Ten Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5

One topic that comes up whenever friends and family are in town is souvenirs. Plane tickets, car rentals, hotels and train passes tend to eat up most of the travel budget, so visitors love ideas for gifts to bring home to friends and family that won’t break the bank. But they want something more unusual than an Eiffel Tower key chain.

I’ve figured out a bunch of fabulous souvenirs you can find in any French supermarket. All of them are non-perishable (in case you are jaunting to Milan after your trip to France), and every one of them is bargain. Today I’m sharing 10 of my favorites. To make them really shine, I recommend picking up a spool of French flag ribbon, and some cellophane bags. Maybe they’ll inspire you to book a flight to Paris!

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

First up, go directly to the spice aisle and pick up a big bag of famed French Sea Salt. When Ben Blair and I took the cooking class in Louviers, the chef gave this advice: if you buy one foodie item in France to bring home, make sure it’s salt! And she also said the best stuff was the greyish sort from the Brittany region (Bretagne in French). You can see above that this package indicates Bretagne as the source.

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

If you don’t want to repackage it, you’ll find salt in gift packages ready to go, but a far more economical plan (and I think a more charming one as well), is to buy the salt in a bulk bag and repackage it in ceramic yogurt jars when you get home.

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

I’ve mentioned these beautiful yogurt jars before. They come in different colors and sizes. Some have words imprinted on the side and others are blank. We use them for all sorts of things — cups, pencil jars, water jars for dipping paint brushes. You can even bake in them! They make great souvenirs as a set (for example a set of 6 for your favorite baker), or, if you don’t have room to carry home a dozen, fill them with salt for an individual gift.

The best part: you get to eat the yogurt during your trip so you can bring home the empty jars. : )

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

Fill up a jar with the gourmet, greyish salt, put the jar in a cellophane bag, and add a bow.

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

A bag of salt costs about $1, and will fill about 4 jars depending on their size. Bargain!

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

Next up is something for the kids. Check out the kiddie aisle and pick up a pack of toy Euros.

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

American kids will be fascinated by the colorful bills that come in different sizes. Such a change from U.S. dollars! Your kids can use them when they are pretending to be spending the afternoon at a Parisian café. And since you’ll be using Euros while you’re on the trip, they’ll be fun little reminders for you, too. This pack was priced at about $2.50.

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

This one might be my favorite. Stop in the cleaning aisle and pick up these traditional French cleaning cloths. They come in several styles, but you’ll recognize them because they consistently have red and blue stripes down the sides.

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

They actually come as two cloths connected together. (See that fuzzy line in the threads that crosses the colored lines? It’s meant to be cut, dividing the very large cloth into 2 regular size versions.)

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

They’re super thick and crazy absorbent. We like them for heavy duty jobs and washing the car. One cloth (which is actually two cloths) runs about $3.50.

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

Or, how about a block of famed French Laundry Soap? The French are very particular about their soap and you can expect the quality to be high. Instead of the bath aisle, you’ll find blocks of soap like these near the laundry detergent.

Five Fabulous French Souvenirs under $5
Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

When you get home, ditch the store packaging and wrap the bar with cellophane. Add a bow and you’re all set. At the supermarket, one big bar of laundry soap costs about $2.50. Or sometimes I find a package of 3 cubes for about $3.00.

(Another side note: When I was a newlywed, my mother gave me a block of soap just like this — including the French flag ribbon — that she had found at a gift shop — or maybe TJ Maxx. : ) I loved it! It sat on our windowsill for about a year, because I felt it was too pretty to use. But when I finally opened it, it was my favorite for handwashing my delicates.)

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

Here’s another one for kids. In the school supply aisle, you’ll find small, rounded corner, two-sided chalkboards. French kids use them in school to practice their script. One side is plain and the other is covered in graph lines. Aren’t they cute?

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

If you wanted, you could plus it up by adding a little cord for hanging, but they’re just as cute the way they come (which is cordless).

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

Next up, simple ceramic bowls and dishes. Every French grocery store has a kitchen aisle with all sorts of various ceramics. My favorites are the footed bowls in every shade of the rainbow. We call them hot cocoa bowls at our house, because we were taught that French children drink their morning chocolat chaude from these lovely little bowls. They are very French! And can be found in different sizes and colors for about 1 euro ($1.25) each.

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

But it’s not just bowls! You can find all sorts of small bakeable ceramic dishes in varying shapes and sizes. I like the ones pictured for their delicate shade of blue/grey. You can use them to bake individual portions, or for creme brulée, or just as small dishes for ingredient prep. Again, they run about 1 euro each.

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

Stack them up, add a bow, and they make a fabulous souvenir! You could even fill them with French salt as an added bonus.

french 5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

Another idea is candy. That’s a no brainer, right? But the candy that’s boxed and promoted as a gift can be quite expensive. So I recommend buying some favorites that come in not-that-pretty packaging, and transferring them to a cellophane bag instead. (Here is my favorite French flag ribbon, and cellophane bags.)

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

My three picks: 1) Salted Caramels. Since salt and dairy are French specialities, you can bet they take pride in their salted caramels. Even the inexpensive ones are delicious! The ones pictured are made in France and don’t have any branding on their wrappers. So they look great in a cellophane bag. These caramels run about $2.50.

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom
5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

2) Vichy mints. These are classic. Again, they’re very French with a distinctive shape and branding.

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

I always keep these in my handbag for quick breath freshening. They’re not too strong and have that perfect texture somewhere between crispy and chalky. A bag runs about $2.00.

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom
5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

3) Licorice gums. Reglisse, which means licorice, is a very popular flavor in France. In fact, you can even find reglisse ice cream! So this is another candy that feels super French.

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

The texture of these is nice and chewy — more chewy than an American gum drop. And the flavor is perfection, at least, if you’re a licorice fan. : ) Luckily, my kids don’t favor black licorice, so when we buy these, Ben Blair and I get to eat the whole bag ourselves. A bag runs about $2.

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

The next idea can be found in the grocery store near the aluminum foil and plastic wrap. French stores offer lots of little paper containers for serving individual portions. I love these! And think they make a great gift for anyone in your life who has a thing for party supplies. They can be used for all sorts of things — like party favor holders, dessert dishes, or to organize your jewelry drawer.

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

Repackage them in cellophane, add a bow and you’re all set. Little cartons like these are around 2 euros (or $2.50) for the whole package.

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

The fourth souvenir idea is a good one for school age kids, teens, or even adults. Head to the school supply aisle and pick up a fountain pen, and a famed Rhodia notebook. Every French student uses both of these. They are an absolute fixture in French schools.

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

The pens comes in many designs and colors and they include 2 ink cartridges. (I recommend picking up a bag of ink refills while you’re there.) The pens are about $2 each.

Rhodia notebooks are a French staple. They come in various shapes and sizes, but they’re always the signature golden yellow/orange, and the pages are always small graph lines. A pen and a notebook together make a fun and very French gift.

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

I think you might laugh at this last idea, but it’s a really good one for foodies! There are tons of amazing and famous French foods but they can be tricky as gifts. For example, foie gras would make an excellent French souvenir for a foodie, but even tiny containers are usually priced starting at $10 and up. And the Normandy butter is out of this world, but how do you transport butter? French mustard is amazing too, but packing up a glass bottle can cause stress. So when I’m looking for foodie souvenirs, I favor items in tin cans. And my favorite pick is… Sardines!

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

Confession: I don’t actually like to eat sardines. But the packaging is so fabulous, that I end up buying them anyway. Hah! Some come in oil, some in tomato sauce, some with herbs. But they’re all very inexpensive at around $2.50 each. And the cans are so handsome, they are pretty much irresistible.

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

Stack two or three, add a bow, and you’ve got yourself a souvenir any foodie would love!

There you have it. Ten French souvenirs under $5. Hopefully you’ll be all set on your next trip to France. You’ll buy gifts for everyone you know without eating up your entire travel budget!

And now I’d love to hear. What did I miss? What would you add? And when are you headed to France?

P.S. — When you’re in the school supply aisle picking up a fountain pen, don’t miss the elastic closure and belt closure folders. I adore these! I’m bringing home a stack of them. If you have a friend who crushes on office supplies, these would make a great gift!

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom


145 thoughts on “Ten Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5”

  1. LOVE this post! What great ideas! It always seems to be the little things that make the best souvenirs. My uncle recently came back from London with a cheap bib from Harrod’s for my 18 month old son. It’s oilcloth with teddy bears and Harrod’s printed all over it. Such a silly thing to love, but love it we do! It’s always fun to find things that just aren’t available in the States.

  2. I love the yogurt jars. What a brilliant idea! I have an interesting observation for you:) When we lived in Europe and visited France, I could not believe how cheap is Sophie the Giraffe! Here in the US it’s almost $25 and french drugstores sell this toys for 6 Euros!:) It might be a nice present for a family with small kids, since it’s so popular and babies love it!

    1. I’m afraid mine get grabbed up by visitors before I ever get a chance to ship them. But it seems like there would be an enterprising French/American that would stock them in an etsy shop. I’ve never actually done a search — maybe there is.

        1. Thanks for the comment Catelli. A question: is there actually some ‘test’ that can be done to see if content analysis is going on, beyond just realizing that a lot of stuff is being filtered or something like that? I’m unfamiliar with a technique that would definitively prove that such analysis was going on. I can’t see how there is a direct and/or necessary correlation between not being able to access particular websites, and DPI being used for packet analysis techniques.

    2. If you’re visiting San Francisco, you can pick up French yogurt jars at Cowgirl Creamery in the ferry building!

      1. As a Frenchwoman with parents living in the US, you have totally nailed this list as they are also staple little items for French expats living abroad, especially the seal salt and soaps. These are always requested to be in my suitcase.
        On a different note, these yogurt jars can be found sometimes on “leboncoin.fr” (our French eBay, very popular in France) for 25 jars as little as 6 euros ($8) :)

    3. La fermiere yogurt is sold in US. Lafermiere.com

      It’s expensive. Almost, $3 per jar. I wait for it to be on sale and it’s a special treat. Would love to hear the price in France.

    4. You can buy La fermière yogurt in select stores in the US.

      Searching La Fermière online brings up ebay and etsy listings, but they’re expensive.

  3. What great ideas! I always say that the best souvenirs (or party favors, or what have you) are ones that are meant to be used, and used up — specifically so you can avoid that problem of what to do with a tiny Eiffel tower that just…sits there. Forever. The trinkets marketed at tourists never seem to have much to do with the place itself, either; I’m always more drawn to the things that you’d see the residents themselves using. But it never would have occurred to me to check the grocery store! If someone presented me with one of those little yogurt pots of salt, I would be over the moon. Thanks so much for sharing — and please do share more!

  4. Hi Gabrielle! I think this is such an awesome post! We used to live in Switzerland and, after grocery shopping there for some time, I realized there were so many small, inexpensive things that other friends (in the US) would appreciate. We did a lot of repackaging and gifting just like this. So I love seeing a French version! Please show us your other ideas. The next time we’re in Paris (never soon enough!), we may just use your “secrets”. Thanks for sharing ~ so fun!

    1. Audrey,

      We just moved to Swirzerland a few weeks ago. Please, pretty please will you share the souvenirs you liked best?

      And, Gabrielle –
      Thank you for this list! It is brilliant. We will be in Paris in late April during school holiday and I will be hunting down each and every one of these items. :)

      By the way, are you still in love with that VW Eurovan? We have 4 kids so if this experience turns into a forever-stay, we will be considering a van purchase. Would love your opinion!



  5. Thanx, Gabrielle ~

    Your post could not have come at a better time since I’m prepping for late spring/early summer trip to France.

    I aim to return home with the salt, cleaning cloths, and laundry soap, both to give and to keep. With some yogurt jars to boot!

      1. When I was a child, there was a Carreforre here in the United States, just outside of Philadelphia! We used to go there as a family to shop once a week and it was always quite an adventure. They had a strawberry pie that we loved!

  6. This list is perfect. I was in France recently, in a tiny alpine village, with no transport to the bigger shops. Although the object of the trip was to ski, for me a holiday is not a holiday without a browse around the shops. So I headed to the tiny supermarket in the village and got some soaps. Now I have a huge one by the kitchen sink and LOVE it. French soap is the best. I wish I’d known about the salt and the little blackboards though! They would be great for long journeys.

    1. I’m the same way, Lucy. A trip to a new country just isn’t complete for me until I’ve visited a grocery store or a hardware store — that sort of thing. I feel like they give such a good sense about what makes that country unique, and they offer a really clear window into food and culture.

  7. Such a great roundup of unique and thoughtful souvenirs. We brought back Fleur De Sel and some Mariages Freres teas when we were last in Paris as gifts but I wish I had seen those dish cloths and yogurt jars. So sweet!

  8. Great suggestions. I bought (and ate) three of the yogurts in the little periwinkle jars when we were in France and brought them home. I use them as mini vases for flowers. I so wish I had seen the red ones – I guess I need to go back.

    I would love to see a post on the other side of the topic – what to take as gifts to someone living in France. We visit our friends in Normandy every year or so (and send them presents at Christmas) and it is tough to think of original Canadian/North American gifts. We have done a lot of maple products, but we might have exhausted that idea ;)

    1. The red ones only come out at Christmas — I’m sure that’s why you missed them. But the offerings seem to change pretty regularly. On Friday, I saw some bright green ones! They were flavored apple-kiwi. Yum.

  9. This is gorgeous and funny– I’m sure French people are laughing at Americans right now. “They buy soap and slateboards and yogurt and towels for souvenirs? Ha!” I know I’d feel the same way if I knew people were buying American Pyrex and mops and cheese and…

    Well, I guess I’d think it was funny because there are lots of things we don’t make ourselves. We ship them in from other countries. But now that I think about it, tourists go to the Tillamook cheese factory and buy cheese to ship home with them– and they sell the same cheese in grocery stores throughout the state. In, fact, I just finished with a cup of Tillamook yogurt– and I’m really proud that it was made here in my state.

    Gabby, you’re so brilliant that I don’t even stop to think about it anymore. :D

    1. Kate, that is exactly what happened. Hah! I was taking photos of all this stuff, and our friend, Severin, who helps me take care of the house, was vacuuming while simultaneously watching me. She kept looking at me like I was absolutely insane. Why in the world was I putting ribbons on cleaning cloths?

  10. Yes! I hope I make it back to France someday and I would love to have more of these affordable ideas. Even if I don’t make it back I love this kind of post! Awesome!

  11. THANK YOU!!!!!! I’m headed to Paris on April 17th to celebrate my big 4-0! I’ve been reading your blog forever and am finally going to be able to see some of the things you write about! I’m very nervous about not speaking French but I still can’t wait!!!

    1. Best birthday celebration ever! I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time. Be prepared to be blown away by the Eiffel Tower. It makes my heart stop every single time I see it.

  12. This may be one of my favorite France posts so far. Genius, beautiful, and cheap! I think the toy money could be a fun thing to collect from every country you visit.

  13. I love all those ideas, please do share the rest! Amazing how vintagey they all feel – the cloths, the beautiful, stamped soap blocks, and those darling chalkboards – they are my favourite! Amazing that they use them in school – love!

  14. yes! Other great inexpensive souvenirs and gifts you can find in a big grocery, department store or Monoprix include chocolate bars, unusual mustards, jars of Herbes de Provence, tins of foie gras, honey, Clairefontaine notebooks and stationery (I love the Pollen correspondence cards), little espresso cups and spoons, oval gratin dishes, cheese knives, Duralex glasses in all sizes, cafe au lait bowls, change purses, tins for storing rice/pasta/other kitchen staples, colorful toothbrushes…

  15. Love this post. I am constantly adding to my list of things I find here in Qatar (that are affordable) to take back. Not much is actually made here, since nearly everything is imported, but I have found a few gems that have been a big hit back in the US.

    It is entertaining to see what different interest cultures have and take back home. Electronics seem to be something that nearly every Southeast Asian wants to take home, but as an American, I can get a MUCH better selectiona nd price back in the US. I see a lot of cheap chocolate (we aren’t even talking good European chocolate) and soap stocked up. The soap does have glitter in it, but I would prefer the French version any day.

    I would love to see the extended list, and I wouldn’t mind eating some of that yogurt, let alone ending up with a beautiful little jar.

    1. Hi Lindsay,
      I’m also an American in Qatar and I would love to know what kind of gifts you have found here to take home with you to the US. If you don’t mind sharing gift ideas, I would love to add something creative to the usual box of dates and spices. Thanks!!

      I’ll be in Paris next month and I’ll definitely be shopping for your clever gift ideas. Merci!!

      1. Sorry I just read your reply to my post, Jeanne, and if you are like a lot of Americans in the Middle East, you may be gone for the summer. I am still here. Ideas of things to bring from Qatar/Middle East: everyone who comes over gets a pashmina to combat the cold from the A/C and they always want more to take back home (the cheap ones from the souq). They are also nice to wrap around gifts instead of wrapping them up. I have also taken arabic candies, dates (including the ones covered in chocolate or stuffed with nuts), date syrup, frankensence and myrrh (I buy some and then buy little wooden carved boxes and put a few “rocks” of each in the box. It is a favorite Christmas gift and is super inexpensive). The duty-free at the airport has camel milk chocolate as does the Kempinski Gourmet House. The chocolates are expensive, so we buy the larger box (18 pralines in a wooden box) of camel shaped pralines and then wrap a couple separately for each person we are giving them to. You also end up with a really cool box to put something in for someone else. Honey is another great gift. We get ours from a Yemeni guy at the souq, too. I like honey in general, so that is always a hit gift from anywhere in the world. I would love to see what people like to take back/receive from different countries. If you are an expat, where are you from and what do you miss?

      2. One more thing, we buy these flat Yemeni baskets that we give to people for a bread basket. They are about 20-30 QR ($5-8) and add an inexpensive cloth napkin. If I am really with it, I get someone’s family name embroidered in Arabic at a tailor/embroiderer.

  16. Lisa in Monaco

    Great post!! My sister and her husband are chefs in New Jersey and they LOVE when I bring the amazing French sea salt back with me when I go to USA for a visit (I also live in France/Monaco)…the large bags get a little heavy in my luggage though…but this gives me more room for shopping in the USA! I also love those yogurt pots, can never bring myself to throw them out.

    1. Monaco! Ben Blair and I have tentative plans for a weekend away from the kids in Monaco in June. It’s still months away, but sometimes I think about it longingly already. Do you think June will be warm in Monaco? Last year, June was still quite cold her in Normandy. We didn’t warm up until we visited the U.S. in July. : )

      1. Lisa in Monaco

        oh fun, good for you for a get-away weekend!! Is it your first time to Monaco? Yes, for sure June will be warm. Although this has been a strange year for weather, still snowing in the ski mountains in Italy and France around here. Let me know if I can help you in any way. I guess you can see my email address on the blog comments somewhere?

  17. What a fun and darling post! I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s comments, too … make me feel all swoony and nostalgic for my time spent living in France.

    A couple I would add:

    – the clear glass dessert (pot de crème and such) dessert pots – eat the yummy pudding or treat first, and then bring them home – I use them as ramekins, jam dishes, even candle holders!

    – the adorable little footed cereal bowls that are so hard to find this side of the ocean

    – I loved that the French seemed to love pens and other writing materials, and my local papeterie had the sweetest things for not super expensive

    – I sort of collect errant cutlery, and though it’s more common here now, I loved the clear resin or acrylic-handled (all multicoloured) silverware

    – when I’m travelling I often look for chewing gum or sweets … things available in France would be anything lavender-, organge- or violet-flavoured, like Mme Flavigny’s violet sweets come in a cute little tin

    Thank you again for this post!

    – sarah in Canada

    1. Dear me. You’ve never know English is my first language due to all my typos! Please chalk it up to excitement at the thought of wee puddings!
      – sarah

  18. Love all these ideas. The toy money is my favorite. My daughter got to harvest salt from Brittany herself last year when she was there on a field trip. She was so proud to bring it back and it is the most useful and precious souvenir I have. My go to French supermarket souvenirs are the reusable grocery bags. Our local SuperU has very stylish black and white ones with the Eiffel Tower on them for less than a Euro. Everyone loves them!

    1. Lisa in Monaco

      What a great idea about the large grocery bags, some of the artwork and designs are amazing!! I never thought about this. Thanks Nicola.

  19. When we lived in Toulouse, “papier d’Armenie,” and mustard were other big favorites that we would bring on trips to the states. Oh, Le Petite Marseilliais liquid bath soap in Verveine Citron was also a big hit. I’d take salt back too but never thought to present it as nicely as you did above. Hope I remember for next time!

    Great list.

    Bises, Denise

    1. Hello, can you please tell from where can I get the “Papier d’Armenie”? Is it available in the normal super markets? in which section?

      Thanks in advance.

  20. What wonderful ideas! I always like to buy local consumables for friends and family when we travel (spices, candies, coffee, etc). So much of the price is in the packaging, so I love these tips. I don’t know why I never thought to repackage purchases! This will definitely change our shopping strategy on our next trip!

  21. What a wonderful post and lots of great ideas! As an European myself, have to get some toy Euros from our next trip to bring back to my son’s friends back home in the US.

    Keeping with the theme, what “souvenirs” would you bring from the US to your French friends?

    1. Great idea for a post, Nina! Perhaps I’ll tackle it when I get back to the States.

      When we lived in Colorado and had visitors, I loved putting together welcome baskets with local goodies. Izze sodas are made in Colorado, and my favorite cinnamon rolls: Duffeyrolls!

      1. I was just thinking I would LOVE a post like that. I have a French pen pal, and I wanted to send her a care package of things American things. A people magazine, etc. I was trying to think of food items but drawing a blank. Someone once said peanut butter. Ideas?

    2. I had the same question. I wonder what it is that people from other countries are most interested in receiving from the US or bringing back from their travels.

      1. France in France

        As a Frenchwoman now back in France after years in the US, I’d beg for Reeses Peanut Butter Cups:-)

        1. Yes, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups! And Wintergreen Tic-Tacs (they don’t sell that flavor in Switzerland and a couple of my friends love-love-love it). And for little kids: All the cute band-aids with Snoopy, Curious George, Big Bird and Co.

  22. Gabrielle,

    How I wish I had seen some of these posts earlier this year! Guess what my son brought us home from France? Little Eiffel Towers. If only I had known what I wanted! He did bring home some fabulous French clothes, for himself! LOL! Hoping to visit France next year though and then I will get these darling souvenirs for myself!


    1. I should be more careful not to disparage Eiffel Tower keychains. We had at least a dozen! They come in handy and they do feel oh-so-French (though I image they’re made in China).

  23. Great ideas! Inspires me to travel just so I can look for gifts that are unique to a place! So much more authentic and interesting than typical souvineers! Yes, please.. more ideas!

  24. This is a wonderful list, Gabrielle, and perfect timing for me as my family and I plan to spend the month of June in Paris. In past visits, I’ve gone the route of soap and chocolate but these ideas are so much better and easier on the budget (leaving more precious euros for my daily fromage addiction!). I’d love to hear of your additional gift ideas. Thank you so much.

  25. I will be in Paris in July and am looking forward to finding some practical little things. Some of my best finds were in German flea markets. We bought a huge china turkey platter in Berlin for about 6 euros and got it home in one piece. I like to collect buttons and my husband likes to find children’s books that help him with his German.

  26. Years ago I bought honey from each country I went to. It did get heavy but it was fun to compare the flavors when I got back to the US. Luckily, none broke on the journey back.

  27. What wonderful ideas – thanks so much for sharing! I can never get enough of your ‘French life’ posts and will miss them so much when your family moves!

    1. You might be in luck, Danielle. If our cottage purchase goes through (all signs point to yes!), we’ll be spending lots of time here as we fix it up so that it’s inhabitable. It’s very possible there will be French posts for a long time still. : )

  28. Great post! We just returned from a few months in Paris and I had to bring home the yogurt pots! They are the best gift and each person was incredibly appreciative.
    We also brought home liquid hand soap and the Le Petit Marseillais lotion.
    Can’t wait to return soon for the salt and chalk boards.

  29. French salt is my favorite! I am nearing the bottom of the little pot I got in Provence last year. I guess it’s time to plan another trip!

  30. Those are great souvenirs! Whenever we had to France, I like to stop at Carre Four and stock up on Petit Bateau clothes for my nieces and nephews. There underwear and onesies are always so cute and very affordable at Carre Four. And of course tons of chocolate bars! I also always come home with Kinder Eggs for everyone (I’m living in Germany), although I believe it isn’t legal because the toys are too small. So ridiculous.

  31. I love the idea of buying salt! It’s perfect to cook fish! In France, I always buy cheese and wine. I also love cookies from la Bretagne. We have big French supermarkets here in Barcelona, so we have many French products, but I love buying simple things, for example, pencil cases or notebooks, so that these things become part of ordinary (but beautiful) life.

  32. As a fan of your blog and a skin cream “addict” I love the beauty products you have mentioned in the blog. I bought the Nuxe oil for my skin and love it. I got it through Amazon but lo and behold when I was in Toronto the whole range of products (I mean three full shelves) was at my daughter’s local Shopper Drug Mart pharmacy, right by St Lawrence Market. I continue to use their products every day and say thank you Design Mom for guiding me to this great product. Maybe some perfumes from France would be a special treat to bring back, or as my Dad did after the Second World War a piece of lace or special fabric.

  33. I have only one thing to say about those souvenirs – superbly cute! I love their uniqueness and how these are remarkably affordable. Thanks for the wonderful ideas.

  34. Thank you for a great list! I would love to see some more ideas! My husband and I are taking a trip to Paris the first week of May for our anniversary. I’m so excited! I would love to hear more souvenir ideas and absolute must sees. I’ve enjoyed your posts about visiting Paris, as well as your sister Jordan’s. very helpful!

  35. These are fabulous ideas! I have those yogurt pots coming out my eyes ha! They are just to cute to toss though right? And I never would have thought to use the little chalkboards the boys use for penmanship for gifts! I may or may have been known to freeze one of the giant blocks of Sel De Mar butter for friends as well ha! Though not the best item for your checked bag if it gets lost. Non perishable is much safer :) We have non stop guest from now until June and I am definitely going to be taking them to Carrefore instead of Trocadero from now on. Thanks!

    1. Those yogurt cups! We currently have a huge stockpile because we have lots of visitors coming this month and those cups are always a favorite for bringing home.

  36. This is AWESOME. I just bookmarked it even though I have no plans to travel to France (or anywhere abroad) anytime soon :) You never know!

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