If you're hoping to bring back some memorable holiday gifts from Paris, look no further. We've put together some excellent choices for Christmas and holiday shopping, whether you're hunting for gourmet treats, clothes, jewelry, books, decorative items, or souvenirs to stack in your suitcase. If you can make it to one of the city's festive Christmas markets at some point during your stay in the capital, you're even more likely to find a memorable (and locally authentic) gift or holiday souvenir. Once you've perused this list, make sure to check out our complete guide to choosing an authentic (and non-cliche) gift from Paris. On a tight budget? Not to fret: consult our complete guide to discount shopping in Paris, and find interesting presents that won't break the bank.
You know the end-of-year holidays have arrived in Paris when little wooden chalets strung with cheerful lights start springing up all around town. The city's annual pop-up Christmas markets bring a special warmth to the season, and are a treasure trove for authentic and locally made gifts.
Inspired by the markets traditionally held in the Northeastern region of Alsace, which has alternately been part of both France and Germany, the marchés de Noel in Paris are ideal ports of call for regional items. There, you can find specialties from Alsace like pain d'épices (spice bread) and mulled wine, in addition to gourmet treats from other regions and traditional Christmas decorations, toys, and cozy hand-made knits.
To see this year's locations and find one near you, browse our complete guide to Paris Christmas markets.
The city's historical department stores are not merely shrines to global style. They're also architectural treasures and coveted caches brimming with fine clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, home furnishing, and gourmet items. If you can withstand the inevitable, swarming crowds and the heat, they're ideal stops for holiday shopping in the capital. For those of you looking for gifts for a foodie or wine lover, be sure to check out the massive gourmet groceries at Galeries Lafayette and Au Bon Marché. While you're at it, enjoy the always colorful and creative holiday window displays at Paris department stores.
Paris counts an unusual number of trendy boutiques and concept stores. The coveted boutique Merci in particular draws crowds and celebrities for its constantly updated selection of the latest concepts in fashion, accessories, beauty products, and homewares.
Beeline there to find the perfect gift for a hipster or fashionista. After your shopping spree, you can sit around looking fashionable at the downstairs cafe, whose tall shelves are lined with handsome books.
Paris is the world center of luxury and bespoke fragrance-making, and artisan noses from Serge Lutens to Frederic Malle and Francis Kurkdjian have standalone shops here.
You can also find flagship stores from big-name luxury brands like Guerlain and Jo Malone, where it's often possible to get your hands on limited-edition scents you won't be able to find elsewhere.
Paris is one of the world's chocolate capitals, so if you know a cocoa connoisseur, be sure to stop by one of the city's best chocolate shops to bring back a special gift. From ganaches to nutty mendiants and truffles, there's something special awaiting every kind of chocolate lover.
Paris counts dozens of bookshops: some traditional and others branches of big chain stores. Peruse this list of the very best to find that perfect read for a bookwormish friend or loved one.
Looking for a rare book or magazine for a bibliophile friend or family member? Paris boasts tons of old bookstores, especially in the Latin Quarter around the old university district. But when the sun's out, why not peruse the city's Seine-side booksellers? Paris boasts over 200 independent outdoor stalls, offering some 300,000 collectable, new and used books and magazines under open skies.
Also See: The Best Flea Markets in Paris
Les Créateurs des Abbesses (Montmartre Artisan Boutiques)
Clustered along a few small streets in the quaint Montmartre neighborhood are a series of artisanal boutiques offering unique clothing, jewelry, decorative items, and more. It's a good alternative to overcrowded department stores and a long shot from chain stores where multinational brands reign (thus guaranteeing unoriginal gifts).
Getting there: Metro Abbesses, Pigalle
Main streets (bring a city map): Rue Houdon, Rue d'Orsel, Rue des Martyrs, Rue des Abbesses, Rue Yvonne-Le-Tac.
See these neighborhood guides to explore more unique artisan shops around Paris: