Top Things to Spend Your Money on in France
It is not easy to justify spending on mementos when you’re traveling on a limited budget. However, we believe that money shouldn’t hold you back from making the most out of your experience. Hence, allow us to share with you the things that you should definitely consider spending your money on when you’re visiting France.
Don’t get us wrong. This is not a shopping list. We’re not suggesting anyone buy all of the things on this list unless they have the means. However, we strongly recommend investing in at least one of them, especially if you consider this French escapade once-in-a-lifetime. Here are our suggestions for top things to buy in France.
Salt Caramels in Brittany
Let’s start with something small – something that you can afford even if you’re traveling on a tight budget. The tasty salt caramel confections in Brittany are well worth bringing home with you.
Did you ever wonder how these delicious confections came to be? Well, they originated in Brittany, a region in the northeast corner of France. These delicious treats are delicately made and individually wrapped. They are nothing like any salt caramel you’ve probably tried elsewhere, and thus, are definitely worth the splurge.
Tea in Salon de Thé Ladurée
Forget the other branches of this pastry shop globally. You need to taste the iconic macarons straight from the source. Ladurée’s high-class elegance hasn’t changed since it was founded in 1862. We also highly recommend ordering the Marie Antoinette cake and Darjeeling tea.
Chocolate in Bayonne
This is the last food-related item in our lineup, we promise. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention getting some chocolate from Bayonne, a region in the southwestern part of France. This was here that chocolate first arrived in France. It was a royal gift to King Louis XIII from his betrothed, Anne of Austria.
This special treat was only reserved for nobles back then. Don’t miss your opportunity to get your taste as well.
Dinner Cruise on the Seine River
A trip to the City of Lights will never be complete without having dinner while cruising past all the iconic sites along the Seine. We understand why some of you might find it cheesy, or even overly touristic. Even so, it is still a part of the Parisian experience especially if you’re exploring France with a special someone.
There are different dinner cruises to choose from, but Bateaux Parisians remain one of the best (not to mention the most Instagram-worthy). We highly recommend either their Premier or Privilege option for their meal selections and unrestricted views.
An Apprentice Workshop from Fragonard
A scent experience at Fragonard is unforgettable because nothing will make you feel more elegant than bespoke perfume. Founded in 1926, Fragonard Parfumeur is one of the oldest perfumeries in Grasse, the perfume capital of the world. You can enjoy a guided tour of their museum for free, so you might be wondering, “What’s there to splurge on?”.
The answer: their apprentice perfume maker’s workshop. It’s a complete hands-on experience on how to create bespoke perfume. You’ll even get to take your creation home.
Raw Fabric in Basque Country
Getting a bolt of local cotton toile from the French regions of the Basque Country is not going to be cheap. However, it’s still going to be significantly cheaper compared to how many finished items you can get for the same price.
Don’t know what to do with all that fabric? We recommend having table linens, curtains, or even matching throw pillow covers made. Don’t hesitate to bring back some French-style to decorate at home.
Rivieras in Paris
French fashion has a lot of iconic pieces. We’re talking about striped shirts, berets, and little black dresses. But what about footwear? Complete your wardrobe with a pair of Rivieras. They are leisure shoes modeled after fishermen moccasins back in the 1950s.
What we love best about this style is the convenience and comfort it provides. We can walk on them for hours, and they’re easy to slip on and off at the airport.
Bracelets from Merci
Do you have a special someone waiting for you back home? Show this person how much you care by getting a bracelet from Merci. It is available in a wide range of colors. However, we recommend getting a classic red cord with the “merci” lucky charm to stay true to France’s bold sense of style.
Wine from Bordeaux
It is no secret that France is famous for its wines. Great wine regions can be found across the country. In fact, recent statistics report that they get more than 10 million wine tourists per year. Feel free to explore the specialty of each region as you please, but we highly recommend a Bordeaux red.
It is great for celebrations making it an excellent choice to bring back home. It also ages impressively well. Here’s a fun tip: Buy one on the year of your first visit, make a promise to come back, and open that bottle to mark your return.
Local Artwork from Paris
Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Marcel Duchamp. The list goes on. There was a time when the international art scene revolved around France. In a way, you can say that it still does.
While it’s definitely too late to get your portrait done by any of the geniuses of the past, it’s never too late to have one done by a potential genius of the future. Who knows? After all, most of the renowned artists we revere today didn’t know they were going to make it big back then. There are articles just waiting to sketch your picture in the square at Montmartre.
You can also get a framed piece featuring other subjects. How about a still life featuring an array of flowers or the rolling landscapes of an idyllic town? Or you can look for handmade watercolor greeting cards that you can frame at home.
We understand how daunting it is to choose a work to take home, so allow us to offer you a piece of advice. Don’t let yourself get affected by the judgmental looks of so-called “art connoisseurs” nor be bullied by persistent sellers into buying something you don’t really want. Instead, invest in a piece that speaks to you on a personal level; something that you can look at every day and won’t get tired of.
Get something that will adequately express the experience you had in France even if you travel on a limited budget. In the end, isn’t that what this list is really about? Safe travels!
About The Author: Jim Hughes has significant experience covering financial and business topics. He also worked as a financial advisor at a bank and provided consulting and advice about budgets, savings, insurance, stocks, retirement funds, tax advice, etc. At the moment, he is the Director of Content at OpenCashAdvance.com.