“Souvenir”: To Remember…or To Spend?

Well, friends, we’ve hit a landmark: this little blog of mine has already had 500 hits! Thank you to all those who have read and encouraged their friends to read, I’ll try to keep the good times rolling. Special thanks to my mom, who I’m sure forces this blog down everyone’s throat (love you, Mom).

Just today I read an amazing post on the New York Times blog “The Frugal Traveler” about what makes a good, cheap souvenir when you are traveling (for the post, click here). Matt Gross’ lovely words made me think: what should I take home from Paris as a way to remember my wonderful, though tumultuous, time here in the City of Lights? After all, the word souvenir does literally mean “to remember” in French. So how do we so often settle for the cheap, the commercial, and the hardly-memorable? I, friends, shall not settle.

I have already bought a few things for myself out of necessity – including my Lonchamp bag, which I hope will allow me to “souvenir” my days of lugging books and my computer around the city every time I use it at home – but I have not yet found something that really made me stop and say, “Ah, ca c’est parfait!” I have picked up postcards (including one that says “La Vie En Rose”, and features a picture of Edith Piaf), I have even mailed several postcards, but I want to find something truly unique, truly special, and truly Parisian. Furthermore, I’d like to find something truly cheap.

This hunt was in part prompted by a great loss: it seems that the amazing Benny Benassi concert I attended last Friday took not only my phone as a victim, but my precious Caribbean hook bracelet that I bought in the Virgin Islands with my best friend, Mimi.

My long lost Caribbean hook bracelet (the one farther right), which perfectly matched my Cape Cod bracelet (left). I won't lie, I cried when I realized it was gone.

Not just an expensive souvenir, the bracelet always reminded me of my best friend even now that we are on opposite sides of the Atlantic, and allowed me to remember the incredible week I spent on St. John every time I turned a doorknob or had to jingle it out of the way as I took notes in class. However devastating this loss, I’d like to take home something more unique this time: suggestions are welcome, as I have never been one to opt for the frugal over the fancy (Chanel lipstick, I’m looking at you). I’ve thought about buying perfume from one of the parfumeries scattered throughout the city, but that would probably be expensive, and I’ve already taken a liking to Coco Chanel Mademoiselle as my scent of choice. I also thought about a very simple Hermes scarf, the prices of which I am unaware, but I think it would be pretty neat to say I bought a vraiment Hermes scarf at its flagship store in Paris. Yet again, however, we run into the problem of money – would it be worth it? This is going to take some serious thinking and observing – what is truly Parisian, truly memorable, and simultaneously cheap?

Suggestions are more than welcome…just don’t say “nothing” (Mom, that’s for you).

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2 thoughts on ““Souvenir”: To Remember…or To Spend?

  1. Hi Marina:

    First, I want to introduce myself. I work with your mom at Curry in the Student Financial Service area. I see her every day and we have lunch every couple weeks. We love to swap kid stories. I loved reading your blog and it seems like you are having a great adventure. Enjoy and have many good memories. I will keep following your “fun”.

    Kathy

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