10 Things You Need to Bring Back From Paris
The capital of France has around 23 million tourists annually. In fact, it's one of the most popular travel destinations on earth. Every day, hundreds of tourists make their way up the Eiffel Tower to take a selfie from the top of arguably the most recognizable landmark in history. But France is not only the Eiffel Tower. The reasons behind the impressive number of visitors can be found, among others, in the quality of products offered in this city. Read on to find out about 10 French items you must put on your vacation shopping list or shopping list app to bring back from your trip to Paris.
If it’s true that you eat with your eyes first, you can satisfy your appetite just by looking at these soft, colorful cookies with a creamy filling. Nowadays, they came in multiple colors and tastes, but it wasn’t always like that. Although they’ve been known in France for ages, their fame flourished relatively recently when these traditional, dry cookies started to be filled with this soft sweet filling and colored with bright colors.
Parisians fell in love with these new macarons. They opened many macaron shops and declared March 20th to be National Macaroon Day. Nowadays, these tender delicacies can be found all around the world, but it is still worth bringing back a few pieces from their homeland.
#2 Provence, and Marseille Soap
Guess what? Macarons are not the only goods that have a long, colorful history in France. Years ago, only the elite had access to soap. Now we all use these colorful, fragrant bars. Actually, it's hard to imagine our lives without them. So, it's a good idea to bring some hand-crafted French soap home as a souvenir from Paris.
Soap available in Paris is imported from all over France. But, the most recognizable brands, Provence, and Marseille, follow centuries-old soap-making traditions to this day. They use natural ingredients enriched with aromatic fragrances. Plus, aren’t those little bars simply adorable?
#3 Stamped Book from Shakespeare & Company
If you are a bookworm, your trip to Paris would not be complete without a visit to the iconic Shakespeare & Company bookstore. The building that you can visit today was founded by George Whitman in honor of the original Shakespeare and Company, where such wordsmiths like Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce used to hang out. Even though you can no longer bump into either of them, you can still buy their books there.
If you’re afraid this Parisian souvenir would be just like any other book, you needn't fret. Part of the tradition of this institution is that Shakespeare and Company stamps the inside cover of every book sold. This gives it a unique Parisian identity.
#4 Mariage Freres Tea
When visiting Paris, you can't miss one of the five Mariage Freres’ tea rooms. This famous Parisian tea manufacturer is as invested in the taste of its tea as it is in the appearance of its stores. You can delight your eyes with elegantly designed high shelves with dozens of cans of colorful-smelling tea.
Paris is not London, of course, but it would be a mistake to think the French only drink wine. They love tea, too! Mariage Freres stores have been packed full of customers since 1854. Even if you have to queue to get in, it's worth the wait to be able to enjoy authentic French tea there and then, or to buy and enjoy when you return home.
#5 Parisian Perfume
The real charm of Paris is in what you can't see. Follow your nose and you will come across one of many perfume houses in Paris. These beautiful galleries, dripping with richness, sell perfume brands you never heard of. Even if you don't wear perfume, these aromatic novelties might change your habit.
The whole world admires the fragrance and enduring nature of Parisian perfume. They’re, hands down, the best perfume you can find. So, if you’re looking for a more distinguished souvenir, you should definitely buy a bottle.
In the heart of modern Paris, there are many old flea markets. This is where both tourists and Parisians, with a passion for antiquities, meet. You can spend hours digging through hundreds of paintings, books, figurines, tableware, and other precious bric-a-brac. These places are a real treasure trove of unique and interesting souvenirs.
TIP: Bring plenty of cash. Most vendors aren't able to take card payments.
#7 Beurre d'Isigny Butter
What is the first food that comes to mind when you think of Paris? Probably baguettes. But they make for bad souvenirs if you can't enjoy them when they're at their freshest and crispiest. Instead, bring home some Beurre d'Isigny butter. At least you'll have something French to spread on your non-French morning toast.
Beurre d'Isigny butter is considered by many to be the best butter in the world. It's produced exclusively in a strictly defined area of France, Baie des Veys. The milk from this region, and the method of making it, gives it a uniquely deep flavor deeper and creamy texture. Frying food in this makes it infinitely more delicious, too. The reason for this is the high-fat content, more than 80%, and the unique production method. Specifically, live bacteria is added directly to the cream during the churning process.
#8 Dijon Mustard
The most famous French mustard was originally served exclusively on the table of the King of France. But today, every gourmand can enjoy its smooth and spicy taste. It’s been produced on a massive scale since 1856 in the picturesque French region of Dijon. Look for this condiment in small, elegant pots, with the label "Maille". This is the most popular and oldest producer of original Dijon mustard.
#9 French Cheese
They say the French have a love affair with cheese. There must be some truth in it as there are more than 1,600 kinds of cheese in France! While camembert and brie are popular all over the world, it's worth bringing back raw milk cheese from your trip to Paris. It is a lesser-known type of cheese made with unpasteurized milk.
TIP: Look for those kinds of cheese that are certified with AOC “controlled designation of origin” labels. It is a system that classifies French products according to their region of origin, in order to certify the presence of specific qualities of local production.
#10 French Wine
Saving the best for last, it would be remiss not to bring back some wine from the wine capital of the world. The origins of wine harvesting in France dates back to the monastic vineyards of the 6th century. But it took hundreds of years for the grapes to take root in French culture.
At some point, wine-growing became so important for the country that French law took it under its wing. Now, harvesting grapes out of season is illegal, and practically every bottle of wine is meticulously documented.
Paris offers a wide range of French wines. When choosing from numerous bottles, pay attention to the color of the top. Green means that the wine was made in a particular way and in a specific region. Blue means that this wine is more common and cheaper. The cheapest bottles have red tops. Whilst they're still tasty, there is little special about them.