Paris souvenirs

by | Oct 1, 2019 | a slice of life, Travel | 31 comments

Before we leave Paris and head to Italy, I thought I would share the “souvenirs” I purchased.  For me, I like to bring things home that I will use.  When I interact with them, they will remind me of my trip and, hopefully, a great memory that accompanies them.

I already shared about the antique fountain pen and the lesson I learned about giving a situation a second chance.

I also purchased a reproduction of a French handwriting primer…

..and my beret and books from Shakespeare & Co.  With my beret, I’ll remember being physically shown how to wear them properly.  Those books will always bring me back to the narrow aisles of the bookshop frequented by Hemmingway.

The last items I purchased were from Charvin Arts.

I selected items that I haven’t come across before or I most likely couldn’t buy at an art store in the US.

I purchased a small metal bottle (it looks a little like a flask) for traveling with water for watercolors…

…a tan-toned sketchbook…

A ceramic watercolor palette…

…a small watercolor mop brush…

…a mechanical pencil and a lead holder…

…and an eraser…

And, my last souvenir was a package of my leftover French butter!  I’m telling you, it really is that good.  I wish I could give each of you a taste on a bite of baguette, so you could experience it.  I wrapped this in plastic and carried it to Florence, to Barga, back to Florence, and then all the way to Minnesota.

At US customs check, the customs officer asked if I had any food.  “Yes.  I have part of a package of butter I purchased at a grocery store in Paris.”  I think he tried to stifle a laugh.  “That’s fine.”

I have been using my imported half-pack of butter sparingly since I got home, trying to only use it when I’ll really get to taste and appreciate it.

All of my purchases were safely packed in my suitcase when we caught the early train from Paris to Milan and then on to Florence…


  1. Connie

    Ha! About the butter, that’s funny but exactly the same for me! I never liked butter until I went to Paris, Monte Carlo & all points in between! In fact, I wouldn’t eat anything but the cheapest of margarines because it tasted better to me-ugh! Now I only buy European or Irish butter and they are still not as good as what we experienced on the trip, guess it was all about being there! President brand butter from France is a pretty good 2nd though.

    • Gloria Walters

      I wonder if that butter is cultured butter.It is lovely, but pricey.You can buy it in Australia from specialty & providers.

      • Connie

        Yes Gloria it is cultured & has a higher fat content too! Maybe the French farmers sing to their pet cows too – who knows😂 but that butter is mighty fine. Irish butter is good too but both French & Irish butters were better while I was eating them there than they are here at home! Can’t believe all Marian’s lovely souvenirs and all most of commenters can talk about is butter!

  2. Tina

    We live in France and that’s our favourite butter!

  3. celestial

    My brother lived in France for 3 years and always maintained that French butter was like no other. (When I was there I would always ask for butter to go with my croissants and the waiters were quite dismissive of me. ) But I agree…French butter is better butter!!!

  4. jinny

    My hometown grocery store, Wegman’s, carries Butter Boy, a delicious French butter. Pricey but worth every bite!

    • Susan

      I l love that little eraser with the elephant on it!

  5. Jeanna

    I can totally relate to your love of European butter. It’s soooo good, but so what the bread, and the food, and the wine, and… now I’m drooling. haha!

  6. Linda

    Nothing beats the taste of European butter and bread.

  7. Pamela

    Ditto Wegman’s and Butter Boy. Pricey it is – they only sell it by the quarter pound 😀

  8. Carole Roth

    Hello Marian ,
    Now you know the secret of our Cuisine , our butter !!!
    Happy to see you appreciated your trip to France .
    Carole R.

  9. Jeanine

    That is so cute you were carrying butter! I bet it tastes amazing. There is nothing like fresh French bread and real butter! You may want to check out amazon and see if you can get any of the items you tasted and loved. I went to England this spring and fell in love with their “digestive” cookies….perfect with tea. I was over the moon happy when I saw I could order them from amazon and have them at my door in two days. They always remind me of our special trip. I wore a beret the entire time I was in England. Not only are they cute, but it was needed on those UK blustery days. You looked so cute in yours!

  10. Michele M.

    Feel the same way about the butter in Ireland – nothing compares. I have purchased imported butter in stores here in the states and it just isn’t the same. European butters and cream and ice creams – nothing like it in the world.

    I can’t believe you traveled with it – haha – you are hilarious. Glad it didn’t melt on ya! Enjoy!

  11. Antonella

    Oh my! That ceramic palette is a thing of beauty!

  12. Elizabeth

    I love the ceramic palette too and the mop brush is a nice find too. Yum! That butter sounds so good right now. Will definitely have to try it next time I am in Paris! 😊

  13. Teresa

    That’s so funny about the butter but you are correct because once you experience French butter there is no comparison. We had President brand butter on a cruise and I found that to be very good which can be purchased at some higher end grocery stores in the states.

    Your souvenir post reminded me so much of when my late great aunt went to Europe for a month long trip and I asked her to bring me a few things back from France. This was in the mid-seventies and I was in my second year of French. I remember she brought me back some French perfume, some earrings and a poster of some event taking place at the Louvre. Oh how I wish I still had that poster…lol!

  14. Julie | Home On The Hill

    That had me intrigued – why is French butter better tasting?

    I found this interesting article that explains it:
    French butter is indeed higher in fat than American butter – about 82 percent minimum, as opposed to the 80 percent required in the U.S. But in addition to being higher in fat, French butter is also cultured, a process whereby live active cultures are added to the cream before the butter is churned.
    From parisuncovered dot com

  15. Elizabeth

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, compares to French bread and their butter.
    A Wegman’s just opened in Raleigh. I am going tomorrow and will pick up Butter Boy!

  16. Susan

    You need to find a flight attendant friend! We all bring multiples of the fabulous sea salt butter home from our trips to Paris!

  17. Jo

    I bought vacuum sealed sausage in Italy one time. The shop keeper assured me it would be fine on the plane. Got to customs – and I can’t remember where but probably Italy – and they took it. I was so bummed because I was bringing it back for my mom. Sometimes, it’s best to not tell.

    • Sheila

      I know it must have been very disappointing to have something you declared to customs taken from you, but, you could have been heavily fined if they had found it and you didn’t declare. Not telling doesn’t mean they won’t find it. Customs has sniffer dogs whose job is to sniff out foods that are not allowed to enter the country in our luggage. We aren’t even supposed to bring the fruit that is given to us on in the airplane, did you know that? I actually wonder how Marian got to bring the butter into the US. Maybe butter is allowed. Most of what I know pertained to plants and seeds.

      • Jo

        I know that. I was kidding about not telling. I am a very strict rule follower. The funny thing is last fall my daughter and I went to Spain. She brought l vacuum sealed meat home. She also brought 2 meat sandwiches. She declared the sealed meat but had forgotten about the sandwiches. They got to go through just fine, they took the sealed meat, and she ate happily on the plane.

    • Chris

      In the late 70’s my in-laws asked us to pick them up at the airport after their flight from Rome. Once in the car, Mother announced that we would be having dinner with them about a half hour after we reached their house. On the way to the airport in Italy, they had the driver stop at a store and had bought frozen tortellini! A few minutes in boiling water, some butter and grated Pecorino -Romano –heaven on a plate. Best tortellini I ever had,

  18. Becky up a hill

    My son Gabriel still ooohs and aaaahs about the butter we had in Rouen at La Couronne. So excited about your trip.

  19. monique odman

    Ah, incredible! This is the butter my husband loves best and we always have it when in France; the tiny salt crystals from Brittany makes it unique and irresistible.
    On a slice of high quality bread, no other can do, a simple pleasure that I am glad you appreciate too.


  20. Iri

    What kind of souvenirs/goodies did your Mom buy? Nosey, I know, but I thought that she might have found some pretty things in Europe.

    • Kim

      We lived in Germany 10 years so I already have lots of European things in my house. I did buy a few things though. In France all I got was the red beret. In Italy I got a sweatshirt, a leather woven bracelet, a small leather purse, a wallet for my husband, a necklace for my daughter-in-law and 2 bottles of olive oil one for me and one for our son. He’s a great cook and last year I brought one back for each of us and we both enjoyed it. The best part for me was just traveling with Marian. I did enjoy the wine 😃but did not bring any home. It was a great trip. I bought more than I did last year for myself but controlled myself pretty well.

  21. Lisa

    I love all your souvenirs, especially the ceramic watercolor palette.

    I had to laugh about the butter. I may be showing my age, but I couldn’t help but think of the I Love Lucy episode when she hid big hunks of cheese to bring home from Europe. At least butter is easier to bring home.

  22. Hannah

    J’adore ton petite bouteille pour votre aquarelles, c’est tres mignon, et j’aime aussi ton beret noir, c’est tres chic!

  23. Margo

    I have never cared for butter, was brought up on margarine which my parents got used to during WWIl when butter was rationed. But this year, I too, got to experience butter while in Paris. Never one to eat bread and butter with my meals, I grew to love this while I was there. Rude awakening to come home here in central Mass where there aren’t even any decent markets☹️. Recently though, on a trip to Europe people brought home fresh cheese. I wouldn’t try it but they had no problem with customs so I’m not sure what the rules are!

  24. Cheryl Atkinson

    Hi Marian! thank you for sharing your souvenirs with us. I love when i find an antique paint brush. You wonder what art was created with this brush. I’m not sure this is the same blog where you showed your new Leather shoes but i loved those shoes and they look like your kind of shoes. This is probably the closest i will get to Paris Milan and all those wonderful places so i do appreciate you taking me there (visually).


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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