Are these affordable souvenirs in Paris area, or not? Any suggestions?
Well I have other suggestions( I think berets are a less then great idea).
For women scarves, they pack easy ,and are very in, here and there. They are available everywhere, on the street stalls , and in low and high end stores..
Fridge magnets are always fun.
Tinned pates and confits for the gourmet on your list, even going into a deluxe food store like Fauchons will give you some great ideas.
For men, scarves, for same reasons as women, or even a t shirt, if they don't like it at least they can wear it to garden in, where as some men will never wear a beret no matter what.
I bet there are men in Paris wearing berets right now, , but only because it like minus 10 or 15 there right now, a freakish cold snap I understand..but apparently sunny!
"Okay, I'm just curious: How many Parisians have been seen actual wearing a beret? (not implying it wouldn't be a fine souvenir)."
I'm not sure if this counts, but how about the military guard that sometimes performs ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe?
Yes they are -- you can get them virtually anywhere. You might start with the souvenier shops along the Rue du Rivoli.
I'm curious: How many actual Parisians have been seen actual wearing a beret, not implying there's anything wrong with wearing berets, but how many Parisians wear 'em?
For affordable souvenirs in Paris, go to the lower 5th arrondissement. It is very touresty but very competitive. You can find anything from key chains of the Eiffel Tower to scarves, aprons, you name it. Rue de Rennes near St. Sulpice is good shopping also. Have fun
If the beret is for a woman, and if you just want a plain one, not one with the Tour Eiffel in shiny, gold beads, go to Monoprix, where they have a good selection in all colours. I buy one every year there. My husband bought a Basque beret in France a number of years ago which he wears often, and yes, Kent, lots of Parisians wear berets, they really do.
My husband wears a beret and looks really classy with it. I think they have a resurgence in popularity due to the many different military members that wear berets now. They aren't something "odd". On the other hand, one does not usually buy a hat for someone else, as they come in sizes. It needs to be tried on.
When shopping for souvenirs, always keep in mind "would you want this gift". If not, then don't get it for someone else, unless you really know for sure that they want it. Would your father-in-law really like that apron with "David" by Michelangelo on it? If your sister does not have magnets on her fridge, then she probably does not want one that looks like the Eiffel tower either. If your mom only wears small diamond studs, then she probably will shudder when receiving the Eiffel tower earrings. I have gotten such odd things from friends and family and employees, that I wonder sometimes what goes through their head.
My husband wants a beret badly.To tell you the truth, we have never seen anyone wearing a beret in Paris or anywhere else in France. We spend 2 months a year or more all over France. Not one.
My experience is the same as Jane's: I can't remember ever seeing anyone in Paris (okay Tom, I mean any civilians) wearing a beret, even a tourist. I don't know why, berets look sharp. I bet Jo's husband looks sharp in his, and Evelyn's too, if he decides to buy one (despite all these posts)! As a hair-challenged geezer, I probably should start wearing one. :)
I am having flash backs of Chevy Chase and National Lampoons European Vacation.
I don't know about France, but in Germany, it seems like hats, all kinds of hats, have made a comeback. One sees pretty much everything. Those little hats from the mideast, hats from Africa, pilots hats, knitted caps, those knitted hats with flaps are extremely popular right now, British caps that look like a beret with a brim, and so on. Anything that can make a statement, except of course baseball caps. They are around, but still not very popular except with some of the younger crowd who wear them perched on the top of their head. Looks rather silly. I will take the beret any day over that!
Tell your husband to get his beret. I bet he will look suave and debonair with it.
Not sure if my answer counts, but I wear a beret every day during the winter. I may not look particularly classy, but it sure beats having a cold head! My guess is that wise Parisians feel the same way.
Jane (Lebanon): In the Basque area of France (SW) it is almost impossible NOT to see men in berets.
Norma the Basque region, being so close to Spain is undoubtly influenced in styles( as in food) to some degree, Since our poster from Spain assures us that berets are common in Spain, that may explain why you have seen people wearing berets often in that area of France.
I also wonder if its a generational thing, young men less likely to wear a hat, older men more likely.
I haven't spent alot of time in France during any really cold months, so cannot comment too much on what I have seen. I do think that berets are less popular with the young, instead, like Jo mentioned, the hats with weird flaps seem to be in ,, but how many of us over 40 can presume to be experts on what is in ,, I know I give gift certificates and money to teens rather then assuming I can buy them clothes they will actually like anymore!
A couple of years ago I took a picture of my sister in Paris standing near a Metro entrance. When I examined the picture, there was a man standing a few feet away from her wearing a beret. I can't state with certainty that he is French, but that would be my guess.
John Kennedy JR. was always seen wearing a beret in NYC in the winter and he sure looked hot. Go for it.
Pat was right on with his generation gap comment. In Spain the beret is perceived as something belonging to "old people" (and also as something that hicks from the country might wear). It is rare, nigh on impossible, to see a younger person wearing a beret.
John Kennedy Jr roller bladed around New York City in short silky shorts,, and he looked hot,, but it is NOT a look for everyone though,, too funny.
I can't speak for Paris (it's some years since we ventured there) but there are plenty of beret wearers in Normandy and Pays de Loire. By no means universal, but not so rare that you think it odd when you see one. Trilbies are also popular.
My wife also has one emblazoned with a cockerel which she wears for international rugby matches. :)
I lived in France for a year....visited many cities and I think I saw 2 men wearing berets.
For an gift, go to Monoprix, their supermarket and look for Biscuits Rose. They are made only one place in the world, Renne or Riems France. You dip them in champagne and when you bite into the biscuit the bubbles stay inside! It is an interesting treat and very unusual.
I would suggest a scarf as a fashion item to buy because the locals all wear them A beret will scream out tourist. I walked in virtually every arrondissment of Paris for five (5) full days and saw only one (1) or two (2) locals wearing one. The Latin Quarter is a good place to look for other things to buy. Good luck!