Evil Genius Society

Paris is one of the most dangerous cities to go gift-shopping. I mean, when you’re looking for the perfect piece of the City of Light to share with your family and friends, how can you resist the soaps at Fragonard, the pottery and notebooks at Astier de Villatte, the cool kid CDs at Colette or the boites of macarons and chocolates all over town—for yourself?

It’s easy to be greedy around such lovely loot. For better or worse, the price tags keep some of the madness in check. But there’s another way to work around this fair city that’s très cher: Monoprix.


Seriously! If you think about the delicacies and delights we all savor in Paris, you can find some real steals right at your neighborhood grocer. Take, for example, the pajama aisle. They may not be as raffiné as what you’d find at Le Bon Marché, but the options are pretty darn cute, nonetheless. (Don’t forget the matching slippers.)



For the men in your life, grab some jars of mustard and tins of sardines. They’re compact, come in infinite varieties, and pack a delicious punch per centime. Or, in the “personal goods” section, you can find lovely big blocks of olive oil soap, which are great “man gifts.”

Roger & Gallet

Speaking of soaps, the perfume-y scents and classic packaging of Roger & Gallet make it a perfect choice for granny, while the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse is a totally hip gift for your best friend—and great for the skin. Also in the cosmetics section, Bourjois lipsticks and blush will make your little sister and nieces pleased as punch.

Speculoos: Marionlon (top)/Little Daan

And we all have a sweet freak in our life. Nothing will delight them more than to feed their addiction with a bag (or two, or three) of Haribo Dragibus and Tagada. Trust me. And to make 2011 the holiday season everyone on your list will remember, stuff their stockings with the magic that is Speculoos.

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Written by Amy Thomas for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in London, Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.


Amy Thomas

Amy Thomas is a sweets-obsessed writer based between New York and Paris. She published her best-selling “foodoir” (food writing meets memoir), Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate). This was followed up with the 2018 book Brooklyn in Love: A Memoir of Food, Family and Finding Yourself. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, T Magazine, New York Post, National Geographic Traveler, New York Magazine, Town & Country, Bust, Every Day with Rachel Ray and others.


  1. I agreed, Monoprix is one of the best place to buy gifts. I have bought gifts for my friends during my last trip to France.

  2. We just flew home from Paris yesterday. All of our family and friends are getting Christmas gifts which will include something from Monoprix. Never have been to Paris without bringing home a scarf (or 3) from the Monoprix on rue de Rennes.

  3. It’s pretty funny. Because two days ago I was in Paris with my mother and we also found great gifts for my relatives and my little nephew in Monoprix: )) I just loved it!

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