Shopping in Paris is one of the city's great highlights, which is no surprise when you consider it's one of the world's leading capitals of fashion, luxury and good food. The City of Light, as it's known, exudes a unique atmosphere which chimes as if inviting you to experience its pleasures and delights. When meandering through the streets, it's almost impossible to avoid being tempted by a spot of window shopping, to raid the pâtisseries or to fall for the pretty knick-knacks of times gone by. 

    Whether decorations, high-end clothes, sweet treats or cultural items, we're willing to bet your bags will be bursting at the seams thanks to the irresistible lure of the small boutiques or large retailers found in Paris. So long magnets and keyrings, here are some original souvenir ideas that will ensure your memories of Paris last long after you've left.

    1

    Pastries

    The taste of Paris

    Bakers and cake shops are fundamental to the Parisian landscape and an essential part of life in the capital's districts. A gourmet array that would tempt the staunchest savoury food lover. Tasty pastries you can find in Paris include butter croissants (flaky crescent-shaped pastries), pains au chocolat (flaky square-shaped pastries with a chocolate centre), viennoises (breakfast pastries) or éclairs (a long pastry filled with pastry cream and glazed in chocolate). 

    Lesser-known varieties include Saint-Honoré, (a cake topped with a ring of cream puffs and pastry cream). Parie Brest (a cake shaped like a wheel, filled with hazelnut and almond cream and topped with flaked almond), religieuses (2 cream puffs filled with cream and topped with chocolate glaze and whipped cream), mille-feuilles (a cake with pastry cream between three thin layers of puff pastry) to macarons (a crispy bite-sized meringue confection with a soft centre). 

    Open: Varies by business

    2

    Local designer clothes

    Be stylish and support local creative talent

    Designer clothes from Paris make a great gift, and there are many up-and-coming labels to choose from as well as the major fashion brands. Enjoy your trip in the capital and secure one of their pieces for yourself or for your loved ones back home. Bespoke skirts at Petites Jupes de Prune, Japanese-style tunics at Hazar and Co., colourful, reversible vests at Bleu tango, sixties-inspired dresses at Héroïne, wacky pumps at Pring — it's a tough decision. 

    Some of the boutiques, such as like Pop Market and French Touche, bring several designers under one roof. Le Maris neighbourhood and Les Abbesses in the 13th district are both particularly favourable for discovering small designers.

    Open: Varies by business

    3

    A portrait drawn by an artist at Place du Tertre

    See yourself from the perspective of a talented artist

    • Couples
    • Families
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    La Place du Tertre is an essential part of any visit to Montmartre and evokes a fragrance of yesteryear. The historic place is surrounded by bistro and restaurant terraces. Here, up to 300 painters, silhouette artists and portrait painters with concentrated expressions and cheerful smiles work in rotation, with charcoal or paintbrush in hand. 

    Tourists flock here, but with its cobblestone streets, colourful awnings and stream of easels, this place retains undeniable charm that would be a shame to miss out on. Why not join in and pose for one of the artists so you can remember this moment forever? Depending on the resemblance, you could leave with a caricature that will have you smiling upon a closer look or with a delicate family portrait to display inside.

    Location: Place du Tertre, 75018 Paris, France

    Open: Morning until sunset

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    4

    A catalogue from an exhibition visited during your trip

    Reimmerse yourself in the world that captivated you

    Museums and galleries are such a part of the capital that it would almost be a crime to visit Paris without seeing an exhibition. Louvre Museum, Grand Palais and Petit Palais, Musée de l'Orangerie, Palais de Tokyo, Centre Pompidou, Musée Marmottan Monet, Musée du Quai Branly, Fondation Cartier — year-round, there are always fascinating exhibitions in these institutions which are intrinsically linked to the city's cultural reputation. 

    The Tourist Office compiles the calendar, which you can consult online or on-site. At the end of your enchanted strolls through whichever museum you choose, don't forget to visit the gift shop and buy postcards of your famous works of art and, of course, an exhibition catalogue, so that you can relive your adventure once you return home.

    Open: Hours vary by museum

    5

    Antique objects

    Rummage around and unearth a gem for display in your living room

    If you're looking for antiques in Paris, Saint-Ouen flea market is the first one that comes to mind. With thousands of merchants and an out-of-the-ordinary location, it's worth strolling around. But it isn't the only flea market that offers a little something to satisfy a bargain hunter's taste for knick-knacks and curiosities. 

    Les Puces de Vanves has beautiful opportunities in store: from unparalleled service, old, incredibly charming old compass and worn-out luggage, everything here is full of history and takes you on an enchanted trip back in time. If you're keen on vintage furniture, don't miss the spring or autumn edition of Puces du Design, and if the second-hand clothes and vinyl are your thing, visit the Marché aux Puces de Montreuil.

    Open: Varies depending on the market

    6

    A Hermès silk square

    Adopt the Parisian chic

    Though the Hermès silk twill square can be bought around the world, and even on the web, procuring one directly from the original shop, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, has a particular appeal. Hermès squares are more than a fashion accessory — they're works of art and a family treasure to be passed down from mother to daughter, grandmother to granddaughter. 

    They are available in a vast number of patterns and colours and manufactured with unsurpassed care. Whether wrapped around the neck, or worn as a bandana or a belt, this perfectly proportioned 90 x 90 cm square adds style to all your outfits and never fails to make an impression. If you've been waiting for a good reason to buy one, your trip to Paris is just the occasion for it.

    Location: 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, France

    Open: Monday—Saturday from 10.30 am to 6.30 pm

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    7

    Old postcards

    Unearth inexpensive gems along the banks of the Seine

    The booksellers along the banks of the Seine sell old postcards that make gifts. These sellers are registered in the French Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and add charm to the place. Their " boxes ", as they are called, sit on parapets of the Parisian riverbanks, from Pont du Marie to Quai du Louvre (right bank) and Quai de la Tournelle to Quai Voltaire (left bank). 

    These historic Parisian sellers offer tourists and locals alike an impressive selection of second-hand publications, old yellow maps, vintage show posters and old postcards showing the Paris of the past. This is the occasion to find unique souvenirs while immersing yourself in literary heritage.

    Open: Morning until sunset

    8

    Luxury beauty products

    To keep the memory of Paris on your skin

    Chanel, Dior, Lancôme, Guerlain — we can't count all the luxury cosmetic brands founded in Paris. It's delightful to wander around under the dome at Galeries Lafayette, a real temple of beauty, and look for just the thing to give you a Parisian look: more than 180 brands, from prestigious to exclusive to more accessible, are spread out over 2500 square metres. 

    You can receive an expert consultation and depart with precious items in hand, whether in the form of a hydrating serum, sublimating cream, brightening elixir, a sparkly eyeshadow or a timeless tube of lipstick. If you prefer even more personalised service, go to Huygens, in Le Marias, and receive a custom-made natural product, or Laboté, a shop selling botanical products at 11, rue Madame in the 6th district.

    Location: Galeries Lafayette: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75 009, Paris, France; Huygens: 24 Rue du Temple, 75004 Paris, France ; Laboté: 11 Rue Madame, 75006 Paris, France

    Open: Galeries Lafayette: Monday–Saturday from 9.30 am to 8.30 pm, Sundays from 11 am to 8 pm ; Huygens: Monday–Friday from 11 am to 8 pm, Saturdays from 10.30 am to 10 pm, Sundays from 1.30 pm to 7.30 pm; Laboté : Monday–Friday from 1 pm to 7 pm, Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm

    9

    Homeware

    Merci and Le Bon Marché are 2 essential shops for everything home-related

    If you love beautiful things, definitely explore Merci and Le Bon Marché on your Paris trip. The first is a real oasis focused on the home, located on boulevard Beaumarchais (20th district). From designer colanders to fine linen hand towels to original lamps, it has everything you need to add chic style to your interiors and is a unique experience within its vast and beautiful laid-out space. Past the left bank, in the 7th district, Le Bon Marché dominates the rue de Sèvre.

    This department store, a pioneer of the concept, is dedicated to the art of living and is the standard for tableware and contemporary furniture. You'll also find fashion items and a luxury supermarket. You won't be able to leave empty handed.

    Location: Merci: 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris, France ; Le Bon Marché : 24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris, France

    Open: Merci: Monday–Saturday from 10 am to 7.30 pm, Sundays from 11 am to 7.30 pm; Le Bon Marché: Monday–Wednesday from 10 am to 8 pm, Thursdays from 10 am to 9 pm, Sundays from 11 am to 10 pm

    photo by hiro449944 (CC BY 3.0) modified

    10

    A book

    Leave Paris with a new book that has a story to tell

    The soul of the city of Paris, as you may have noticed, is intimately connected to the life of its neighbourhoods, which are like little villages. As well as boulangeries (bakeries) this also means book shops. Each district has several, and if you asked a local, they'd undoubtedly tell you that they always go to the same one. 

    You'll easily find your own neighbourhood book shop close to your hotel. But if you want to discover a few of our favourites, be sure to head to Monte-en-l’Air (10th district), Page 189 (11th district) or Shakespeare and Company (5th) for books in English. Reading is not exclusively for Parisians. Still, a book chosen in the capital has a particular appeal.

    Location: Le Monte-en-l’Air: 2 Rue de la Mare, 75020 Paris, France ; Page 189 : 189 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 75011 Paris, France; Shakespeare and Company; 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France

    Open: Le Monte-en-l’Air: Monday–Friday from 10.30 am to 8 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm, Sundays from 1 pm to 8 pm ; Page 189 : Tuesday–Saturday from 10 am to 7.30 pm, Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm and 3.30 pm to 7 pm; Shakespeare and Company : Monday–Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm, Sundays from 12.30 pm to 8 pm

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