France is home to some of the world’s most exquisite handbags, which is not surprising considering how this beautiful country has produced a number of great fashion designers that have ever walked the earth.
But while French purses are notorious for being expensive, there are non-mainstream brands that have a characteristic that surprises bag afficionados: affordability.
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9 Best French Handbag Brands You Should Know
Whether you’re a bag addict (like myself!) or not, read on to see the list of best French handbag brands you should know.
French Luxury Handbag Brands
When we talk about the world’s most expensive handbags, we are always sure to find several Hermès pieces in the top 10 list. Why, top Hermés purses range from over $200,000 to a staggering $2 million!
With nearly $7 billion in annual revenue, you’d be surprised to learn that this high-end French fashion house started out as a harness workshop in Paris. Hermès was founded in 1837 by Thierry Hermès, who created wrought harnesses and bridles for horse carriages.
So if you’re wondering why the carriage with horse logo, there’s your answer.
Ninety-eight years since its establishment, Hermès introduced the leather “Sac à dépêches,” which was later renamed the “Kelly bag” after Monaco’s Princess Grace Kelly.
And the rest is history.
READ MORE: 6 Most Expensive Hermès Handbags As Of 2022
2. Louis Vuitton
The French fashion house and luxury goods company Louis Vuitton Malletier, more commonly called Louis Vuitton or LV, has been around since 1854. Founded by Louis Vuitton in Paris, the early products they sold were handmade trunks.
The label’s LV monogram, first introduced in 1896, is perhaps the most recognizable logo in the fashion world.
This French brand is also the most counterfeited. No other fashion brand has been more controversial and filed more anti-counterfeiting and copyright infringement lawsuits.
Louis Vuitton has been named the world’s most valuable luxury brand for several years, with about $20 billion average annual sales.
Founded by Coco Chanel in 1910, this French luxury fashion house creates some of the world’s most coveted luxury goods.
To no one’s surprise, Chanel is also among the most targeted by counterfeiters, with fake handbags selling for around $200 – some $4,000 less than the authentic ones.
The House of Chanel started out as a millinery shop in Paris. In 1913, Chanel began to sell couture products as well.
It was in 1955 that the fashion house introduced their iconic quilted-leather handbag with adjustable double-chains.
Today, this remains one of the best French luxury purses, worn by practically every member of the social elite.
READ MORE: 8 Most Expensive Chanel Handbags As Of 2022
This French company has been making trunks since 1792 in Paris. However, it was not called “Goyard” until François Goyard’s purchase of Maison Morel, successor to the original company Maison Martin, in 1853.
Known for their iconic interlocking chevron pattern, Goyard bags have been worn by high-profile personalities such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Grimaldis, Princess Lee Radziwill, and Édith Piaf. Today Madonna and Victoria Beckham are often seen with Goyard purses.
If you have some several thousand dollars to spare and want special orders a la Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Writer’s trunk,” you may place them at Goyard’s 233 rue Saint-Honoré boutique or in their factory in Bezons. These special pieces are completely handcrafted.
The French luxury brand Givenchy was founded by a French fashion designer and aristocrat, Count Hubert de Givenchy, in 1952, with Audrey Hepburn becoming its most famous brand ambassador for 40 years.
If you’re looking for the best handbags to invest in, Givenchy should be on your list. Their iconic Antigona and Pandora are sure winners, with celebrities and influencers regularly spotted wearing them.
Affordable French Handbag Brands
Longchamp was founded in Paris, France, in 1948 by Jean Cassegrain. The company was named after the Parisian Longchamp Racecourse, hence, the racehorse logo.
But did you know it started out as a tobacco business? And then, in the 1950s, Mr. Cassegrain launched the world’s first luxury leather-covered cigarette pipes with exotic leathers as features. They became such a hit that even Elvis Presley loved them.
It was in 1971 that Longchamp launched its first women’s handbag, becoming one of France’s leading makers of leather goods.
Today, Longchamp’s Le Pliage nylon bag is still as popular as it was a few decades earlier. Longchamp also remains one of the most popular handbag brands in France.
7. Gérard Darel
Gérard Darel, the French brand specializing in leather goods, became famous when they released their handbag model called “24 heures” – which translates to “24 hours” – in 2003.
The company has been around for decades, though, having been founded by the couple Gérard and Danielle Darel in 1971. They opened their shop in Paris in 1987.
The “24 hours” bag was a huge success, called by most critics as a must-have “it” bag.
Today, after almost two decades, the Gérard Darel 24 heures bag remains every Parisian’s iconic handbag and the brand’s flagship model.
Who wouldn’t like a “bag du jour” that’s below $1,000? I would! And most Parisian girls would as well.
Enter Polène’s Numéro Un bag, priced at $400, and its little sibling – the Numéro Un Mini, which sells for just a little above $300.
Polène, the French leather goods brand founded in 2016, was named after the Normandy country where its founders – the siblings Mathieu, Antoine, and Elsa Mothay – hailed from. It takes pride in reasonably-priced high-quality purses which come in a variety of hues and leather combinations.
Polène is definitely the new “it” French purse brand that is surprisingly affordable.
Louvreuse, a French high-end leather goods brand, was founded in 2016 by Victoire de Villiers. This brand is a good option for those who want purses and handbags that are unique and creative – and won’t break the bank.
Louvreuse was named after the Louvre, which is the brand’s inspiration. With that being said, you shouldn’t be surprised by their “pyramid bags” that will remind you of the Louvre.
If you’re in Paris, you must visit their boutique at 14 rue Cler and grab a Cleo pyramid bag for less than $400. For a more personal touch, ask for your name or initials to be added to your bag.
Hi, I’m Christine – a full-time traveler and career woman. Although I’m from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries and lived in 4 continents in the last 10 years, including France. A self-proclaimed Francophile, I love everything France.