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Shopping in France during your holiday doesn’t have to be intimidating. While it’s true that many travellers save up for their splurges on luxurious items like jewelry, wristwatches, and handbags—a great way to take advantage of the tax refund for non-Europeans—shopping in France isn’t only for those with thick wallets and black cards. In this article, we’ll introduce you to actually affordable French brands for fashion, cosmetics, food, and souvenirs. We’ll also tell you exactly where to go in Paris for a 1-stop shopping experience that you can conveniently do right before or after you go sightseeing!
In this article, you’ll find our recommended affordable French brands for:
– fashion and accessories
– beauty and cosmetics
– food and drink
We’re also sharing some INSIDR Tips for the best shopping experience during this years SUMMER SALES!
Affordable French brands for fashion & accessories
Sandro is one of the most successful high-street brands born in Paris. The brand, available in both womenswear and menswear, is described to have a DNA that is intimately related to Paris. As soon as you step inside one of its boutiques, you’ll be charmed by the cool and chic Parisian spirit as expressed in the clothes on display. There is perhaps at least one Sandro boutique in every arrondissement in Paris and so we highly recommend that you don’t end your trip without stopping by one.
If there’s anything we can recommend to Sandro beginners, it’s their jeans. They’re priced reasonably and they’re guaranteed to last a lifetime. Check them out here.
Pronounced as [mahj] and not what it’s commonly mistaken for as [mayj], here’s another brand that Paris has so generously shared with the rest of the world. Did you know that Maje and Sandro actually come from the same group company? But the similarity ends there. Maje has its own brand identity that expresses femininity, modernity, but with an added quirkiness.
So what should you buy when you head to a Maje store? While everything they release seems worth your hard-earned money, we think their dresses are the most worthy of a splurge!
Yet another French leather brand to love is Lancel. This brand was founded back in 1876 in France and has since then been regarded by the French as one of the most popular creators of leather accessories. In fact, a Lancel bag was carried by almost every French celebrity back in the day. If this is the first time you’re hearing of this brand, you’ll be surprised to know that it was one of the very first to popularize the iconic bucket-shaped bag! Today, you’ll find many iterations of the same iconic bucket bag! We definitely think their boutique is worth stopping a visit during your trip in Paris!
|INSIDR Tip: If you’d like more recommendations on shopping in Paris, read our Paris Shopping Guide! Download it here.|
Affordable French brands for fragrance & beauty
Caudalie is one of the best French brands whose popularity has grown tremendously in many other countries. Founded in the wine-producing region of Bordeaux in 1995, it’s no wonder that all of the brand’s ingredients are derived from the grapevine. We think this French beauty brand deserves your attention during your trip in Paris because of their eco-friendly products. If you’ve never tried Caudalie before, we suggest starting with one of their bestsellers: the Beauty Elixir. This product has become a cult-favorite especially among makeup artists. It tightens pores, sets makeup and provides an instant shot of radiance to skin!
L’Occitane is one the those on this list that needs no introduction. With a brand name such as L’Occitane en Provence which stands for ‘the Occitan woman in Provence‘, their products have become a staple to adoring fans of the southern French lifestyle and charm. You probably already own one of their lovely-smelling hand creams—as most Parisians do! The brand aims to preserve and celebrate the local traditions in beautiful Provence.
You can argue that you already have a L’Occitane boutique in your hometown but it probably won’t compare to the L’Occitane boutiques in France which carry a lot of limited edition products and packaging. If you’re already a fan of this brand, make sure to pick up your soap, shampoo, and body lotion refills! They’re guaranteed to be much cheaper here than they are anywhere else in the world.
|INSIDR Tip: Travellers shopping at L’Occitane – Carrousel du Louvre can get a free Paris totebag for every 150€ spent!|
It’s impossible not to mention Fragonard when we talk about French brands in the field of fragrance. It’s one of the most popular, best known for their affordable yet high quality perfumes and colognes. If you’d like to know more about Fragonard’s history, read about it in our article where we introduce the best French perfume brands. As of recently, Fragonard has branched out to more than just fragrances. They now also have a collection for home ware and apparel!
Did you know that Fragonard has a museum in Paris? That’s right! It’s one of our favorite free museums in Paris! Musée du Parfum in the Opera District is open Monday to Saturday with free guided tours available throughout the day in several different languages. And just for INSIDR readers, we’re giving you a special 10% discount voucher which you can use when you shop at the museum’s Fragonard boutique!
Affordable French brands for food & drink
1. Comtesse du Barry
You can’t leave Paris without experiencing what French gastronomy has to offer. Comtesse du Barry is one of those French brands that has been around for long that it’s regarded as a household name. People pop by a Comtesse du Barry branch to pick up a terrine for apéro with friends or buy foie gras and caviar to celebrate important moments with loved ones.
Comtesse du Barry has such a variety of products that makes it so hard to decide on what to get! Lucky for INSIDR readers, we’re sharing a special voucher that lets you enjoy a gourmet tasting session for free!
2. La Maison du Chocolat
You’ve probably heard of this famous French brand for high quality chocolate before. It’s basically one of the best, not just in France, but in the world. Founded by Robert Linxe in 1977 in Paris, its creation has not only impressed chocolate-lovers but has also inspired other chocolatiers to push the humble cacao product to higher limits.
There are a lot of delicious things to pick up from La Maison du Chocolat like chocolate truffles and the signature pastries but what we recommend travellers most often are the signature gift boxes from which you’ll be able to taste the best of the maison’s ganache and pralines.
3. Kusmi Tea
If you’re looking for a brand that’s rooted in history, look no further than Kusmi Tea. Originally founded in St. Petersburg, Russia, by Pavel Kousmichoff, it was an already very successful chain of tea houses until it moved to Paris in 1917 at the onset of the Russian revolution. Its first shop in France was opened at 75 Avenue Niel, in the 17th arrondissement and it still stands to this day!
Don’t feel overwhelmed when you step inside a Kusmi Tea shop. There are always helpful staff who are happy to offer you free samples! For travellers who want to shake off the guilt of eating decadent French food, we highly recommend their best-selling BB Detox!
|INSIDR Tip: We’ve written a guide that includes a list of all the best places for a classic afternoon tea time in Paris! Download our free Paris Gourmet Guide!|
At this point in time, it’s hard to imagine that some people might not know this extremely popular French confectionary brand. Ladurée has a wide global presence and has set-up its iconic pistachio-green colored boutiques in many different cities in and out of Europe.
So why is it worth going to a Ladurée boutique during your trip to Paris? It’s because Ladurée in France often has unique merchandise for celebrating holidays and traditions.
Affordable French brands for souvenirs
1. Nature et Découvertes
Yet another successfully family-run French brand is Nature et Découvertes. To describe it plainly, it’s where you must go to get something that adds to your general well-being. Whether it’s a diffuser, a back massager or even a plant terrarium, trust that you’ll be able to find it at this general health goods store. And if you’re an eco-conscious person, you’ll even find select products that promote ‘zero-waste’!
Among their many products are a wide selection of essential oils. It has actually evolved as more than just another ‘hippie‘ shop that sells natural products, the chain has now positioned itself as a destination for buying unique gifts. There are so many cool stuff to find here that we can’t just recommend a couple items. Instead, take your time perusing the different areas of the boutique. We don’t doubt that you’ll find at least one thing that you’ll want to bring home as a souvenir!
Pylones is the ultimate stop for anyone who loves vibrant splashes of colors and highly animated designs! This French brand prides itself in creating a large variety of everyday items in their signature Pylones style that will make people smile. This is a really great place to pick up gifts for loved ones back home as the prices are very reasonable. Apart from that, they always have a great gift guide that’s perfect for different themes like: Back to School, Valentine’s Day, leaving parties, and even house warming!
For something that’s guaranteed to be easy to carry home, we recommend getting one of their notebooks or yearly planners that always have an eye-catching design.
Where to find all these affordable French brands
Carrousel du Louvre – the safest
Although these brands can be found in many places in and out of Paris, it’s not as easy to find all of them in one place. The good news is that Carrousel du Louvre is located in Paris’ 1st arrondissement, right in the middle of the city.
We also consider Carrousel du Louvre to be the safest and the best place for shopping under the current public health crisis. We’ve been to Carrousel du Louvre ourselves to observe its safety protocols and here’s what we loved:
– it’s much more calm and quiet compared to other department stores and shopping malls in Paris
– they have installed automatic hand sanitizers all over the place
– everyone is obliged to wear a mask upon entry
– all staff are also wearing masks and they stand behind protective glass as a safety barriers
Best of all, there’s no doubt that you will come across this place during your trip because it is located in the same place as the Louvre Museum! Aside from its convenient location, it’s also one of the few places in Paris that stay open 7 days a week!
Shopping at Carrousel du Louvre
The major summer sales at Carrousel du Louvre start on July 15, 2021 and they will go on until August 11, 2021.
Carrousel du Louvre is the only place in Paris where you can see all of the affordable French brands we listed above. It’s a beautiful indoor shopping center that’s carries the theme of the Louvre Museum, with white marble walls and floors. And while it offers the look and feeling of luxury shopping, a lot of the brands are actually very affordable. Carrousel du Louvre also always has promotions during different holidays in France where you can get cool discounts!
And don’t forget that if your purchases amount to over 175€, you qualify for a tax refund which you can immediately do at Carrousel du Louvre! No need to head to the airport early to wait in line to do it.
|INSIDR Tip: Just make sure that you have your passport with you when you claim your tax refund!|
Carrousel du Louvre – Practical Information
Address: 99 Rue de Rivoli, 75001
Metro: Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre (Line 1)
Hours: open daily from 10am – 8pm; from 11am – 7pm on Tuesdays
And before taking the metro to leave Carrousel du Louvre, make sure to stop and appreciate this contemporary work of art found in the underground level! These are sentences written in French using neon tubing by Joseph Kosuth.
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