Are you in the market for a new handbag and want to pick one up on your next trip to Paris? 

Ah, Paris – the City of Lights, of romance, of art, and, undoubtedly, of fashion. As you stroll down its cobblestone streets, with the Eiffel Tower peeking out from behind Haussmannian buildings, there’s an unmistakable air of elegance that flows in every corner and whispers tales of style and grandeur.

But for fashionistas worldwide, Paris is more than just a picturesque destination; it’s a treasure trove for exquisite handbags. Whether you’re in search of a timeless classic from iconic luxury maisons or are keen to discover a chic gem from a boutique tucked away in the Marais, Paris promises a handbag journey like no other.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about where to go Handbag Shopping in Paris. I’ll share the best French handbag brands, the top designer bags to buy in Paris, and even some affordable French handbags to buy if you’re on a budget.

Join me as we delve deep into Paris’ enchanting arrondissements, where each neighborhood holds secrets to the finest handbag finds. From the glitzy showrooms of the Champs-Élysées to the bohemian streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, this guide will ensure that your next Parisian escapade is nothing short of a fashion revelation. Ready to embark on a sartorial adventure? 

Best French Handbag Brands

The allure of French handbag brands lies in their timeless elegance, meticulous craftsmanship, and rich heritage. Whether you’re looking for a statement piece or a subtle accessory, French brands offer a range of options to suit every style and occasion.

Here’s a list of some of the best French handbag brands, from iconic luxury houses to contemporary favorites:

Handbag Shopping Paris Goyard

Luxury Bag Brands

Chanel: Founded by Coco Chanel, this brand is synonymous with luxury and timeless designs. The Classic Flap and the 2.55 are among the most sought-after handbags in the world. 31 Rue Cambon.

Louis Vuitton: Known for its monogrammed canvas, Louis Vuitton offers a range of bags from travel trunks to everyday totes like the Speedy and Neverfull.

Hermès: Renowned for its unparalleled craftsmanship, Hermès’ Birkin and Kelly bags are iconic pieces that often have waiting lists.

Dior: The Lady Dior bag, with its signature quilted design, is a staple of this luxury brand, reflecting Christian Dior’s vision of elegance.

Celine: Under various creative directors, Celine has consistently produced minimalist and chic bags like the Luggage Tote and Trio Bag.

Goyard: Known for its distinctive hand-painted Y-pattern, Goyard offers a range of bags and travel goods, with the Saint Louis tote being especially popular. There’s always a long line outside this store so arrive early if you want to get a bag!

Moynat: One of the oldest French trunk makers, Moynat has evolved to offer sophisticated handbags like the Pauline and Réjane.

Delvaux: Technically Belgian, but deserving of mention due to its craftsmanship and legacy, Delvaux is the oldest fine leather goods house in the world.

Moreau paris handbags IMG_0525
These Moreau handbags caught my eye on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré!

Accessible Bag Brands

These mid-range bag brands will sell you a great bag at a more affordable price.

Polène: A younger brand compared to its counterparts, Polène is rapidly gaining recognition for its sophisticated handbag designs, particularly the Numéro Un bag.

Fleuron: Fleuron makes colorful, chic Parisian handbags in incredibly soft leathers.

RSVP: RSVP makes minimal handbags in a rainbow of colors that are priced fairly.

Lancel: With over a century of history, Lancel combines tradition with innovation, offering bags like the Charlie and Brigitte Bardot.

Longchamp: Best known for its Le Pliage tote, Longchamp offers practical yet stylish bags suitable for everyday use.

A.P.C.: Standing for ‘Atelier de Production et de Création’, A.P.C. is known for its minimalist and clean designs.

Jerôme Dreyfuss: Fusing functionality with contemporary design, this brand offers stylish bags for the modern woman.

Designer Bags to Buy in Paris

Ah, the allure of Parisian designer handbags! When in Paris, you’ll have access to some of the most iconic brands in the world, as well as a few lesser-known gems that exude Parisian chic. Whether you’re looking to invest in a timeless piece or simply want to treat yourself to something unique, here are some top picks to consider:

  • Chanel Classic Flap Bag: Undoubtedly a timeless piece, owning a Chanel bag is like having a piece of fashion history. It’s synonymous with elegance and will always be in vogue.
  • Louis Vuitton Speedy or Neverfull: As one of the most recognizable luxury brands in the world, LV’s monogram canvas is a must-have for many handbag aficionados.
  • Hermès Birkin or Kelly: Though acquiring a Birkin or Kelly can be a challenge due to their high demand and limited availability, they remain symbols of utmost luxury and exclusivity.
  • Dior Lady Bag: This elegant and feminine bag, with its signature quilted design, is a perfect representation of Christian Dior’s vision of femininity.
  • Goyard Saint Louis Tote: A bit more understated than some other luxury brands, Goyard’s distinct Y-pattern print and hand-painted monogramming service make it a unique pick.
  • Celine Luggage Tote: With its modern design and minimalist aesthetics, Celine’s Luggage Tote quickly became a favorite among fashion insiders and celebrities.
  • Loewe Puzzle Bag: Known for its innovative construction, this bag can be worn in multiple ways and is a testament to Loewe’s craftsmanship.
  • Moynat: One of the oldest French trunk-makers, Moynat offers beautiful leather goods, with their Pauline and Réjane bags being particularly eye-catching.
  • Polène Numero Un Bag: A relatively younger brand, Polène has quickly made a name for itself with its elegant and structured designs, particularly the Numéro Un bag.

Remember, when shopping in Paris, consider visiting the flagship stores of these brands for a more immersive experience.

Handbag shopping paris IMG_9672
Maison Margiela

Is it cheaper to buy Chanel in Paris?

Buying Chanel in Paris can be more affordable than in many other countries, and there are a few reasons for this:

Origin: Chanel, being a French brand, prices its products at the origin without the added costs of import duties, taxes, and shipping fees that can inflate prices in other countries.

VAT Refund: Tourists from outside the European Union can benefit from a VAT (Value Added Tax) refund. The VAT rate in France can be as high as 20% on luxury goods, so after obtaining a VAT refund, there can be considerable savings. Do note that there’s a processing fee for VAT refunds, so the total refund won’t be the full 20%, but it still offers a good discount.

Currency Fluctuations: The relative strength of your home currency against the Euro can influence the effective price you pay for Chanel products. If your currency is strong against the Euro, it might be a more favorable time to buy.

Price Adjustments: Chanel may adjust prices globally based on various economic factors, including changes in currency values, market demand, and costs of raw materials. Sometimes, these adjustments make products in Paris relatively cheaper, and sometimes they don’t. It’s always a good idea to stay updated on such adjustments if planning a purchase.

Affordable Handbags in Paris

Handbag Shopping Polene Paris DSCF2169
The Polène store always has a line outside!

While Paris is renowned for its luxury fashion houses, the city also boasts a range of affordable yet stylish handbag brands and designers. Neighborhoods like Le Marais and Bastille are great for discovering affordable French handbag brands if you’re shopping on a budget in Paris!

These brands strike a balance between quality, design, and affordability:

Sezane: A favorite among many, Sezane offers leather goods, including handbags, with a Parisian chic design. Their prices are mid-range, making this French girl style boutique accessible yet high-quality.

A.P.C.: Known for its minimalist aesthetic, A.P.C. has been designing understated clothing and handbags since the 1980s. It’s a great place for 100% leather handbags that will last you decades.

Nat & Nin: Founded by two sisters in Paris, this brand is known for its leather bags that combine vintage flair with modern sensibilities.

Lancaster Paris: Offering all types of handbags, from clutches to totes, Lancaster provides modern designs at accessible prices.

Handbag Shopping Paris_Lancaster_DSCF1973
Lancaster shop in Paris

Léo et Violette: Founded by a young couple, this direct-to-consumer brand is all about minimalist designs and premium materials at a fraction of luxury prices.

Rouje: While they’re more popular for clothing, Rouje also designs vintage-inspired bags at relatively affordable prices. Founded by French influencer Jeanne Damas, Rouje captures the essence of Parisian chic in its handbags.

Petite Mendigote: This brand offers playful and chic bags, often with colorful prints and patterns, perfect for something unique yet affordable.

Sézane Handbag Fall Collection
Sézane handbag

French Department Stores Sell Handbags, Too!

Paris is home to some of the world’s most iconic department stores, many of which offer a wide selection of handbags ranging from luxury designer brands to more affordable labels. Here are some of the major department stores in Paris where you can find an extensive collection of handbags:

Galeries Lafayette Haussmann: Located on Boulevard Haussmann, this historic department store is a shopping paradise. Its stunning glass dome and luxurious interior house a plethora of brands, from high-end luxury names to emerging designers.

Printemps: Also situated on Boulevard Haussmann, right near Galeries Lafayette, Printemps offers several floors dedicated to women’s fashion and accessories. Its handbag selection is vast, catering to both luxury shoppers and those on a budget.

Le Bon Marché: Located on the Left Bank, Le Bon Marché is Paris’s oldest department store and is often considered one of the most upscale. It offers a carefully curated selection of handbags from well-known luxury brands to unique, hard-to-find labels.

BHV Marais (Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville): Situated in the heart of the Marais district, BHV offers a more eclectic mix of brands. While it caters to various tastes and budgets, its handbag selection is extensive and worth exploring.

La Samaritaine: After being closed for over a decade, La Samaritaine, located near the Seine River and the Louvre, reopened its doors as a luxury department store. Owned by LVMH, it boasts a beautiful selection of handbags, especially from brands within the LVMH portfolio.

A.P.C. handbag
A.P.C. handbag

How to get a VAT refund on a handbag purchase in Paris

Claiming a VAT (Value Added Tax) refund on your luxury handbag purchase in Europe, particularly in Paris, can allow you to save a significant amount. Here’s a quick guide on how to get your VAT refund:

You must be a non-EU resident to qualify for a VAT refund. Tourists from within the EU cannot claim a refund. In France, you need to have spent at least €175.01 at a single store in one day.

Let the salesperson know upfront that you wish to claim a VAT refund. Not all stores participate in the tax-free shopping scheme, so it’s good to ask.

The store will provide you with a tax-free form. Fill this out (usually with your name, address, passport number, and date of birth). Ensure all details match your passport to avoid complications later.

You’ll pay the full price, including VAT, at the store. Make sure to keep your purchase receipts and tax-free forms safe, as you’ll need them to claim your refund.

Before you check in your luggage, head to the Customs desk. If your purchase is in your carry-on, you can do this after check-in. However, be prepared; sometimes, customs officers may want to see the purchased item to ensure it’s leaving the EU.

Present your tax-free form, purchase receipts, passport, and sometimes the purchased item to the customs officer. If everything is in order, they’ll stamp your form.

After getting the customs stamp, you can proceed to get your refund. If the store uses a refund service like Global Blue or Premier Tax-Free, head to their respective counters. Present your stamped form and choose how you’d like to receive your refund – cash or credit to your card. If you opt for cash, it might be in the local currency, and the rate might not be the best.

Have fun handbag shopping in Paris!

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One Comment

  1. Hello Culture Travel,
    What do you think about the Parisian bags brand Ateliers Auguste ?
    Have a nice day ;)

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