Top 31 French Supermarket Souvenirs to Buy at Monoprix

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Monoprix: Cheap Souvenirs in the Heart of Paris, France

I’ve been hearing about the wonders of Monoprix in France long before I started this website. Everyone from fashion editors to in-the-know travelers raved about scouring Monoprix for downright cheap inexpensive French souvenirs. But while the bargains are fun, I wanted to see a Monoprix mostly because I was curious about what items regular Parisians shop for on a day-to-day basis.

Monoprix is more than just a grocery store– it’s like a French supermarket and department store combined (similar to a mini version of an American Target store). You’ll find Monoprix stores all over in France, including right in the heart of Paris.

Update November 2017: I’m headed back to Paris in a couple of weeks, where I’ll be staying in an Airbnb in the Marais and right next to a Monoprix! Excited to have the chance to shop like a local and cook in my kitchen while I’m there. I highly recommend airbnb when you stay in Paris for a local experience at prices much lower than hotels– use my link to save $40 off your first Airbnb stay! 

Why Monoprix is the Perfect Stop for France Souvenirs in Paris: One Stop Shopping

I’ve visited Paris many times, but my most recent visit was limited to a quick a day trip from Brussels (which is only an hour and twenty minutes away via high-speed Thalys train). With only eight hours in Paris, I didn’t have time to check out every hidden corner of the city to shop, so I stopped by a Monoprix in the 4th arrondissement on my way back to Gare du Nord.

At Monoprix, I was able to pick up everything from French cheese, to biscuits, to soaps and sponges all in one twenty-minute trip. I ended up bringing home a pile of souvenirs just for me, along with plenty of extras to give away as gifts, at giveaway prices.

What to Buy at a Monoprix Supermarket in France

I’m not the only one who loves Monoprix– insiders stock up on their favorites when visiting France. My friend (and part-time Parisian) Cecile raves about Monoprix’s classic children’s French clothing— like navy blue striped shirts and Petit Bateau branded clothing. Cecile also makes sure to pack several bars Le Petit Marseillais soaps in her luggage.

My friend Johanna, who makes frequent visits to France with her French husband Antoine, loves everything about Monoprix— she singles out their “really cute awesome socks that you can’t get anywhere else in the world.” Bonus: look for Johanna’s personal take on my picks throughout the post.

As I was in a hurry when I visited Monoprix, rushing to catch my train back to Brussels, I didn’t have time to comb through everything (I wish I’d known about the clothes and socks before my visit). But I did scan the shelves for anything and everything edible, and also checked out the kitchen and bath items.

I tried to keep in mind that many food souvenir items can’t be brought back through US customs, but as this website also has a large European readership, I didn’t want to leave off some classic French items that I was surprised to find in a supermarket at all (jarred pot au feu anyone?)

My conclusion? Of all the foreign supermarkets I’ve been to so far, France’s Monoprix is my favorite. But I’m biased towards all things French, having spent a summer living with a French family in Lyon as a teen, which sparked a life-long love of the country.

While I really loved shopping Monoprix, I wonder if a regular French grocery store might have a wider variety of brands. Monoprix carries many items under its own label so its brand options in some categories was pretty limited (I only saw two types of French jam, for example [Ed. note: read on– Johanna solves this mystery later in the post].

I hope to visit a regular, non-Parisian supermarket this spring and add any additional souvenir finds in a future post.

My list of thirty-one Monoprix supermarket souvenirs below has both non-food and edible items (non-food stuff is listed first). I also threw in a few photos of how I gifted my French supermarket souvenirs (to read the full how-to’s and see all the photos, check out my last post on how to create your own DIY souvenir gifts).

Finally, if there was a comparable online source, I also included that so when you use up your souvenir supply you’ll at least have the option to restock (in some cases the price differential is small in others it’s astronomical– scroll to the bottom for a complete list).

Update: I just added this video featuring some additional (some already featured) French souvenirs.


But enough chatter, on to the souvenirs–

1. French Soap

French soap Le Petit Marseillais Monoprix supermarket and grocery souvenirs

Soap has been crafted in France since the middle ages. While there may be fancier brands out there, I still loved this cheap bar of supermarket soap about 1.5 euros). Available in a variety of scents, I love the orange blossom and savon au lait (milk).

When I run out of my favorite le petit marseillais soaps, I restock in bulk here (orange blossom), sweet almond oil or the classic brut.

2. Pocket Wash cloths

Wash cloths France Monoprix supermarket souvenirs

I stocked up on several of these cute pocket wash cloths (I liked the white with navy trim best).

For a similar version, check out these french wash mitts.

Bonus: French soap + washcloth= cheap but luxe gift (see our last post for details)

Paris souvenirs French Supermarket gift souvenirs from Monoprix what to buy

Voila– put the soap and wash cloth together with a little ribbon and you have a French supermarket gift for under five bucks.

3. French Bath Gel

Paris, France souvenirs from Monoprix supermarket bath wash savon

Not a fan of soap? Marseille bath gel is another great bargain.

Johanna’s take: this body wash is both cheap and awesome.

While the savon naturel is a bit spendy online (but it does last forever), the petit marseillais bath gel version is a bargain.

4. Colorful Makeup Bags

These colorful designs caught my eye.

5. Striped French Kitchen Towels

French flag striped dish towels kitchen towels Paris souvenirs Monoprix supermarket

These thick French kitchen towels are super absorbent and durable. Different color options are available, but I loved the towels with the same stripes as on the French flag.

French dish towel kitchen towel tea towel souvenir Paris France Monoprix

At first glance, you might think French dish towels are huge, but they are actually intended to be cut into two towels at the seam.

Note: thank you for the corrections in the comments, these are not officially dishtowels, but mop towels. No matter I use them as dishtowels anyway.

6. French Vegetable Sponges

French vegtable sponges Monoprix supermarket Paris souvenirs cheap

Sponges might seem like an unusual “souvenir” but once you try these traditional French vegetable-based sponges, which are made in France (as indicated on the package) you won’t go back to synthetic. They feel so much nicer to hold and squeeze.

Johanna’s take: Johanna confirms that Spontex sponges are made in France, in the city where her husband Antoine’s parents live– Beauvais (in Picardie, about an hour north of Paris). Johanna notes the stark contrast of the storybook-perfect village of Beauvais, with its gorgeous cathedral, bright green grass, fast-moving, puffy clouds and light blue sky– against the reality of the sponge factory (“smells like rubber when the wind blows the wrong way!”)

The smell is so overwhelming that Johanna admits she “couldn’t bear to actually buy the sponges. Such a mistake because Antoine says they really are the best ever.”

Note: spontex sponges are not available is US at any cost online (at least I couldn’t find any) so stock up while you’re there.

Bonus: French Dish towel + Sponges= Cheap but Practical Gift

Best French souvenirs from Paris supermarkets Monoprix

For the person who says, don’t bring me anything– this gift is at least certain to be used.

7. French Cheese

I regretted not having time to visit a fromagerie, but decided to make do with supermarket cheese available at Monoprix. I was very skeptical when I saw how low the prices were, but figured they were so cheap that even if I bought some duds it wasn’t a big deal.

On the next leg of my European trip, I stopped in London to visit a friend. One night we broke open one of the packages of cheese for a little snack.  The cheese was so delicious that we ended up devouring almost all of it (only one sole package of Comte made it home to New York).

Next time, I won’t second guess myself and will stuff my suitcase full of French cheese.

8. French Yogurt in Glass Jars

French yogurt glass jar strawberry raspberry supermarket souvenirs from Monoprix

French yogurt probably isn’t a great idea to bring home, but it’s too delicious to skip. Eat the yogurt, then bring home the pretty glass jars.

9. French Butter

French butter sea salt supermarket souvenir from Monoprix

You can’t go wrong with French butter. Also look for butters from Normandy.

Shipping on french butter is not cheap, so this is definitely another one to stock up on (get it on your last day and it should be fine for the flight home).

10. Dried Thyme

bag dried thyme france souvenir

I knew thyme was an essential herb in French cooking but had never seen it sold by the bag before. I’m not sure if this product is actually from France as the label seems to be Dutch (?)

Johanna’s take: Thyme is actually used quite often in French recipes – more than you realize. Antoine is always using it, along with rosemary, in just about everything. It’s part of the traditional provençal herbs.

11. Soups

France is known for its amazing soups and broths. I found jarred fish soup (a French classic) as well as dry soups like mushroom and vegetable. I didn’t bring any home so I can’t comment on the flavor. My mom picked up some French bouillon, but hasn’t used it yet (I’ll update the post when I have additional comments).

Johanna’s take: Antoine swears by French bouillon – he hates the American version.

You can pick up French stock here– French stock broth veal knorr Fond de Veau

12. French Fleur de Sel

fleur de sel from French supermarket Paris Monoprix souvenir grocery store

Fleur de Sel at the Monoprix was far cheaper than the fleur de sel at my local New York City gourmet grocery store. To save even more, buy a big bag.

When I run out of fleur de sel, I restock with the still pretty reasonably priced Le Saunier de Camargue.

13. French Lentils from Le Puy

French lentils supermarket souvenir from Paris

Don’t be fooled by the green lentil knockoffs– Le Puy lentils always have an AOC designation to indicate they are actually grown in that region.

I don’t have a before photo of the lentils on the shelves– this is how I repackaged them at home for gifts. Green lentils from Le Puy are totally different from standard lentils (firmer and more delicious I think), as they are grown in a very specific microclimate in a volcanic region of France.

I prepare Le Puy lentils by steaming them, then tossing in a mustard vinaigrette, and topping with a poached egg.

I go through Le Puy lentils quickly– my go to brands to order are from Sabarot and from Roland.

14. French Dijon Mustard
Mustard from French supermarket souvenir Maille

I was disappointed that this turned out to be my only photo of the shelves of mustard– the actual selection much more extensive. Although I didn’t see the brand Amore mustard there, I did learn later that the “extra strong” Amore variety was recommended, so I ordered some online.

15. French Dressing

I took an intensive recreational course at a New York cooking school and learned how to whisk together the perfect French vinaigrette. But sometimes I get lazy and reach for a bottled dressings. I didn’t bring these home but wish I had– now I’m wondering if they’re any good.

Johanna’s take: Johanna promised me the traditional recipe for French vinaigrette handed down from her husband’s grandmother– using all only-in-France ingredients. Look for it in a future post!

I regret not bringing home the Amora dressing which I’ve heard has a cult-like following. It’s often sold out online but sometimes I see it pop up again (I just ordered my own Amora dressing).

16. Olive oil from France
French tuna in olive oil individual serving Monoprix

What intrigued me most about Monoprix’s French olive oil section were these mini “single serving” sizes. Perfect for a picnic or to bring with your lunch to the office. [Ed. Note: Thanks to several readers who explained this is not olive oil, but tuna in olive oil- perfect for making a nicoise salad!]

17. Fancy French Sauces

French bechamel instant mix from MonoprixFrench sauces like bechamel and hollandaise can is tricky to make from scratch (the sauce can easily break if you’re not careful) so I would be curious if a ready-made version would be an alternative.

18. Colorful Tins of Sardines

I’m not a big fan of canned sardines but these were so pretty to look at I brought home a tin anyway.

Also available here: Connetable– Sardines aa L’ancienne I’Huile d’Olive Vierge Extra

Note on US Customs and Poultry and Meat Items

While you might immediately dismiss anything with meat and poultry as not US customs-friendly, that is not always the case. While you can’t bring in any meat at all (beef, lamb etc) because of restrictions on countries impacted by foot and mouth disease, poultry is a different matter.

Duck from France (as in foie gras and confit) is sometimes allowed through US customs, depending on the region it’s from and how it’s packaged. Check US customs regulations for specifics. Readers from the EU will have a lot more options of course.

19. Foie Gras

It didn’t really surprise me to find foie gras at the Monoprix– but what did surprise me was how much of it there was– so many different cans and jars in all sizes and varieties.

If you eat foie gras you probably know it’s pricey– but you can get french foie gras here.

20. French Confit de Canard and Cassoulet

I’ve only seen D’artagnan confit vacuum-packed (in whole duck legs) at my local supermarket, so I wasn’t even aware that confit could be canned. And cassoulet? My understanding of cassoulet is that it is far too complicated to attempt to make at home so it’s best enjoyed in a restaurant. I’ve never seen a ready-made version but would love to try it.

Johanna’s take: We have these very same cassoulet tins! Antoine brought them from France years ago and we always have a tin on hand for a long winter weekend.

Tinned cassoulet with some potatoes is easy and total comfort food– most people don’t want to do it in their homes because the frying and cooking smells linger in the home for hours after; it’s like frying bacon – it takes forever to get the smell out of the kitchen.

But it tastes heavenly and is really simple. Come over one day and Antoine can make it for us. [Ed. note: Johanna, I’m there!]

I couldn’t find the identical brands, but similar canned duck confit and cassoulet here.

21. French Terrine

French terrine Monoprix Paris supermarket souvenir

Terrine can be made from anything, so if you’re coming back to the US, make sure you learn the French words for beef, pork, duck and chicken (boeuf, porc, canard, poulet) so you know what you can’t bring back to the US.

Johanna’s take: Terrine…I hate it. I hate lumpy pates – but Antoine loves it. I much prefer mousse pate, which can be best found at the traiteur. [Ed. note: a traiteur is like a French version of a delicatessen].

I love terrine but haven’t tried the jarred French versions– there is a selection available here.

22. French Sauccises

French sausages Monoprix supermarket canned

I’ve had yummy French sausages in bistros before but never have they resembled hot dogs like these canned sausages, served with lentils.

23. French Pot Au Feu

 Blanquette de veau pot-au-feu, jar supermarket monoprix france

I was perhaps most surprised to see dishes I considered pretty complex and rich– like blanquette de veau and pot-au-feu, served up in a jar on a supermarket shelf.

24. French Jam
French jam supermarket Monoprix souvenir

I was hoping to find more French jams on the shelves of Monoprix, but they only had a couple of brands (including Bonne Maman, which I dismissed because I can get at my local bodega).

I didn’t have time to check out other grocery store chains on this visit, but I would have liked to see what other jam brands are available (baker, blogger and American expat in Paris David Lebovitz recommends the brand Christine Ferber).

Johanna’s take: As for jams – many French women make their own. Antoine’s mother makes her own, his aunt makes her own, their grandmothers made their own, and we have jars from a friend’s mother too. You have to try it. 

While jams are still far better homemade, Bonne Maman is a great alternative –note that the ingredients are far better when bought in France than here in the US. Or at least, that’s what Antoine thinks. They also have much more variety in France, particularly for fruits which are particular to France and not found in the US.

25. French Cookies and Biscuits
Bonne Maman Tartelettes citron French supermarket souvenirs

While Bonne Maman jams are widely available in the US, I’ve only seen a small selection of Bonne Maman cookies here, which is really unfortunate.

Monoprix has an enormous selection of Bonne Maman cookies– and having taste tested many a few, I can confirm they are delicious. My favorites are these addictive lemon tartelettes (fortunately, the lemon tartelettes are available online for restock purposes).

Also not impossible to find: St. Michel Galettes Salted Butter, Le Mere Poulard Sables, Lu Pepito,  Lu Choco BN French sandwich cookies (supposedly a favorite of every French child).

Of course, there were lots of other French cookie brands, but there was only so much I could bring home.

26. French Crepes and Galettes

I’m sure others will disagree with me, but I bought packaged crepes and galettes and thought they were delicious (and a quick way to make crêpes complètes).

I also ordered these online– french crepes, 12 pack, and these irresistible looking chocolate crepes.

27. Chestnut spreadFrench chestnut spread supermarket souvenirs

I wasn’t sure how to use this pretty tube of chestnut paste (I bought it for its pretty packaging). So I consulted the forums on Chowhound for advice (Chowhound is one of my go-to resources for food questions).

While I haven’t tried these out myself yet, I learned that chestnut paste can be used as a filling for crepes, squeezed over ice cream or used to marble brownies.

Chestnut creme can usually be found in the US in gourmet grocery stores or order it here.

28. Potato Cake Mixes

potato cakes Paris France supermarket souvenir

These little potato cakes looked irresistible. I love the wooden tongs on the cover.

29. French Candy

France's most popular candy: Haribo Targadas, carambars, sea salt caramels and Hollywood gum

France’s most popular candy: Haribo Targadas, carambars, sea salt caramels and Hollywood gum (look for a post on Hollywood gum coming soon).

These candies are all top sellers in France and I thought they were all delicious– my favorites are the carambars, which are like a chewier, less sweet version of Starburst.

Johanna’s Take: ANTOINE LOVES TAGADA! That is so funny! Seriously, Tagada was a favorite candy from his childhood.
You can restock these here– Haribo Tagada, and carambar carmels.

30. Packaged Bakery Goodies

If I hadn’t already filled up my bags, I would have definitely picked up some of these prepackaged pound cakes and pain au chocolat to sample. Of course they won’t compare to fresh-baked but I wondered if they were better than the American equivalent.

Johanna’s take: Antoine LOVES madelines. That is his breakfast on-the-go, but he can’t find any good madelines in the US.

Johanna– pick up some madelaines here! Also quatre-quarts which are French cakes made with four ingredients.

31. French Booze

Of course you know you can find French wine on the cheap in the supermarket. But for a less common booze souvenirs, pick up an anise-flavored apertif like Pastis.

Johanna’s take: Pastis and Cassis – two of France’s best liqueurs. Along with calvados (NORMANDY!)

[Ed. Note— Normandy is top on my list for future travels!]

French Groceries Online Shopping List for Restocking

Of course it’s cheaper and better to get these at the source, but when restocking is necessary here’s an easy Amazon list for french supermarket items that are even available here. Note: I picked the most economical choices (which certain cases is spendy) and prime when available and only authentic french brands:


Readers– have you tried any of these Monoprix supermarket finds? Do you have others to recommend? Share your tips in the comments below!

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142 Responses to Top 31 French Supermarket Souvenirs to Buy at Monoprix

  1. Johanna 01/16/2015 at 2:07 pm #

    I love this post!!! I miss Monoprix so much.
    I forgot to mention that the variety of shortbread cookies and biscuits, such as Bonne Maman and Le Petit Écolier make, are much better in France. They change the formula in the US and Antoine is always disappointed.

    Even pre-packaged dough (although our homemade pate brisee is still the best), pre-packaged madelines, cookies, croissants, etc. are WAY better in France than in the US.

    Our foods simply have too many preservatives and chemical flavor enhancers to be truly tasty.
    Many of those flavor enhancers and preservatives are illegal in Europe, so packaged goods may have a shorter shelf life but are much tastier and satisfying.

    Case in point: a couple cookies go a long way in France. You won’t need to eat a whole bag or Oreos to be satisfied. A couple of the Bonne Maman madelines and a cup of coffee, and you are on your way!

    • Kristin Francis 01/16/2015 at 2:55 pm #

      Thanks Johanna for all your awesome tips!! : )

  2. chronophobiker 01/16/2015 at 2:53 pm #

    Hi Kristin 🙂

    that’s a very nice post, I became really hungry reading it :D. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a french supermarket. I love going groceries shopping while being in another country.

    I’ve never been to a Monoprix market. One that I can recommend is called Super U.

    While enjoying your post, I noticed two things. 1. The “single serving sized olive oil” is actually white tuna in olive oil. 2. The cake mix isn’t apple flavour but potatoe (apple = pomme, potatoe = pomme de terre).


    • Kristin Francis 01/16/2015 at 2:54 pm #

      Haha Freya that’s hilarious! Thanks SO much for the corrections. : )
      I will update!

  3. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer 01/16/2015 at 4:30 pm #

    You can get so creative in French supermarkets and I love Le Petit Marseillais soap 😀

  4. Anonymous 01/16/2015 at 4:42 pm #

    French local here. Be not mistaken with the tiny olive preserve, the label reads Tuna – it’s actually tuna in sunflower oil preserve, which is still pretty excellent used properly . My personal advice would be using it to prepare a nice Nicoise salad: round rice cooked and cooled, vinaigrette dressing, tuna cooked in sunflower oil -think of straying the oil before adding to the mix – with black olives, quartered tomatoes, a little bit of fresh corn is also a nice addition, along with some fresh salad leaves -iceberg salad should do the trick. And as always in French cooking, mind the presentation, for a homogeneous mix of ingredient is never worth anything more than a Playdoh box emptied on a plate.
    Another remark: AVOID the industrial crepes. These are so easy to cook and so much better warm out of a pan. If you are ever to come back to Paris I might even teach you the basics to make some fine ones.
    I can also guide you through what to buy and what to cook while in Paris, to give you a taste of what is the real French cooking.
    Beyond these, I hope you enjoyed the place, I lived and studied in the 4th arrondissement, right next to Notre Dame, and reading your article made me homesick, even though I’m just a few miles away now. Bonne journée, dear friend.

    • Kristin Francis 01/16/2015 at 5:00 pm #

      Thanks so much for taking the time to reply! You’re the second person to call out my olive oil– thank you!! I love it when readers make corrections!! Believe it or not I was once fluent in French, you would think I would know better. I loved how when I was in Paris no one responded to me in English (even though I’m sure it would have been less frustrating for them!) Everyone was so polite and encouraging.
      Yum your advice sounds delicious– I love nicoise salad and your plating tips!
      Yes I love to cook– but I have a problem making crepes, they come out a mess– I might take you up on your offer!
      I always love Paris (and all of France). Look out for a few more Paris shopping posts coming (I managed to photograph quite a bit on my short day trip!). I hope to visit Normandy this spring, and maybe the Dordogne and Lot.

  5. Alex 01/16/2015 at 5:30 pm #

    While in Paris, I tend to answer tourists’ questions in English, but it actually humbles me that you try and speak the local language, instead of assuming everyone should speak yours. Making crepes is no rocket science, I’d be glad to show you the hollow mysteries of this art, and at this time of the year, of another French tradition, the galette des rois -King’s pie- which is a tasty almond cream pie in which we hide a charm and share with friends and family -traditionnally, the one to pick the charm in their slice is crowned king/queen of the table and gets a paper crown, which sounds weird but it’s actually quite fun.
    I do love, as most locals here, the American culture – I spent a year studying in Brown, and most dearly think of the memories I made while there; maybe we’ll share our experiences around a glass of wine in a Parisian café on the banks of the Seine.

  6. dianaveggienextdoor 01/16/2015 at 7:07 pm #

    That Chestnut Paste looks very cool!

  7. Donna Meyer 01/16/2015 at 8:10 pm #

    This is such a lovely post and so full of good ideas. While I did not make it to Monoprix on my last trip to Paris in September, I did bring home a supermarket souvenir from the small local store near the apartment I rented on Ile St. Louis. Since I had a kitchen and a fridge and was trying to eat both cheap and healthy breakfasts, I picked up some of the wonderful French yoghurt that came in small glazed clay pots. The orange ones were for apricot, the purple ones for blueberry. Those colorful little pots now adorn my kitchen in Mexico.

  8. getreadyforparis 02/07/2015 at 1:09 pm #

    Great post with such good ideas! Monoprix are the best supermarkets in France and as you said it’s the best place to find nice and cheap gifts. I like your list but just wanted to mention that the kitchen towels are actually mops! But Monoprix always carries cute kitchen towels in their home department.

    • Kristin Francis 02/08/2015 at 11:06 am #

      Thanks so much for commenting! I am confused– how is (what I thought was) a dish towel actually a mop? What do you attach it to? I’ve been using it to clean up the kitchen, dry dishes etc and it seems to work well for that, but if there’s another purpose I would love to learn about it!

      • Barbara 02/06/2016 at 2:07 am #

        This is a great selection of supermarket gifts that represent everyday French products. And by the way the kitchen cloths are used to wash the floor , they are wiped over the floor with a long handled broom or brush . They go a grotty grey colour pretty quickly.

      • Kristin Francis 02/18/2016 at 9:13 pm #

        yes several readers corrected me on the kitchen cloths!

  9. getreadyforparis 02/08/2015 at 6:24 pm #

    Oh I’m so sorry! I didn’t want you to be confused.
    Traditionally in France, we used mops like the ones you bought with a broom ended with a scrub-brush. The mop is not attached, you can see a photo here
    I don’t clean my floors with it but I use them when I need to soak up a lot of water. It’s very absorbent.
    If it works well for you, keep on using it exactly the way you want! Laurence

    • Kristin Francis 02/08/2015 at 6:34 pm #

      Haha Laurence thank you so much for the link to the photo, NOW I get it! I find it hilarious that I so completely misunderstood, I never would have guessed it. I really appreciate your correction!

  10. Sarah Vieweg 03/01/2015 at 7:27 am #

    What a fun post! I lived in Paris during undergrad back in 1998, and returned to France for a year to live in the Haute Savoie in 2004. I was just in Paris a few weeks ago, and I too went to Monoprix for some souvenirs! I got Bonne Maman tartes (the chocolate/caramel) other lovely cookies, jam, grocery store cheese, shower gel (many of the things you got!)…but one thing you didn’t mention was the chocolate! The chocolate bar selection in French grocery stores is always amazing! Even the store brands are often fantastic, and are interesting/different flavors than what you find elsewhere. So that’s another thing I stock up on. I was there with my mom, and in addition to all the things I mention above, she went back with French coffee; both pods and ground varieties, for those who don’t have a sweet tooth or don’t care for cheese (they’re crazy, btw:)

    • Kristin Francis 03/03/2015 at 6:55 pm #

      Sarah you are right I totally missed the chocolate section! I was in a mad rush! I so need to go back (and check out the coffee too!)

  11. Jennifer 03/02/2015 at 3:19 pm #

    My husband and I are leaving for Europe in just over a month and I have planned a marathon 4 days in Paris, certainly not fair for such a rich city that we should have so little time to explore and enjoy. I am grateful for your list of items! We have rented an apartment which is a 3 minute walk from a Monoprix, I am so excited and this will give me a chance to bring back a little something for everyone. I must ask, where did you get that adorable ribbon?

    • Kristin Francis 03/03/2015 at 6:54 pm #

      Jennifer– I just bought it at a craft store (MJ Trimmings in NYC but am sure they have red/white/blue ribbon elsewhere). I wrote another post about how to package your grocery souvenirs as gifts– you might want to check that out. I have more Paris souvenir posts in queue, hope to get a couple up in the next month. Four days is tight, but it’s better than no time– and you’ll be back. Don’t worry about hitting every tourist attraction and just try to enjoy the atmosphere. An apartment is the perfect way to experience Paris! Come report back on your Monoprix experience!

  12. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family 03/05/2015 at 2:32 pm #

    I’m glad someone else knows the joy I get from going into foreign supermarkets!!!

    • Kristin Francis 03/05/2015 at 2:55 pm #

      Bethaney– YES it’s my personal obsession! My goal is to catalog every country’s supermarket around around the world!

      • getreadyforparis 03/07/2015 at 12:30 pm #

        Bethaney and Kristin, you’re not alone! I always visit at least one supermarket when I’m in a new country. It says so much about the people, what they like, how they cook, how they shop! It’s as important as a museum for me!!!

        Bethaney, I wish you a good time in Paris and Europe. If you any question about Paris, feel free to contact me, I would be glad to help.

  13. mathmath 03/13/2015 at 3:06 am #

    Oh I miss those things so bad! I was born in south of France and have been living abroad for 6 years now. You reminded me so much of my grandma’s jam and all those great cookies from my childhood !
    Careful with n’28 though. It’s not apples cake but potatoes cake (pommes= apples but pommes de terre = apples from the ground = potatoes!!!). Mousline is a well known brand for mashed potatoes, mashes carrots, mashed.. everything veggies 🙂 So you can probably add some ‘lardons’ in those little bites and it would be amazing !
    Sorry for any mistake I made.
    Next time you come try the Monoprix apple cider brut too.. excellent with the ready to eat crepes 😀

    • Kristin Francis 03/14/2015 at 9:09 am #

      Thanks for the kind comments! Haha yes a bit sloppy with my French there thanks for the correction on the potatoes. : )
      Great tip on the cider, noted for future trips!

  14. Debbie 03/18/2015 at 10:32 am #

    Some great ideas here. A couple of comments: not a big point, the thyme isn’t Dutch, but I believe German, or if not, then Scandinavian. Fom my experience, the only cheese that can be brought in to the US legally is vacuum packed cheese. I go to my cheese monger here in Holland and he packs it so it can be transported. And years ago I carried some relatively mild cheese back with me and after a couple of days, boy did it stink (vaccuum packed but no refrigeration). Be careful with cheese.

    Love this blog, which I just found via Pinterest. Will continue to follow.

    • Kristin Francis 03/28/2015 at 1:48 am #

      Debbie, thanks for adding your comments! Dutch was just a guess– really don’t know! For cheese (and I’ll be writing about this soon) you can bring back any cheese that isn’t “liquid”– so no ricotta for example. It doesn’t need to be vacuum packed at all, I saw no such requirements on the US Customs website. Also be aware raw milk cheese is not allowed if it’s not aged. Yes– I hear you on the stinky cheese– some cheese must be refrigerated and all cheese must at least be kept at room temperature so summer isn’t a good time to travel with it. Even then depending on the kind of cheese it might not last long– make sure to ask the cheesemonger for storage tips (they often recommend wrapping in paper rather than plastic for the best flavor).
      And thanks for the kind words about my blog, I just started using Pinterest and have been loving it!

      • Natasja 03/23/2016 at 2:20 pm #

        The word Tijmtakken is Dutch. You can buy Ducros also in Belgium. Where they speak Dutch, French and German. So youre guess was right 🙂
        Greetings from Natasja (the Netherlands)

      • Kristin Francis 04/02/2016 at 2:19 pm #

        Ah thanks for the tip! : )

  15. AnnonymousFrenchGirl 03/21/2015 at 10:01 pm #

    OMG I’m french and I laughed so hard reading this post !

    – The kitchen towel is a mop (only used to clean the floor). It was so weird reading this part of the article !
    – Spontex aren’t “vegetable” : there are made from plastic, that is why they are cheap and square-shaped… vegetable sponge are much more expensive and don’t look like this at all. We don’t use them to clean the kitchen table anyway.
    – Yogurts in glass jar are very expensive yogurts and normal french people just buy the regular yogurts in plastic containers (they are great too).
    – Canned food in general (and especially canned foie gras) is cheap and tasteless. It is not something that you proudly eat when you are French : it means that you are poor or you have no time to cook a real meal. Avoid it, really. Except for the canned fishes (mackerel, sardines and tuna) that are delicious.
    – Same goes for cake mixes, crepes, industrial sauces and dressings : all these things are disgusting, really.

    But you were right for the others items, especially cheeses, biscuits, soap and alcohol. And the chestnut spread is just awesome.

    • Kristin Francis 03/28/2015 at 2:02 am #

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! Spontex may have different varieties but the ones I bought were definitely natural cellulose– they are not square, they are rectangular and slightly rounded. And considering my friend’s husband is from the town where the factory is, I trust he is also a good authority! Haha re: the kitchen towel– yes others have commented it is used to mop. It’s a thick towel, good for multiple things I’m sure! : )
      I’m not surprised of your opinions on the processed products! Some love them, some hate them– but I appreciate everyone chiming in and sharing their opinions! Thanks again!

  16. Anonymous 03/27/2015 at 2:15 am #

    Actually the candy you are claiming to be French is German. Haribo is a German brand and exported to France. So are the sauces you showed. They are both about as French as French toast.

    • Kristin Francis 03/28/2015 at 1:40 am #

      Thanks so much for commenting. Yes, I am aware that the company Haribo is German (who can resist their gummi bears!) but this particular candy is very popular with the French (as my friend’s French husband Antoine can attest to). I can’t say for certain whether it’s only made for France or not though. In my supermarket explorations I find that many multi-nationanal companies (Knor, Cadbury) make different items for different countries. Regardless of the origin, I find it interesting to see what is on the shelves of different countries’ grocery stores.

  17. Sarahvr 04/03/2015 at 12:24 am #

    Kristin- you are truly gracious and kind in your responses! ^^^^

  18. lesleyd75 04/07/2015 at 10:53 pm #

    thanks for the ideas, I am hoping to cruise to the French Riviera this fall, I will make a stop at the grocery store now!

  19. Kelly 04/08/2015 at 6:57 pm #

    Thank you for your post! We just went to Monoprix today. I’ve gone to a couple of them down. I was unable to find the “mop” towels though. The rest was fairly easy to locate and the staff was very kind pointing us in the right direction when I couldn’t find items. I Highly Recommend It

  20. Anonymous 04/19/2015 at 5:35 pm #

    Great post and great ideas. Which Monoprix in 4e did you go to?

  21. Anonymous 04/24/2015 at 1:27 am #

    I loved grocery shopping in Paris! Loved the yogurt and cheeses I got at Monoprix and the fromageries. And yes I did bring home some of the cute little jars! I found fig-violet preserves, it was so good I went through two jars in my three weeks in Paris. It was great with my croissants and butter from Normandy. Ahh, how I wish I was there now!

    • Kristin Francis 04/25/2015 at 9:09 am #

      Fig-violet sounds amazing! Every time I come back to this post I think about planning my next visit!

    • Sandra 07/29/2015 at 11:48 am #

      Did you find the fig-violet preserves at Monoprix or elsewhere? I’m going back in Nov & want to look for this. I always buy anything violet (candies, perfumes etc.) I can find in Paris, I just love it.

      • Kristin Francis 07/29/2015 at 10:15 pm #

        I didn’t know that violet was a French specialty– I’ll have to check it out on the next trip, thanks for the tip!

  22. Jadzia 04/24/2015 at 2:38 am #

    The towels are called serpilliere. We attach them to a stiff handled broom to clean up when the dog has an accident. : )

    • Kristin Francis 04/25/2015 at 9:09 am #

      Thanks for the tips!

  23. Tamra 05/14/2015 at 10:02 am #

    I’m traveling to Paris in October and want to bring back several of the yogurt containers. I only hope I can eat enough while I’m there!

  24. Ana O 05/18/2015 at 5:49 am #

    Ah, I love “supermarket tourism”. We must create a niche for that 🙂

    I have never been to a Monoprix, I don’t think I saw one where I was (Southwestern France) but no matter. We did, however, stock up on Dijon mustard and foie gras (those same jars!) I keep the cute jars and use them to store stuff in my kitchen.

  25. skiley 06/13/2015 at 7:57 am #

    Your post was the next best thing to trip to Monoprix! In some ways, it was even better because of your insights. I used to buy Bourjois make up there and it was rumored to be made by the same manufacturer as Chanel. It wasn’t identical to Chanel makeup of course but a second-tier version which certainly worked for me. Merci encore!

    • Kristin Francis 06/13/2015 at 1:19 pm #

      Thanks so much for the lovely compliment! I put a lot of work into the posts so I’m so happy when people let me know they’re helpful! : )

  26. Anonymous 06/30/2015 at 10:06 am #

    Such a great post! I am an anglophile (so go crazy in Marks & Spencer) but next time I am in Paris, I will check out the Monoprix. I especially love the fact that the mop can double as a kitchen towel!LOL

    • Kristin Francis 06/30/2015 at 10:09 am #

      haha thanks! I actually have a post about shopping M&S in draft mode– I stuffed half my suitcase with groceries– everything is packaged so adorably there!

  27. Danielle 07/06/2015 at 12:18 pm #

    Monoprix is an amazing find with a little something for everyone. My most prized souvenirs were a crepe pan (sold for much less than in the U.S.) and a limited edition (to Paris only) perfume (bought at local perfume store). I also bought sea salts from Normandy at the Monoprix for around 3€. With all your suggestions, my family has to go back. Paris, and France in general, was so enjoyable and the French were so kind to us. We loved Nice as well. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Ashley 07/09/2015 at 1:46 am #

    I currently live in Provence and I must say that one of my favourite activities is going to the grocery store! So many of the little things (like mustard) are so much better here. However, I must say that I much prefer buying the local specialities from the local markets where they are made with love and pride. They may be more expensive but if you appreciate your food they are well worth it. In November I go to a market called the Festival du Gras (fat festival) where it seems that everyone stocks up on their foie gras, confit de canard and mountain cheeses for the holiday season. I’m always amazed at how much even the poorest French people will spend on their food. It is very important to them. They don’t think twice about going to the butcher, or buying 7 euro jars of honey from local producers or home-pickled gherkins for 10 euros when there are 1 euro supermarket equivalents. I love that about the French.

    • Kristin Francis 07/11/2015 at 3:31 pm #

      Ashley– you have no idea, Provence is so on my shortlist, almost made it on my latest European itinerary but had to cut it for time– I would love to hit the markets, and I have no doubt the products are worth it. Thanks for the tip about the Festival du Gras– sounds like it’s worth a visit.

  29. Jennifer 07/11/2015 at 2:00 am #

    Crème de Marron (chestnut paste) is traditionally spread on little square butter cookies called Petit Beurre as a snack for children after school. It is also often put on top of vanilla ice cream along with whipped cream at restaurants for dessert.

    • Kristin Francis 07/11/2015 at 3:28 pm #

      sounds delicious! thanks for the info.

  30. Fanny 07/12/2015 at 4:58 am #

    Hi, as French your selection is not really representative of French gastronomic culture, but it is a good example of French industrialization. For example the dijon mustard maille is not produced in France. If you want a mustard produced in burgundy (the region of dijon city) there is only one producer the Edmond fallot mustard with is moutarde de Bourgogne.
    I think if you want French products it is better to visit “épiceries fines” the prices are higher but you will find French products.

    • Kristin Francis 07/12/2015 at 8:11 am #

      Hi Fanny, thanks so much for taking the time to share! Oh yes, I’m aware of that– it is fascinating to experience what is industrialization in other countries versus the US– in France it’s still smaller scale and typically better quality (I was aware that Maille wasn’t produced in Dijon but not aware that it wasn’t produced in France at all so thanks for the tip). But yes of course I want to find the real stuff too– I hope to revisit soon and scope out some smaller producers (I am noting your recommendation for Edmond Fallot)!

  31. Anonymous 07/16/2015 at 1:08 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your ideas. So much better than key chains and typical souvenirs. However I found monoprix expensive and not a pleasant place to shop. I found the prices for food items for the same or better prices at G20 and went to zola color (15th) for tea towels.

  32. Anonymous 07/16/2015 at 1:16 pm #

    I really love these ideas. However, I found Monoprix expensive and not a pleasant shopping environment. I did purchases food items at G20 grocers and tea towels for cheap by Notre Dame and Zola Color (15th).

  33. One Girl: One World 07/21/2015 at 6:03 pm #

    This was brilliant! I was going to do a similar post and decided to do a bit of research to see what other people said and was surprised that someone else considered Monoprix a souvenir goldmine as well! Awesome post!

    • Kristin Francis 07/23/2015 at 9:05 am #

      Aww thanks! Would love to see your picks too! : )

  34. tracie @ beets+birch 07/25/2015 at 1:51 am #

    i love monoprix! i’d say 90% of our souvenirs were from monoprix.
    i brought back 5 kinds of salt.
    monoprix coffee cups and a big bag of carambars as gifts for sons.
    i don’t remember all the things we picked up.

    thanks a bunch for the post lots of great ideas for the next trip!

    • Kristin Francis 07/29/2015 at 10:19 pm #

      Thanks Tracie! Love to hear what other people are picking up!

  35. Sandra 07/29/2015 at 11:44 am #

    I’m addicted to Monoprix. I’ve been to Paris many times and every time I go I wind up stopping in nearly every Monoprix I pass, lol! I basically look for anything I know I can’t in the states – some of my faves:
    Labello lip balms (made by Nivea & we can now get a few in the states under the Nivea brand but you can find so many more flavors in Europe), Cailler chocolate (and many other bars), Monoprix foldable shopping totes (so cheap & cute), face masks, body wash/soaps, hair accessories (cute headbands etc), scarves/hats, Bourjois cosmetics, jams, teas and so much more. I’ll be back in November…can’t wait!

  36. meredith 08/09/2015 at 10:10 pm #

    What is it about Monoprix? Their “no frills” house brand brie is as good as the most decadent, expensive brie I’ve tasted in Australia. I’ve got a pot of the Camargue salt and it’s wonderful. Also, due to being in a cardboard container, it’s a lightweight travel option. Monoprix range of handbags and scarves are a BARGAIN!! They also sell the famous Bensimon tennis shoes for under 30 euro. If you time your trip mid-June you might be in time for one of their sales in which these items are heavily discounted. Monoprix in St Germain my favourite:) Just near Les Deux Magots.

    • Sandra 08/10/2015 at 12:26 pm #

      I’ve heard from friends who have been to Paris since I was there last (almost 2 yrs) who’ve said they no longer see Bensimon shoes in Monoprix — bu I’ll have to check it out for myself when I’m there over Thanksgiving break.

  37. Karen Chew 09/06/2015 at 1:53 am #

    Thank you, Kristin and everyone! We’re heading to Paris next month and I’m overjoyed, to say the least. Your tips and suggestions are all very appreciated. Merci merci

  38. Kristin 09/09/2015 at 5:39 pm #

    Thank you so much foR this info. I am currently in Paris for 2 weeks and I am super excited to check this store out. Just curious what is so special about the soap and body wash that everyone loves? What brand do you reccomend purchasing? Also salt. I read mention of it. What kind of salt should I buy? I heard to purchase herbes du providence while here. Can anyone tell me the best place to purchase?

    • Fanny 09/10/2015 at 1:14 am #

      Hi Kristin !
      For the soap it is Marseille soap (savon de Marseille) It is a special recipe from the city of Marseille in the south of France but for the body wash I don’t really understand why people loved it it is not a special thing for French.
      The French salt is guerande salt (sel de guerande) and I recommend you the “fleur de sel” salt flower to put on foi gras for example.
      For the rest I think you search for “herbes de Provence” ? It is a mix of different herbs like rosemary, thym, basil…
      The best place for me are little merchant if you stay only in Paris or directly to the productors if you travel in France, but not in supermarket please.

  39. Anonymous 09/27/2015 at 1:52 pm #

    The waffles!!!! They don’t even need syrup or anything and they are cheap. Would make a cute housewarming gift or just to eat all by yourself. They’re prepackagad, too.

  40. camaherine henry 10/23/2015 at 8:12 am #

    What a fun post this was,, Thank you so much! I do love Monoprix, but there are other supermarkets to consider; top of my head : Prisunic (hope they’re still in business) and the the super giant Carrefour (wher you could spend an entire week end.)
    A note about Chestnut spread, (Creme de marrons) it is heavenly, my sister brings me 4-5 cans when she visits it can be used in great recipes for pastries, on toast, or right out of the can with a spoon (Yeah; I’m ashamed.)

  41. ammaara 11/05/2015 at 3:06 pm #

    I was looking for monoprix in France and surprisingly landed on your post. thank you for your ideas. Merci beaucoup de partager tes idées avec nous 🙂

  42. Jessica 11/13/2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Oh, Monoprix, how I love thee!! I spent well over two hours in Monoprix during my last trip to Paris; I couldn’t get enough!

    Kristin, next time you’re in Paris, you must try Cafe Angelina. Their creme de marrons pastry is to-die-for! And the tea service is pretty scrumptious too.

    • Kristin Francis 11/14/2015 at 10:02 am #

      I was staying at the Westin right by there, but never made it! Hope to next time, thanks for the recommendation!

  43. Kit 01/14/2016 at 5:29 pm #

    Thanks for a fun post that brought back lots of good memories.

    I love Monoprix! My kids and I went there a lot when we stayed in an apartment in the 11th for 3 weeks. They didn’t want to eat at restaurants…instead, they (we) enjoyed going to Monoprix &/or the open-air market to choose our meals for the day. We had delicious dinners, including duck tenders (I’ve never seen THAT in the US).

    One thing I bought there that I love is a coin purse! Coins are used so much more there than in the States. It’s red & made of the softest leather–it seems really luxurious, but wasn’t expensive at all. I use it whenever I travel.

    Also, we would usually get fresh bread & cheese, mustard, cornichons, etc. for our lunches. Often the cheeses or mustard would come in containers that I still have and use. One cheese, I’ve forgotten the name, came in a round, clay “tray”…it’s sitting on my desk & tends to hold a variety of doo-dads.

  44. Susan 01/20/2016 at 6:32 pm #

    You must try the butter with sea salt in it ( I mean glorious chunks!) , the ‘burger sauce’ ( like special sauce but better), the Wahou crepes ( individually wrapped rolled and filled with chocolate) the individually packaged ‘gelatinous’ bouillon, St Michel gallettes, really any of the cookies, the goat cheese filled cracker- like balls, I could go on and on….as a flight attendant my bags are always filled with European groceries and lotions…

  45. Anonymous 02/12/2016 at 11:08 pm #

    My Monoprix gifts were a big hit…I mostly stocked up on the incredible soaps, cookies and chocolate bars. I can’t wait to go back, so I can get extras to keep for myself now that I know how yummy they are! Ha!
    By the way, Waitrose grocery store in London was another great place for inexpensive souvenirs!

    • Kristin Francis 02/18/2016 at 9:09 pm #

      I do love Waitrose– I stayed at a friend’s townhouse in Chelsea last trip and think I went to the Waitrose 2x a day!

      • Linda Dorman 04/02/2016 at 7:05 pm #

        Love Waitrose! They have the most delicious vanilla custard that tastes more like a rich pastry cream than a pudding. I haven’t been able to find anything like it in other stores.

  46. Anon 02/28/2016 at 2:05 pm #

    I love chestnut spread and was first introduced to it in Germany, swirled into quark soft cheese. It’s great with soured cream too and I think it would work with fromage frais. My German friends and I (Londoner) always love to visit each other’s supermarkets, and I loved your list.

  47. Linda Dorman 03/30/2016 at 12:38 am #

    How timely! I’m in Montpellier, France this week to explore opportunities for a culinary internship and shop at Monoprix daily though I actually prefer Carrefour for more upscale items. I also spent two months in Lyon, the gastronomy capital of France, and was amazed at four aisles of dairy products (yogurt, cheese, cream, puddings, etc..) as well as a plethora of foie gras, duck and other “specialty” foods we never see in US supermarkets. I always stock up on hazelnut sable cookies, salted caramel galettes, chestnut spread, almond paste/marzipan, spices and fruit preserves. Last time, I had to buy a 2nd suitcase to bring it all home. I used them in my pastry class where everyone marveled over the rich flavors – even my chef instructor was impressed! I also get my kitchen equipment and cooking supplies here because they have such unique bakeware shapes and utensils. This week, I bought a silicone bakeware mold for grissini (thin, crispy breadsticks) and plan to make dessert garnishes like a dark chocolate espresso “stick” to top ice cream sundaes.

    • Kristin Francis 04/02/2016 at 2:18 pm #

      I’ll have to check out Carrefour next trip! Noting all your picks for future reference! Yes planned on visiting a cookware shop (David Liebovitz has great recommendations on his blog the Sweet Life in Paris) but it was too short.

      • Linda Dorman 04/02/2016 at 7:03 pm #

        On my last day in Montpellier, I took Tram Line 1 out to Odysseum (15 mins from city centre) and discovered a huge Geant Casino hyper-market! Much better selection and lower prices than both Monoprix and Carrefour in Montpellier, I bought a cooler bag to bring everything home (no room in the suitcase!). Sadly, they confiscated my can of cunard confit (duck) spread from my carry-on at security but everything else (fruit, cheese, yogurt, biscuits, tube of chestnut spread, tuna rillette, brioche, boxed goods) made it through. The inspection agent said I could check it – just not carry it on – but it would have cost a $30 checked bag fee so not worth it as I wanted to keep my bag with me (3 flights home on different airlines so I didn’t want to risk losing my bag en route.)

  48. JW 04/05/2016 at 10:31 pm #

    I always bring back STIMOROL sugarless chewing gum– black licorice flavor, and TONIGENCYL toothpaste (made by Colgate-Palmolive, it’s France’s #1 toothpaste), which also is black licorice flavored. I believe you can buy anchovy paste in a tube (shaped like toothpaste tube), which is handy if you want to add a bit of anchovy flavoring without having to buy a can. (think caesar salade dressing.)

  49. Luci 04/09/2016 at 4:10 am #

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this and post pictures! I can’t wait to go explore the shelves of the Parisian markets when we visit. I’m not going to want to leave.

  50. Louise 05/15/2016 at 1:51 pm #

    Hi Kristin !
    I’m French, but I had such a good moment reading your post ! I usually shop in a hurry and always go for the same products, but your post made me remember and long for things I had almost forgotten !
    May I add two little corrections ? Ducros is in fact a french brand from Provence, and if the name of the herb (thym) is also written in Dutch it is probably because these bags are also for exportation to the Netherlands.
    As for the “kitchen towels” they are in fact called “serpillières” and their purpose is to wash the tile floors. They are a sort of mop if you want but you wrap them on a broom.
    Thanks again for your post, it was great !

    • Kristin Francis 05/28/2016 at 9:33 pm #

      Oh thanks so much for all the comments– yes many many locals told me about the mops haha.

  51. Leigh Selby Craven 05/20/2016 at 5:17 pm #

    I want to thank you so much for this article – I hate the average souvenirs but love buying gifts! This was my first trip to Paris and I’m going home with 3 bags full of goodies from Monoprix! I would have gotten more but can’t fit anything else in my luggage. C’est la vie?!

    • Kristin Francis 05/28/2016 at 9:32 pm #

      oh so happy to hear! I’m still using the soap, I brought home such a stockpile!

  52. Emily 06/08/2016 at 11:29 am #

    I have combed over this post so carefully and am thrilled to say I am heading to France one month from today! I cannot wait to check out all of your suggestions and bring back home with me a little taste of France. Thanks so much for the time you took to post this!!

  53. Katie B 07/03/2016 at 7:06 pm #

    I’m excited to check out French supermarkets on my upcoming trip! I’ve been thinking about the types of lightweight, affordable gifts and souvenirs I might bring back so this post and comments are super helpful. I always find the everyday items in countries other than my own so fascinating…

  54. jean 07/10/2016 at 3:35 am #

    Merci for your blog
    i am doing home exchange fo holidays.
    i will use your list for buying stuff for the foreigners coming.

  55. Mary 07/17/2016 at 10:06 pm #

    I don’t think anyone has commented yet on the Amora vinaigrette. I equate the Amora brand to Heinz in the US (& UK), so nothing special…but I love that salad dressing. When I studied abroad in Dijon it was what we all used, and I still buy it to bring home whenever I visit France. I even ask friends to bring me that and Lion candy bars when they travel to France.
    In terms of other fab grocery stores…I have to admit I was blown away by the Albert Heijn grocery store in Amsterdam last year. Maybe not for souvenirs, but overall I was incredibly impressed and thought it put Trader Joe’s to shame in regard to prepared foods.

    • Kristin Francis 07/28/2016 at 8:24 pm #

      ah good to know about the vinagrette! Yes I’ve been looking for a blogger to do a write up on a Dutch grocery store for me! We have a well stocked dutch shop here in the US that I adore so I’m curious what else is out there.

  56. Stephanie 07/28/2016 at 3:36 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing this! It is spot on! live in the UK but my mum is French so I was bought up on these things so every time we go on holiday to France I fill the car with goodies from the supermarkets! My husband is fully British and doesn’t really understand but will happily share the pastis (it has to be Ricard) I insist on bringing home.
    Carambar that you’ve pictured (the classic caramel version not the fruit) and malabar(a bright pink bubble gum) along with Hollywood gum (the flavour always seemed so much more continental than the UK) were my favourite sweets!

    • Kristin Francis 07/28/2016 at 8:21 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your memories Stephanie! I’m definitely addicted to the sweets!

  57. siyuna77 09/19/2016 at 3:36 pm #

    Great ideas ! I will definitly share this to my foreign friends.
    But (yup there is a but ^^”), that’s absolutely not a dish towel !! We use this for cleaning the floor.

    • Kristin Francis 11/09/2016 at 6:59 pm #

      haha yes that’s been pointed out ;0

  58. Olga 09/27/2016 at 1:52 pm #

    I will be going to Paris in a month and look forward to bringing back some of the recommended items. I go once a year to Paris and my friends always ask for kitchen items. Great list.

    • Kristin Francis 11/09/2016 at 6:59 pm #

      Great, let me know if you find anything else not listed!

  59. Alan Miller 10/05/2016 at 9:01 pm #

    Thank you for reminding me of the delightful times I had in France, both the Monoprix and the Carrfour were our favorites.

    • Kristin Francis 11/09/2016 at 6:54 pm #

      Thanks Alan, I definitely want to hit Carrfour next time!

  60. Jonny 11/05/2016 at 3:41 pm #

    It’s been almost two years since you posted this info and it’s still helping people. I say that because it has certainly helped me. We’ve spent almost two weeks in Paris and our time here is drawing to a close, so I have to think about gifts and souvenirs. Thanks to you, I’ve picked up everything from sponges and dish/mop cloths to fleur de sel, cookies and fig-violet jam. My best find, though, has been lentils de Puy, which I found at a nearby G20. It’s at 38 Rue du Louvre in the 1st arr. When I saw that these very special lentils were selling for less than three euros for 500 grams, I snapped up five boxes. I have no idea how I’m going to get all this stuff home, but I don’t have to get serious about that for another couple of days. Thanks so much for all the great ideas.Kristin.

    • Kristin Francis 11/09/2016 at 6:50 pm #

      Thanks so much I love to hear that! Yikes two years already?? I need to get back!

  61. Rosie Hill (@EcoGitesLenault) 11/14/2016 at 11:12 pm #

    Have you made it to Normandy yet? It’s where I live and I can assure you, you will not be disappointed by the foods on offer!

    • Kristin Francis 11/26/2016 at 12:43 am #

      oh not yet! My planned trip this fall was postponed but I am anxious to go!

  62. steph 11/18/2016 at 11:08 am #

    Hi Kristin
    My daughter was hoping to bring some fabulous french butter back to Canada this Christmas, but from what i have been able to read, it is not allowed through customs. Have you had any issues bringing it into the country? if my information is wrong, I would love to know.

    Thanks Steph

    • Kristin Francis 11/26/2016 at 12:42 am #

      I am not familiar with Canada’s custom laws but it is fine to bring back to the US.

  63. elizabethelizondo 12/29/2016 at 6:59 am #

    I am a mexican who is currently live in Paris with my parisian boyfriend. His family has been so nice and introduced me to the world of french cuisine and lifestyle. I often go to Monoprix and it’s okay for quick shopping. This post is great when you don’t have much time and are in a budget. But if you have more time and money for a lovely present, I would also suggest to go to the local market or to look up for the “specialists” (butcher, cheese/yogurt makers, etc) or to search a “magasin bio” (organic shop) as well for high-quality, products (a bit more costly but worth it).
    I’ll give some suggestions in case you’d want to write a post about what to look up if you have a bit more time and budget.
    1. My boyfriend hates le petit marseillais though.. he says it’s supeer chemical and industrial thing and he prefers Marius Fabre, which is lovely !
    7. For the cheese, I suggest to look up for the “AOP” (Appélation d’Origine Protégé) seal to know it’s authentical. Though the best cheese will always be found “chez le fromager” directly.
    8. For a prettier yogurt in a bottle, go directly to a fromager. For lunch I often go to Rue Mouffetard and get mine, it’s expensive but so good and pretty…
    12. Fleur de sel.. Try the one from Guérande, it’s the best of the best !
    14. Mustard from Maille is international I even find those in Mexico. I once found an assortment of little mustard bottles “façon artisanale” at a fine “épicerie” they were really pretty, small and good!
    Personally, I’d suggest to avoid AMORA… I really don’t like it :S
    11, 16, 18. For soups and conserves, look up for the brand “La belle îloise” it’s really really good !, and the cans (even the big ones like soupe d’homard) are way prettier <3 for the content, believe me, you won't be disappointed. I brought many of those back home for my dad and he loved them!! Though I'm not sure if they're available at monoprix, as I often buy a big stock directly at their factory in Bretagne.
    27. Instead of chestnut spread, try finding the jar with cooked chestnuts so you can make lots of recipes with them !, or a box with "marrons glacés" for a fancy treat.
    31. For the booze, I strongly suggest the Genepi, liqueur de Poire Williams, Chartreuse, etc.

    In general, I'd recommend to skip the pot au feu, blanquette de veau, jams, knorr sauces, monop' dressings, crêpes and galettes (for homemade galettes try finding the "sarrassin" or "blé noir" flour instead)… They take too much luggage space and home recipes can be way better.

    I looooove food! I studied food enginering so I'll be glad to exchange ideas and whenever you are in Paris feel free to contact me and I'll be glad to help making new findings 🙂

    • Kristin Francis 02/16/2017 at 1:46 am #

      thank you so much for taking the time to write up all these tips!!

  64. Heather 01/27/2017 at 9:43 pm #

    Love your ideas although my husband, not so much. I shall forever remember my other half saying “Why the ?$&# are we buying sponges in a grocery store in Paris!?!?!”.

    • Kristin Francis 02/16/2017 at 1:34 am #

      Haha I can totally see that happening my so’s would have said the same thing! Fortunately I was shopping with my mom 🙂

  65. Jeanette 02/18/2018 at 12:36 pm #

    Nice post! I live in Paris and do enjoy shopping at Monoprix even if it’s more expensive than other chains; most of the items you’ve listed can be found at any supermarket here actually. Just a note that the French Bath Gel you’ve shown is actually just hand soap, you know for next to the sink in the kitchen or bathroom. Body wash in France is called “gel douche”. 😉

    • Kristin Francis 02/26/2018 at 9:29 am #

      haha thanks for the correction! As you can see reading through the comments, I have received many corrections which are totally appreciated. 🙂

  66. Samantha 02/18/2018 at 8:50 pm #

    which cheeses from Monoprix would you recommend?

  67. Alicia 02/21/2018 at 6:09 am #

    I am french and all of this is bullshit, except from the cheese.
    Why would you want to bring back industrial products from France ?
    It’s not like we have one of the best gastronomy in the world…
    You can find so many groceries with local products, why go to the supermarket ?

    • Kristin Francis 02/26/2018 at 9:27 am #

      Hi Alicia,
      Thanks for your thoughts. I totally agree on finding high quality local products, and I’m not suggesting not seeking them out (I always hit local markets!). This is not a choose one or the other kind of thing and I don’t think industrial products are better than local ones. But there is something intriguing about ordinary, every day, even industrial products. It’s a cultural thing– even if I don’t buy them I like to look and see what’s on offer at an ordinary supermarket (I write these for every country I visit). And lots of other people are curious too, which is why these posts are so popular.

      • Jadzia 02/26/2018 at 9:46 am #

        I’m French, too, and would like to assure you that some of us actually do have some manners. I love going to the grocery store in a new country!

      • Kristin Francis 03/02/2018 at 8:18 pm #

        Thanks so much for chiming in 🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  68. joyfuldreams 04/14/2018 at 4:39 am #

    I’m French and I don’t want to offence you but I laughed a lot. I disagree for most of the things, I think you went too cliché haha.
    First of all, Monoprix is not THE supermarket all the French go to. There’s Carrefour, Auchan, Leclerc and they are much better. You need to try one time 🙂 Monoprix is the only “huge” supermarket we have here in Paris (i’m also a parisian) and that’s why most of people go there for buying food. But I find them quite expensive and we don’t really have a lot of choice.
    Then, I laughed a lot at “French woman make their own jam”. I know zero French woman who make their own jam. So I was a bit surprised haha. I think that it mostly happen outisde Paris, in the French country side and it mostly made by elders 🙂 Young people buy it in supermarket it’s easier 😉
    For your food selection, I agree for the biscuits, they are really good. Same for the French mustard, a bit spicy, but good. But for the cheese, you definetly need to try one or two from La Fromagerie Goncourt or the one in Montorgeuil in Paris. You will not regret it, they are quite cheese for good quality cheese and they are reaaaally good 🙂
    It’s quite fun to see how foreign people see our country. But it’s always interesting 🙂 When I travel I also love checking the supermarket for unsual things to bring home. And I understand why you did this 😉
    Have a good day!

    • Kristin Francis 05/17/2018 at 6:36 pm #

      Hi thanks so much for writing in! As you might have figured out, I wasn’t looking for the “best” of anything, just a common supermarket, and better it’s a big one with lots of selection. I did consult with some French friends and offered their perspective. I have no doubt cheese is best at a specialty market, but that wasn’t the point– it was that even at a cheap French supermarket, the inexpensive cheese is still leagues above similar cheese you would find at a US market. That’s what I found interesting and surprising, of course everyone knows to find a Fromagerie for the best stuff, that’s not something I need to point out 🙂 And yes I agree locals v. visitors often have different ideas about souvenirs, which is actually why I don’t always think a local knows best what a tourist might want– expats are usually the best source as they have both local knowledge and an outsider perspective. I am also shocked at what foreigners bring back from the US– those red solo cups and Bass fishing hats! Who knew?

  69. Alice 07/17/2018 at 2:36 am #

    I’m French and I love your suggestions! I was wondering what stuffs I should buy for my friends in the US. This is super helpful, keep on updating us with new stuffs please. Truly appreciate it, and don’t mind the harsh criticism from some :).

    • Kristin Francis 10/25/2018 at 11:52 pm #

      Thanks for your support Alice 🙂

  70. Cynthia Kitch Reid 07/20/2018 at 1:44 pm #

    My favorite supermarket find in France are Belin crackers – the Monaco are simply amazing little butter crackers with baked-on emmenthal cheese, the Minizza are little tiny pizzas with sauce and oregano baked on top. There are more but I strongly recommend trying them when you are in France. The pizza crackers make an amazing souvenir for kids. Unfortunately you cannot find them in the US.

    • Kristin Francis 10/25/2018 at 11:51 pm #

      oh yum the pizza crackers sound intriguing, I’ll have to look for them next time, thanks for sharing.

  71. Anonymous 08/06/2018 at 2:54 am #

    thanks for the post Kristin. I read this at 8am and its so helpful as I cannot wait for 1 more hour to head down to this store to get for my wife a coffee there along with groceries i needed. I just found out this store this morning too and this post hit me. 👌🏻😘(French kiss here for you as i just learned from my far far cousin)

    thanks again

    • Kristin Francis 10/25/2018 at 11:49 pm #

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, hope you had an amazing trip!

  72. Anonymous 08/27/2018 at 4:52 am #

    Thank you so much for these wonderful gift ideas! I am French and it is a great source of ideas for me. I was wondering what gift I could send to my american friends and you helped me a lot to find what they will like to have from France. Even if this post is more than 3 years old, it is still useful. i hope you succeeded to come back in France. Have a good day!

    • Kristin Francis 04/15/2021 at 9:27 pm #

      Thanks so much for your nice comment 🙂

  73. Carole 08/27/2018 at 5:08 am #

    Thank you so much for these wonderful gift ideas! I am French and it is a great source of ideas for me. I was wondering what gift I could send to my american friends and you helped me a lot to find what they will like to have from France. Even if this post is more than 3 years old, it is still useful. i hope you succeeded to come back in France. Have a good day!

    • Kristin Francis 10/25/2018 at 11:36 pm #

      Hi Carole, I try to keep the posts evergreen so the ideas don’t expire! I’m glad you found it helpful it’s funny locals often do not know what interests tourists. And yes I was back in Paris last year and once again stuffed my suitcase full of monoprix!

  74. Laura 09/16/2018 at 7:50 am #

    I LOVE the Monoprix! Yes, I’ve purchased the pocket washcloths, cheese, and socks! It’s my first stop when I get to Paris – where else can you get a six pack of Evian water for the price of one bottle in the US?!

    • Kristin Francis 10/25/2018 at 11:31 pm #

      Hi Laura, so glad you agree! Yes I am always floored by the water prices!!

  75. Gina L Pogol 10/31/2018 at 7:37 pm #

    I am in Paris for 30 days and noticed the Monoprix store. Now I will go in. But I am a little frustrated with the number of items listed that you had not actually tried. Can you please post an update? And thank you for the advice about the confit and cassoulet. Saw it in huge cans at the local store in the 13th, where i am living, and was hesitant to try because it is a lot if I hate it. But tomorrow I am buying 🙂

    • Kristin Francis 04/15/2021 at 9:23 pm #

      Hi Gina, I was there for a week, it’s not really feasible for me to try everything. Sorry you are frustrated, I provide this blog free of charge to my readers.

  76. MHeit 11/26/2018 at 6:09 pm #

    Last summer I had President butter with bits of chocolate. So good on brioche! I’ll look for it the next time I’m in Monoprix. I always bring back lemon flavored Boiron toothpaste. I think you can only get it at the pharmacy, though.

    • Kristin Francis 04/15/2021 at 9:17 pm #

      Oh I’ll have to look for that!

  77. Tina 11/29/2018 at 10:49 am #

    Hi Kristin, just read your post, its great 🙂 Thanks! Just fyi: Haribo is not french, the company is based in the region I live in – in Germany. It originates from the city Bonn – that is what the BO stands for, HA and RI stands for Hans Riegel, the founder of the company 🙂 KR Tina

    • Kristin Francis 04/15/2021 at 9:17 pm #

      Thanks for the correction! I guess despite it being German the French have taken a fondness to them! I love all Haribo personally.

  78. Anonymous 01/09/2019 at 4:10 pm #

    Liked this post, but I hate to disappoint you…many of the products were processed, packaged foods that true French people hardly ever buy (which is why they’re so slim ;). No french local would regularly buy processed foods. And many of the brands are actually German brands (Knorr, Haribo, etc). But I have to agree, le petit Marseille is a true gem 😉

    • Kristin Francis 01/12/2019 at 4:51 pm #

      Hi thanks for commenting! This post isn’t intended as a shopping guide for locals, but as a fun look at what is even available and what differs from what we Americans are used to finding! The German brands you mention offer different items in different countries (Knorr offers different sauces based on local tastes; some Haribo items are local french favorites). Processed foods are shelf stable and easy to bring home. Since the French are known for buying fresh, it’s even more interesting to see the few processed things available. This post is more a “look what you can find here” observation, it’s not intended to reflect what the French regularly eat, I think we are all aware of of the absence of processed food! 🙂

  79. Anonymous 07/26/2021 at 4:09 pm #

    Quenelles de brochet or saumon are what fill our suitcase. Uniquely French from Lyon, only 2 euros at Monoprix. Easily heated in the oven. Easily garnished with parsley and anchovy stuffed olives.
    Great recommendations, every one!

    • Kristin Francis 07/03/2022 at 1:23 pm #

      Yum, I’ll check it out next time!

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