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Keepsake Souvenirs

What would you recommend for souvenirs/keepsakes from the following areas: Paris, Beaune, Munich, Lauterbrunnen Valley, and Cinque Terre? We once purchased glass in Venice and had it shipped home. (wine glasses, decanter, and a 'fighting gamecock') I want to purchase something unique to the areas but not over the top.

Posted by
11507 posts

I bring home food from Paris, sauce mixes and spices I can't find here etc. For friends, scarves.
Thats it,, been to all those other places except Cinque Terra and just can't be bothered to shop , rather spend money on awesome dinners out,, those are my keepsakes, nights I can't remember with friends I can't forget! lol

Posted by
28 posts

From Paris, buy a painting from the square in Montmartre. There are some very beautiful ones there, and some small as well. From Munich, try a cuckoo clock or one of those wooden Christmas decorations that spin (don't know the name, sorry). I have yet to find the perfect keepsake from Paris. I will keep looking! Probably my favorite souvenirs have been a lace fan from Brussels and a Lomonsov china teapot from St. Petersburg.

Posted by
977 posts

I'm a fan of small pieces of distinctive local art/craft work (paintings/pottery etc.)

Posted by
175 posts

Melanie, How about a nice scarf (scarves) from Paris, cowbell from Lauterbrunnen Valley (not in a souvenir shop but a hardware store), nice beer mug from Munich? Not sure about Beaune since you have wine classes.. perhaps a print to frame. Cinque Terre is hard...we bought a small tablecloth with a colorful map on it. We often buy a nice mug to remind us of the places we go. Bring a tube to bring any prints back. Enjoy

Posted by
203 posts

When in France, I think "French Perfume". There are some great reasonably priced ones at Fragonard - near the Opera Garnier. They even have a sort of museum up stairs.

Posted by
4 posts

All of your ideas are wonderful! I didn't know what a beer mat was so I had to look it up. Wish I had started collecting those sooner. Are they free for the taking or do I need to ask the bar/restaurant if I can purchase? I like the suggestion about taking a tube for prints. And the scarves and cow bell (!!). Perfect! Thank you all!

Posted by
214 posts

The last time we were in Paris, my wife and I bought a blue and white enameled house number sign (about 4 x 6 inches), identical with the one on the front of our hotel. We affixed it to our bedroom door at home, and are reminded daily of the lovely time we had in Paris. It only cost about 8 Euros at one of the book stalls on the left bank of the Seine. At one of the souvenir shops near the Arc de Triumph, we also found a dish towel with a map of the Paris Metro on it. It's pretty well worn by now, so we'll pick up another one next month.

Posted by
1878 posts

There were shops in the Cinque Terre that had great local crafts. I cannot remember which town, probably more than one. We got some neat hand painted ceramic anchovies (or sardines?), the same small fish that swim in big schools offshore. Except for Lauterbrunnen Valley, I have been to everywhere else on your list and do not remember any characteristic souvenirs. Best to let your spontaneity carry the day, and if you do not end up buying anything, that's o.k. Personally I collect animal figurines and museum guidebooks from our travels.

Posted by
9044 posts

It depends on if you want something that is made in that area or just something to remind you of it. Your scarf will probably have been made in China or India, but if you like it and it reminds you of your visit there, then get it. Just be aware that the same scarf will probably be available in any of those cities your are visiting. For Germany, I like pottery items that are typical of the area as each region has its own style and colors. Frankfurt for example, has a grey and blue salt-glazed style, but very near by, the designs are dark green or brown, with yellow designs. I am sure Munich must have something similar. If I was in Italy, I would want some Murano glass, but I would want it from a reputable place that isn't selling knock-offs. Getting a Christmas decoration from each place is fun and may actually get you something that is made there. Seek out small, independant stores or markets where the artisans are working on their wares, to avoid mass produced stuff from China. This helps support local craftspeople and gives you an item truly made in the location you are visiting.

Posted by
109 posts

I have a pencil/pen holder on my desk at work with pens from all the European places I've been. That way, I get to look at them all the time. I only used them occasionally. They start lots of conversations when people come to my office. Everyone knows I will chop their fingers off if I find one of my special pens on their desk :-) I got a coin purse at the gift shop in the Eiffel Tower in 2006. I get complements on it every time I pull it out of purse to pay for something. It has the Eiffel Tower and Pont Alexander III on it with little fake crystals that make it sparkle. Reminds me of seeing the tower twinkling at night. Earrings / jewlery. Picture frames. Books from the gift shops of the places you visit. Our refigerator is covered with magnets from all the places we've been. Calendars for the following year.

Posted by
3696 posts

I try to purchase either clothing or jewelry from places I visit. When I went out today I had on my Haflinger shoes from Germany, the purse I bought in Malaga Spain, the earrings from Guatemala, the scarf from Italy and the gloves I just bought in Paris.... and I really do briefly remember each trip as I use these items. I buy most of my clothes on trips. Also useful items like linens, spices, art supplies, anything that I will really use and enjoy.

Posted by
4 posts

All of your ideas are splendid! Thank you for taking the time to post. Just reading your feedback makes me even more excited about our upcoming trip. Melanie

Posted by
60 posts

It is very rare that I shop while on vacation. I'm there to see the country, enjoy the culture, and the delcious food. In my opinion the greatest keepsake is taking tons of pictures of your journey. You will never grow tired reliving the experience through photos. On the day we depart Europe I stop at a local bakery and purchase lots of goodies to share with family and friends.

Posted by
8876 posts

I'm a practical shopper. Still have and still use a soap dish I got on my first trip to Paris in 1972. Use it in the kitchen. Still have London Bobby Black Hat, Royal Crown and Double Decker bus key chains from the Harrods gift shop at Heathrow. Book marks of the Book of Kells and have used Penhaligons English Fern soap since my 20's.

Posted by
7 posts

We love utilitarian items which we can use and enjoy for years when we get home. Many of our favorite items came from hardware stores. There is a brass "wc" from England on our guest bathroom door, a "beware of the cat" sign from the CT (in Italian) which is posted at our front door, a "pull" sign in Chinese and English on our back door, and a glass coffee mug from Vienna. My advice is enjoy the town and see something that the locals use. For a while, I collected oil and vinegar cruet sets from each place. We, of course, take LOTS of photos. I have many of them made into a posters and they hang in my laundry room. As I fold clothes, I am instantly transported to the hills above CT, to the middle of the Li river on a bamboo raft in near Yangshuo, China, and I am walking down a tiny alleyway in Venice.

Posted by
96 posts

I like things that I am going to notice because I use them or they catch my eye or a guest's eye once we get them home. Some are special and others are useful. While in Paris we went into a linens shop and bought kitchen hand towels with french items embroidered on them, while they were nothing magnificent, they are something that I use everyday and everytime I get one out of the drawer or fold them in the laundry, I think of the nice lady in the store. As silly as that is, it brings memories of Paris flooding back (oh and BTW they are EASY to bring home in your suitcase). Cinque Terre is known for there Pesto so we bought pesto (harder to get home because it is a liquid but worth the effort or you could ship it too). Photos definitely. When you get home...find some favorites...enlarge them...frame them and hang them!