First time in Paris and wondering what everybody's thougts on the best things to buy in Paris? (in terms of price, uniqueness, memorable, souvenir).. thank!
I always buy food. Mustard, spices, vinegar, floral essences, tinned paté, oil, etc.
My suitcases weigh 5,000 tons coming back.
While it is a little pricey, I think that a great souvenir is a jar of the Opera Garnier honey. The honey still comes from bees on the roof of Garnier, after the bees were abandoned there years ago...after perhaps having been used to produce honey to coat and protect the throats of singers? (I am unsure of the exact story...maybe someone else knows more of it? It is a bit of a legend at this point). You can purchase the unique honey at Fauchon, by la Madeleine.
If you are interested in Longchamp bags that are better prices in Paris, buy a few at the Bon Marche. Once you spend E175 (I think this is the amount) you are eligible for some of the VAT rebate ... the French taxes. Ask about this at your place of purchase.
The bags are excellent and I plan to buy another one or two when in Paris end August.
Last summer (my 3rd trip to Paris) there was a coffee store on our street (Comptoir Richard on rue St. Dominique in the 7th) that carried the same cups and saucers as the cafes in Paris use. I purchased a set and love drinking my cafe creme each morning thinking of Paris.
I also love the scarves that I have purchased at markets in Paris.
I also love a store "La Vaissellerie " for expresso spoons, small pitchers, and creative Paris refrigerator magnets. They have lots of fun kitchen stuff.
80, Bd Haussmann
Métro Auber ou Havre Caumartin
85, rue de Rennes
Métro Saint Sulpice
79, rue Saint-Lazare
332, rue Saint-Honoré
92, rue Saint-Antoine
Métro Saint Paul
I also collect the J. Carlton (Gault-type) miniature buildings, cafes, etc., of Paris. They are found in alot of the souvenir-type stores on Rue de Rivoli. I have them in a greenhouse window in my kitchen and love seeing them everyday.
Do a search on this site under "what to buy in Paris" or "souvenirs of Paris" and you'll come up with alot of suggestions!
To be honest, the exchange rate on the dollar is just not great, so makes it hard to find a real quality deal. So I suggest, a couple bottles of wine to enjoy back home when reminiscing about your time in Paris. Just use extra care when packing it into your suitcase as wine bottles are no longer permitted for carry-on. Also, you have to go to Laduree to have their macaroons. They don't keep for a souvenir though. You should go to Ile Saint Louis behind Notre Dame Cathedral. It is a very quaint neighbourhood with a lot of great little shops.
Fragonard face cream. They have many other lovely items but the face cream is the best. I like the store on St. Germaine.
Be sure to by macaroons. I brought some home and froze them.
The pharmacies have lots of cool stuff. Especially good sun screen.
It is not a legend but a cute story :-)
In 1982 a man who worked at Opéra Garnier bought a country house and a swarm of bees to go with it (he was a bee-expert). Unfortunately there were delays with the house
and he asked permission to put the bee-hive on the roof.
When the house was finally ready, the bees were in great shape and very busy making honey. They remained on the roof and there are now 8 beehives.
Whenever I go to France (or St Barth), I make an effort to keep an eye out for what the emerging trends are - and pick up whatever the chic-est French women seem to be wearing that fits with my style (I'm no fashion victim!). Whatever it is, I'm a year ahead of the curve in NYC...
A few years ago a French friend in St Barth served oursine (sea urchin) that came from a jar. It was wonderful and tasted like the freshest uni sushi... I looked all over for it in the supermarket in St Barth (it was Christmas, so probably sold out). I will definitely be looking for this in Paris!
The scarves for sure. I picked up 4 of them in a week in May. They are just beautiful, and unlike the scarves one finds here. Plus, they are quite affordable.