From iconic French luxury goods to specialty “Made in Paris” souvenirs, here are our picks for unique Parisian treasures sure to remind you of your time in the City of Light.
Paris is the capital of romance, and fittingly, also the capital of lingerie. Several of the world’s finest lingerie brands come from the city, including Carine Gilson, Aubade and Simone Pérèle. On the Left Bank in Saint Germain, you’ll find the intimate flagship store for Carine Gilson, where racks are filled with delicate silk robes and lacey unmentionables.
Iconic lingerie brands Aubade and Simone Pérèle are both available in Parisian department stores, such as Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and Le Bon Marché. A handmade piece from a smaller lingerie brand like Odile de Changy or Monette is another great item to bring home, whether for yourself or for a special someone.
Candles and Artisanal Scents
In addition to lacey négligées, France is known for its mastering of specialty perfumes and candles. While the French capital for scents is Grasse in the South of France, Paris has a handful of iconic perfume and candle brands unique to the city.
Diptyque is one of the original fragrance makers in Paris. Its flagship store, at 34 Boulevard Saint Germain, is where everything began in 1961. Signature scents, such as Philosykos and 34, are divine for both the body and the home.
Another brand that reigns supreme is Cire Trudon, the oldest French scent maker in the world. Established in 1643, the original Parisian candle maker was once the official wax maker for Louis XIV and has made all of the candles for Versailles Palace through the end of the monarcy. Still on the Left Bank in its original flagship store, the Cire Trudon universe takes you back to the time of kings and queens, with scents like Ernesto and Cathedral.
Mad et Len is a scent maker unlike the others, as each of its candles and perfumes is numbered and marked by the craftsman who created it. Released only in limited edition and made from the finest essential oils in the world, the candles by Mad et Len are another unique souvenir to bring home with you from Paris. Mad et Len is sold at L’Eclaireur, a luxury concept store found in six locations around the city.
Another original brand to look for while visiting the city is Astier de Villatte, a relatively young brand that has gained a cult-like following for its scented candles and handmade porcelain. Its store in Saint Germain is full of beautiful, one-of-a-kind porcelain pieces to decorate your table, as well as handmade candles to envelop your home in enchanting scents.
One of the best places to find several unique scent brands all under one roof is the newly opened perfume store Nose in the 2nd arrondissement. It stocks French brands like Kilian, which was created by the grandson of the founder of LVMH, as well as L’Artisan Parfumeur, among many other international brands.
Leather Goods and Accessories
Paris is perhaps best known for its luxury brands and high fashion houses. The emblem of Saint Laurent, Céline and Louis Vuitton, the iconic red soles of Christian Louboutin, and a custom travel trunk are just a few.
The flagship Christian Louboutin store in the 1st arrondissement is another unique place to shop for those iconic red-soled shoes. While you can find Louboutins in nearly every country in the world, the flagship store has an impressive selection of limited-edition and exclusive styles.
Parisian leather goods label Goyard makes a beautiful array of products that are only available in-store, not online, making one of its bags a perfect souvenir to take home with you — simple and understated, yet still luxurious. In its flagship boutique on Rue Saint Honoré, shoppers have the opportunity to order a custom monogrammed bag, hand painted by the Goyard artisans. If you’re looking to make a stylish travel statement, it’s also known for its luxurious travel trunks, which it began making in 1792.
Just down the street from Goyard and Moynat, another well-known Parisian leather goods maker, is the must-visit Parisian concept store, Colette. Colette just celebrated its 16th anniversary and stocks a unique range of luxury brands, as well as exclusive capsule collections and collaborative collections with various artists and designers. Colette also stocks perfumes, books and music, and has a charming restaurant called The Water Bar in the basement. Another special souvenir to take home from Colette is its “surprise bag” filled with goodies hand-picked by the stylish staff.
Photos courtesy of Astier de Villate, Goyard, Mad et Len, Diptyque and Colett