Paris is one of the world’s fashion capitals and a city synonymous with luxury fashion and designer fashion houses.
Given a trip to Paris is often a special occasion, buying a special bag can often be a wonderful way to mark the trip. Paris is home to the best designer brands – storied brands really. Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Hermes, Chloe, Saint Laurent…there are so many houses that are famous for their luxury goods and you really can’t beat the experience of shopping on one of Paris’s famed streets like Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré or Avenue Montaigne.
If you’re hoping to buy a bag in Paris, this post may be helpful to you! Of course, many of these bags are now available to buy online but I think the experience of going to the stores in Paris and seeing what inventory they have is so special. Not to mention, thanks to the VAT refund you are likely able to save some money when you purchase a bag in Paris. Many of the bags in my bag collection have been bought in Paris.
Also, if you time your visit right and the currency exchange is good, that combined with the VAT refund, you could really save a decent amount vs. buying a bag in the U.S. or elsewhere.
As the founder of Paris, Perfected I have shopped many a time in Paris and below are some of the styles I see people purchase most often.
15 Best Designer Bags To Buy In Paris
Chanel 2.55 Flap Bag
Let’s start with the most famous bag in the world shall we?
Since its introduction in 1983, the Chanel Classic Flap Bag has remained one of the most timeless, iconic and recognizable bags. Karl Lagerfeld reinterpreted Chanel’s iconic 2.55 Flap bag with noticeable features you’ll likely recognize like a leather woven chain and the famed double C turn-lock closure.
This bag can be worn with a double strap or single strap. It’s known for its quilting (available in classic or chevron on certain styles) and you can choose from a variety of colors, sizes and hardware.
If choosing to buy this bag, your biggest decision will be to decide between lambskin or caviar leather. It’s personal preference but caviar leather is said to hold up much better to wear and tear and scratches.
A fun story I’ve heard is that Coco Chanel would hide her love letters in the zip pocket located underneath the handbag’s outer flap.
Each Classic Double Flap bag is handcrafted at the Ateliers de Verneuil-en-Halatte, one of Chanel’s prized Metiers d’Art workshops. The artisans at this shop have each trained for a minimum of four years, mastering every technique required to meticulously craft the Chanel Classic Double Flap, a process that takes a total of 15 hours and up to 180 operations.
Out of all the Chanel bags available and all the new collections they put out each season, the Classic Flap bag remains the most sought after bag and remains a bestseller. You can shop it at a variety of Chanel boutiques in Paris but I prefer the one on Rue Cambon which is where Coco used to have an apartment.
Next up let’s go to one of my favorite houses that I shop at personally in Paris…
The Triomphe has been an emblem of the house of Celine since 1972. In recent years it has been reimagined by Celine’s various creative directors and the gold triomphe now adorns many of the brand’s most popular bags.
You’ll find the Triomphe bags in a variety of styles, colors and materials at Celine. I love the Teen size for how much it fits but the fact that it is easily dressed up or dressed down.
Debuted in 2015 the belt bag is instantly recognizable as Celine. I have the Mini size in a beautiful neutral color. It comes in smaller and larger sizes and many color options. As this is an older bag, if you’re interested in it you won’t see it on the floor but you can ask for it when at a Celine store and they’ll share what they have available.
I love that it is a top handled bag but also comes with a shoulder strap that you can remove.
Need a good bag for work? This bag – available in Medium and Large sizes – is perfect for a work carryall. It fits a laptop and plenty of other essentials.
As this is an older bag, if you’re interested in it you likely won’t see it on the floor when you walk into the store but you can ask for it when at a Celine store and they’ll share what they have available.
The Celine Box Bag is one of my most worn. I love how vintage it feels and that you can wear it as a shoulder bag shortened or long. It comes in several materials in addition to leather and I really appreciate that the hardware has been antiqued so you’re not worried about it getting scratched.
From his first collection in 1962 to his final presentation in 2002, Yves Saint Laurent created exquisite clothes and bags. The house remains a go-to for handbags and offers a variety of styles that suit a variety of ages.
I bought my Betty Bag which is no longer a style that is made in 2015 and it continues to be one of my most worn bag. It has held up beautifully and its sleek and simple design means it will age well with time. I don’t personally love their bags that have the big YSL logo on them but I do really like their minimalist bags like the Manhattan bag.
When in Paris I prefer to buy from French brands, but Italian labels like Gucci and Prada have stores that get loads of traffic for those going after the Italian made goods. I don’t love the overly branded Gucci bag styles with logos everywhere but I do think their classic, timeless Dionysus and Horsebit styles are really beautiful and chic.
If you’re looking for a designer bag that won’t break the bank, the Lonchamp Le Pliage tote has been on the arms of women – especially French women – for over 30 years. It is iconic, long-wearing and wonderful for everyday or as a travel carry-on.
Lady Dior Bag
This quilted top handle bag is a famous French bag that is ultra feminine and has been a stylish staple for over 24 years when it was first seen on the arm of Princess Diana when she was in Paris. It was in her honor it was named the Lady Dior bag.
Dior Saddle Bag
Revisited through a myriad of patterns and color palettes in the last decade thanks to Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collections, the Dior Saddle bag has been re-anointed as an iconic Dior bag. I love that you can switch it up by swapping out the strap for a variety of styles.
Dior Book Tote
This bag isn’t a personal favorite of mine because of the heavier patterns but I do think it looks like such a chic and practical travel carry on. Fun fact? If you buy this at the Dior Avenue Montaigne Flagship store you will be able to personalize it in store with your name or initials.
Monsieur Roger Vivier, is said to be the creator of the first stiletto heel in the 1950s but did you know the brand also has beautiful bags? I love their clutches in particular thanks to the vintage vibes and beautiful embellished details.
Hermès Kelly Bag
Of course Hermès is one of the most famous French handbag bands thanks to the storied high quality Birkin with luxury leather but the Kelly bag is actually more my personal aesthetic.
In the 1930s, Robert Dumas, son-in-law of Émile Hermès, whom he succeeded at the head of Hermès (1951-1978), created the Kelly bag with straps. He designed a trapezoid shape with two triangular gussets, a cutout flap, a handle and two side straps, and with it he brought the house into the era of boldness and modernism.
If I ever got this bag I think I’d get a smaller size in black with gold hardware.
Louis Vuitton Bags
I’m not personally a Louis Vuitton girl but I know it remains one of the French fashion brands that tourists love to purchase from. This famed luxury brand was started by its namesake when he was just sixteen years old and decided he wanted to become a trunk maker. I think the history behind the house of Louis Vuitton (especially their leather goods!) is amazing and the brand’s luxury fashion offerings are in fact very special.
The brand’s most famous bags include the Neverfull tote, the Pochette and the Dauphine.
When it comes to my own bags, I’m more about styles that are “if you know, you know” so I tend to steer clear of overly branded bags or bags with too many logos. But that’s my own personal preference! I really want my bags to grow with me – I don’t want to tire of them too soon! And I find that overly branded bags don’t hold their resale value as much.
But as always, buy and wear what you like, what makes you feel confident and what brings you joy!
The perfect elevated take on a straw market tote. I love the adjustable straps on this bag and how it goes with every summer outfit.
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Do you need help planning your trip to Paris? I offer loads of shopping guidance and souvenir ideas along with other custom recommendations to make your next trip to Paris the best one yet. Head to ParisPerfected.com to get started.
Designer Bags to Consider in Paris
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