metro station. It’s located at the edge of the Marais district, and just two blocks from the Square du Temple in the 3rd arrondissement.

{Related: The Best Traditional Parisian Food Markets}

In addition to its always-bustling stalls, there are numerous decent places to eat inside this historic market– so make sure to come hungry for a pre-or post-shopping lunch.

Chocolate & Confiserie (French candy)

A gift box of chocolates and traditional French confectionary from A La Mère de Famille, Paris. Photo by Rachel Naismith/All rights reserved
A gift box of chocolates and traditional French confectionary from A La Mère de Famille, Paris. Photo by Rachel Naismith/All rights reserved

Finally, chocolate and candy from Paris are almost guaranteed to delight your intended recipient– and there’s no shortage of excellent places to procure some of the good stuff.

In addition to the gourmet food markets mentioned above (especially La Grande Epicerie and Lafayette Gourmet), consider heading to artisanal Parisian chocolate-makers such as Chapon (34 rue Saint-Sulpice, 75006, Metro Saint-Sulpice) or Jean-Paul Hévin (41 rue de Bretagne, 75004, Metro Saint-Paul).

Both specialize in traditional French chocolates (truffles, pralines, molded eggs and animals, etc) as well as high-grade, single-origin bars and novelty items in chocolate. At Chapon, you can taste bits of single-origin chocolates and find the one that makes your palate sing (see our full review here).

Jean-Paul Hévin, meanwhile, offers gift-worthy items such as stiletto heels and Eiffel Towers in handmade milk or dark chocolate– and also makes some of the city’s best macarons, available in gift boxes.

Meanwhile, A la Mère de Famille (35 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 , plus several other locations around Paris) is renowned for its old-world-style shops peddling traditional confectionary, from chocolates to colorful confiserie (French boiled candies and other sweets).

See more in our guide to the history of French candy & confectionary).

Bespoke Perfumes & Scents

Perfume swatches at Serge Lutens. Image: Courtney Traub/All rights reserved.
Perfume swatches at Serge Lutens. Image: Courtney Traub/All rights reserved.

There’s a good reason why good perfumes and food are often associated with one another: the best of both require a nose for the subleties of different aromas. Parisian perfume and fragrance has a long and renowned history, with (arguably) some of the best perfumers in the world operating boutiques in the capital.

So if you’re looking for a fragrance gift that doesn’t smell like every airport duty-free lounge in the world, this is the place to find it.

Serge Lutens

Serge Lutens at the Palais Royal. Courtney Traub/All rights reserved
Serge Lutens at the Palais Royal. Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

This niche French perfumer is quite possibly my favorite (though I’m not a true fragrance aficionado). At his flagship shop in the Palais Royal near the Louvre, you can sample as many of his subtle-yet-often intoxicating scents as you wish, and there’s always someone there to help you find the right one.

Most of the fragrances are unisex, which is something I appreciate as someone who doesn’t need my perfume to be gendered (and who typically prefers woody, earthy notes to florals).

The boutique, with its deep jeweled-purple and black tones and circus-meets-fantasy-apothecary vibes, is an experience worth seeking out in its own right.

Location: 142 Gal du Galois, Palais Royal, 75001 (Metro Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre)

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier

Another perfumer I recommend for gift shopping is Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, just about as steeped in Parisian tradition as you can get– even though it’s only been around since 1988. Founded by famed perfumer Jean-François Laporte, the house’s fragrance-making techniques are, the brand claims, grounded in 17th-century French perfumery traditions.

This is an ideal stop for special-occasion gifts, since Maitre Parfumeur’s niche fragrances are presented in ornate bottles that many will want to keep.

The scents often emphasize single ingredients and notes, such as oud, amber or camelia, and the house frequently offers limited-edition perfumes. You can also find items like perfumed candles and home fragrances.

Location: 5 rue des Capucines, 75001 (Metro Opéra or Tuileries)

You can find more suggestions for excellent perfume shops and bespoke fragrances here— including those offering scents from well-known but-still-niche French “noses” such as Frédéric Malle and Francis Kurkdjian.

French Artisan Gifts, Design & Decor

The Viaduc des Arts is one of the best places in Paris for artisanal gifts from the capital. Courtney Traub/All rights reserved
The Viaduc des Arts is a fantastic stop for hand-made, artisanal gifts from the capital. Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

Paris is one of the world’s great design capitals, with a head-spinning number of artisans operating out of workshops and small boutiques. These, as well as a couple of key artisan fairs taking place in the capital most years, make excellent destinations for gifts such as hand-made jewelry, accessories knitware, ceramics, artworks, books, and home design items. Here are a few we recommend.

Le Viaduc des Arts

This series of artisan boutiques and workshops, nestled in the interiors of what was once a busy railway station, is as alluring for its architecture as it is for its gift-shopping opportunities.

viaduc-des-arts-paris

The Viaduc des Arts (the Arts Viaduct) brings together some 40 artisans– from glass blowers to jewelry makers and fashion designers– under its vaulted archways in warm red brick. In total, the stroll along Avenue Daumesnil and through the shops and boutiques extends for 1.5 km, offering ample possibilities for gifts.

Complete your excursion to the Viaduc by visiting one of the cafés or restaurants that make up some of the businesses in the complex.

Follow up with a walk on the Promenade Plantée, a lush green path just above the Viaduc and running for over a mile eastward to the Parc de Vincennes. And a trip to the nearby (and aforementioned) Aligre Market is also much recommended.

Location: 1-123 Avenue Daumesnil, 12th arrondissement (Metro Ledru-Rollin)

Le Centquatre (104 Arts Center)

Another unusual (and interesting) place to browse for artisanal goods in Paris is the Centquatre, a popular community arts center in the northeastern 19th arrondissement of Paris.

{Why to Visit the Parc de la Villette in Paris, an Unusual Park & Arts Complex}

In addition to the gallery spaces and artists’ studios that occupy the bright, airy building (which once served as a slaughterhouse, strangely enough), the Centquatre also hosts several shops that might be of interest to anyone looking for French-made gifts, clothing or design items.

These include L’Effet Pap (shown above), a boutique that curates a selection of items made by French artisans and small designer companies with a particular commitment to sustainability.

{Vintage Shopping in Paris: Our Picks for the Best Boutiques, Markets & More}

There’s also Kiblind, a boutique selling original prints and illustrations from local artists, and a thrift/charity shop called Emmaus Défi, selling antiques, knick-knacks, vintage clothing and other items.

Location: Centquatre, 5 rue Curial, 75019 Paris (Metro Riquet or Crimée)

The Goutte d’Or District (for Contemporary African Design)

Contemporary African design is at the heart of the Goutte d'Or in Paris/Image by Maison Chateau Rouge

One of the emerging design hubs in the capital is the area known as the Goutte d’Or, where up-and-coming designers and artisans operate boutiques attesting to bold contemporary interpretations of traditional African design practices.

Maison Chateau Rouge (40 bis Rue Myrha, Metro Chateau-Rouge) is one of the spots to beeline to in the Goutte d’Or for fashion-forward clothing, accessories and design items, most inflected (or heavily inspired by) African traditions.

And in the streets surrounding the Chateau-Rouge metro station, including Rue de la Goutte d’Or and especially on the rue des Gardes, you can browse several local boutiques selling handmade jewelry, African textiles and haberdashery items, artworks and home design items.

There are also a number of good African markets and restaurants in the area, offering everything from Senegalese cuisine and grocery staples to North-African specialties such as couscous and tajines– so consider eating in at one of these as part of a morning or afternoon exploring the area.

Paris Local Event

Last but certainly not least, if you happen to be visiting Paris in November, consider checking out Paris Local, which highlights the work of some 600 Parisian artisans living and working in the city.

The three-day event also gives you a chance to see inside a variety of intriguing Parisian interiors, from boutiques to artisan workshops and small-scale factories. 

You can find items as diverse as niche designer clothing, handmade ceramics, wood, metal or glass work, jewelry, and even pastries and cheeses. If you’re the type to start early on holiday gift-shopping (see more on that below), here’s one way to bring back a few items that are eons away from bland souvenirs.

Holiday Decorations, Gifts & Other Seasonal Items

Paris Christmas market, with Eiffel Tower in background, Trocadero

If you’re visiting Paris around Christmas and the winter holiday season, you may well want to bring home a few seasonally-appropriate gifts.

For French holiday decorations, crafts, jewelry, toys and seasonal treats such as pain d’épices (gingerbread), some of the annual Parisian Christmas markets are good ports of call.

The annual Marché de Noël at the Gare de l’Est train station is typically Alsatian-themed, with vendors selling a variety of food items, decorations, toys and gifts from the northeastern French region. It typically runs from late November through mid-December, but check dates in advance at our full guide (link just above).

{Find & Gift a Holiday-Themed Tour or Paris Experience with Viator}

Meanwhile, the REcyclerie, a cafe, community center and urban garden in northern Paris, typically hosts a Christmas market every year with an emphasis on fair-trade and ecologically sound products.

These events usually take place on the weekends leading up to Christmas, and emphasize artisan products, jewelry and crafts from a specific country or region. It may well be worth the trek to the “far north” of the city, especially if you pair your visit to a stroll through the nearby Puces de Clignancourt, one of the city’s largest flea markets.

Location: 83 Boulevard Ornano, 75018 Paris (Metro Porte de Clignancourt)

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Here's where to find original, inspiring Parisian gifts-- image from Paris Unlocked/All rights reserved

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