Did you even go to Europe if you didn’t bring home some touristy memorabilia as a keepsake to your time on the road? These little keepsakes hold cherished memories, everyday reminders of the places you visited, the people you met and the experiences you shared. Whether you’re taking a tour of Paris or skiing in the French Alps, be sure to take home some of these quintessentially French trinkets to your loved ones. Packed a little piece of France in your suitcase home with this guide to 6 things you can only buy in France.
1. Tropéziennes Sandals
Nothing says summer in France like a pair of Tropéziennes and a sundress. Many are surprised to discover that these trendy leather sandals originate in the French Riviera. A popular shoe of choice among models and celebrities, you can also find copycat versions of these chic sandals on the high street all over the world. While look-alike styles can be a cheaper alternative, the original shoe has a certain style and comfort that can’t be replicated. If you want to get your hands on an authentic pair of these stylish sandals, you’ll have to seek them out in France’s Saint Tropez. Local designers, like Rondini, have been making these exact same shoes with the finest materials for over 90 years.
2. Champagne Merch
France and fine wine go hand-and-hand. Perhaps there is no French wine more well-known and universally adored than Champagne. Indeed, this luxury beverage from the French region of Champagne, may be available to purchase worldwide but its paraphernalia isn’t. From Champagne cozies, to keep your bottle chilled, to branded shipping cases to protect your bottle in transit, Champagne merchandise is almost as glamorous as the drink itself. Peruse the gift shops of Champagne vineyards and wine houses to pick up the perfect boozy gift for your Champagne-obsessed pal. Enjoy some delicious Champagne for yourself, in its hometown, on a day trip to Champagne from Paris.
3. Chestnut paste
In case you didn’t already know, the French are crazy about chestnuts. Unusual as it might sound, chestnut paste is an essential product on the grocery list in France. This delicious paste is France's answer to peanut butter. It is created from steamed chestnuts, chestnut flakes, vanilla and sugar. Locals love to spread it on toast, use it as a topping for crêpes, add it to the top of their ice-cream or use it as a filler between layers of cake. Impress your friends back home by taking a jar of this quintessentially French treat home with you.
You’ll stumble upon lots of quirky foods as you tour Paris and Thïonade is up there with the most unusual. This paste like substance can be found in Paris’ stylish 11th arrondissement. It is made in Provence and is a unique, yet delicious, blend of tuna, olives, tomatoes and garlic. It is the perfect topping for every Parisian's favorite crispy baguette. Not only does it taste surprisingly great but, with no preservatives, no coloring, and no artificial flavors, it’s pretty good for you too.
5. Angelina Chocolate
With chestnut paste, Thïonade and world-famous chocolate, your taste buds are in for a treat when you visit Paris. Angelina chocolate is an iconic treasure in the City of Light. It was founded by confectioner Antoine Rumpelmayer, in 1903, and named after his daughter-in-law. Over the past decade this Parisian tearoom has gained a reputation for being the finest and most elegant of its kind in France. Its chocolate must be tasted to be believed and is a must-try on any Paris visit, especially as Angelina sell products exclusively in the city of Paris. From the very beginning, Angelina has been a much-loved hangout spot for the Parisian elite. Proust and Coco Chanel rubbed opted for Angelina’s salons as their meeting place when working on designs and projects with the biggest names in fashion. With clientele like that, who knows who you’ll run into when you visit Angelina’s for yourself!
6. Healing Potions
Some of the more unusual stores you’ll come across during some Parisian retail therapy, or on a Paris sightseeing tour, is the city’s much-loved parapharmacies. Not commonly found in the rest of the western world, these parapharmacies offer patients an array of alternative healing remedies that you wouldn’t find in traditional pharmacies. Parapharmacies are often standalone retail units or can be part of a more formal medical pharmacy. They bridge the gap between conventional medication and natural cures. We definitely recommend perusing some of these fascinating parapharmacies on your Paris city tour and be sure to stock up on some of their highly sought-after products while you’re there. Some must-haves include Embryolisse, a light touch face moisturizer that is used behind the scenes of every catwalk show, and Cicalfate, a seriously effective eraser for blemishes and scars. With products like these you’ll be returning from your French vacation looking a million dollars.
Whether your time vacation in France takes you on a Versailles day trip from Paris or on a guided tour of the Eiffel Tower, be sure to take a little piece of this amazing country home with you with one of these typically French souvenirs.