Parisian Souvenirs With That Certain 'Je Ne Sais Quoi'
These local, artisanal treasures will keep you stylish, sated, and feeling forever French.
Chanel, Dior, Balmain—ooh la la. The designer name game is real in Paris, but souvenirs need not always cost a week's salary. Plus, you can purchase many of those brands back home, or even online. The same goes for chocolates by Pierre Hermé, or prints, mugs, and bookmarks of Monet's water lilies and Toulouse-Lautrec's cancan dancers. For something unique, try these independent wearables, eatables, and display-ables that will surely up your Francophile factor.
Trés Chic Items to Wear or Carry
Paris is full of charming boutiques and off-kilter shops that offer trinkets made by independent "createurs," as they're called. Stores like Sept Cinq in South Pigalle showcase gold-plated charm necklaces featuring a dangling Eiffel Tower, and Les Impertinentes in the 2nd arrondissement, near popular Rue Montorgueil, offers string bracelets with words like "Bonjour" or "Bonheur" (happiness) etched on gold circles. Expat designers like Kasia Dietz make clever, handprinted totes (pictured) that show allegiance to Rive Gauche, Rive Droite or even certain Parisian postal codes, and are available at stores like Aoshida in the 7th arrondissement.
Tasty Treats That Will Linger
The shelf-life of a baguette is likely shorter than your plane ride home, and a chunk of Beaufort will only make your fellow fliers turn their noses up. Thankfully, Paris offers an array of specialty goodies for gourmands that'll last long after you've unpacked. For big-city aficionados, there's Maison de thé Marriage Freres' "Paris New York" green tea, which highlights a balanced blend of notes that represent the two cities: romantic brioche (Paris) and animated hazelnut (NYC). The mustards from Edmond Fallot, a third generation family business in Burgundy, will dress le hot dog as if it were haute couture, and while the eclairs from L'Eclaire de Genie are sure to squish in the overhead bin, their tubes of caramel in flavors such as sesame orange blossom will sate any sweet tooth. All of these can be found at Lafayette Gourmet.
Iconic Design Troves to Display at Home
Concept shops such as Merci in the Marais are ripe with unique knick-knacks and artistic gems, such as matted prints of the mock magazine project called The Parisianer, made by various local illustrators in the cover style of the New Yorker. There's a Paris scene to suit all tastes, from a classic bistro to the most ubiquitous of all, the Eiffel Tower. British artist Jenni Sparks offers her own playful representation of the city through handdrawn maps, complete with cartoon-style icons for famous monuments and landmarks. The 24-x-24-inch framable pieces are available through Evermade, but they can also be found on mugs and stationary at BHV department store.