Top Candy From French Supermarkets To Buy As Souvenirs & Gifts

Top 7 candy souvenirs & gifts you can buy in French supermarkets or online

Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive souvenir from your trip to France, a compact gift that will fit in your luggage or you simply want to buy your friend something sweet from France- candy is a tasty treat that checks all the boxes and will please just about anyone. Here are 7 French favourites which you can buy in any French supermarket or online- perfect for any age and all tastes.

Buying souvenirs and gifts from your travels can be tricky. Even buying a simple souvenir t-shirt involves knowing what size is for who and which colour and design is best.  Touristy gifts can be fun reminders of your travels but let’s face it-once the novelty of that miniature Eiffel tower or shot glass wears off, those souvenirs often get thrown out or left at the bottom of the junk drawer.

Sweet Treats have mass appeal but…..

French treats and confections on the other hand, make thoughtful gifts that you can give to just about anybody and I guarantee it won’t get wasted or thrown out. But not all French treats are well suited for transport in your luggage.

Chocolate melts, famous French macaroons are delicate and pain au chocolate is just not practical to bring back. Even if you did manage to transport them back, would the person you give them to even appreciate the trouble you went through or the taste of those sweet French confections?

Supermarket candy from a foreign country is a great alternative

Pre-packaged candy found in grocery stores are compact and won’t break which makes them great gifts to bring back from your travels. Best of all, candy from the grocery store is usually very affordable so you can afford to bring back something for everyone. You might think supermarket candy is not sophisticated enough or gift worthy but candy from another country, even if only from a foreign grocery store has it’s appeal. Even the average French person purchases their candy at supermarkets.

If you’re not travelling to France but still like the idea of giving candy to that French loving Francophile in your life, you can also buy most of these online and have them shipped directly to your home. I’ve included links to where you can buy them online.

Which supermarket candy should you buy?

Of the hundreds of types of candy you might see in the candy aisle of French food stores, you’ll see familiar brands such as Snickers, Kit Kat and Skittles. Don’t get those- you can get those anywhere. Instead, I’ve put together a list of candies that are 1- French favorites, 2- have a wider appeal: meaning, you could buy one type and give it to your little niece or to your aunty, 3- are inexpensive, 4- fairly durable and easily transportable thanks to it’s packaging and 5) are not readily available in your home country except at a premium price. (this last one assumes you are not from Europe)

1- Les Fraises Tagada (By Haribo)- Strawberry Tagada

Haribo-Candy-Tagada3

If you can bring back just one type of candy from France, LET IT BE a bag one of the most well-known and recognized candy in France: Strawberry flavoured “TAGADA”.

Say the word “TAGADA” in France and 9 out of 10 people will instantly know you are referring to the cute little red dome-shaped candy called “Les Tagada”- a candy created in 1969 by Haribo.

Over 35% of annual candy sales in France is spent on Haribo candy. Just walk down the candy aisle of any grocery store and you’ll always see a multitude of candy produced by Haribo to choose from. It’s no wonder roughly 38 millions pieces of candy made by Haribo are consumed EACH DAY in France.

The French prefer jellied or gummy candy

Although the Haribo brand is not a French brand, there is a French division that oversees candy produced and sold in France and that division created Tagada specifically for the French market and French taste buds. Even the name “TAGADA” is geared towards the French market-which is an old French expression that implies joy or happiness-similar to WHOPP-DEE-DOO or YIP-PEEEEEE.

Supposedly, the candy got it’s iconic name when a Haribo sales manager in France went to a cabaret and heard a song with the phrase “Youpla boum tagada tsoin tsoin” The song that he heard may have been a song by French singer Maurice Chevalier called prosper.

tagada-candy-recipe-bookIf you’re still not convinced that Tagada is popular in France, you have only to look at all books and websites that reference this cult candy. You’ll also find hundreds of dessert recipes online which call for the use of Tagada as one of the ingredients.

tagadas-cake-recipephoto and recipe for this strawberry Tagada cake can be found here (in French)

What does it taste like?

Slightly smaller than a ping-pong and shaped like a cute little red dome, it has a soft marshmallow interior dusted in strawberry flavoured sugar on the outside.  Tagada can be found in other countries such as Germany but they taste slightly different. For instance the Tagada sold in Germany is not as soft as the ones sold in France because the French prefer them softer.  Many brands have tried to create their own version of “les Fraises Tagada” but nothing compares to the original.

2-L’Ours D’Or (By Haribo) –  Golden Bears

Haribo-candy-gummi-bear

Sure you can buy gummi bears anywhere but If you want the original gummi bear than you need to try Haribo Golden Bears.

Make sure you tell the story of how the gummy bear was invented.

Back In 1920, Hans Riegel, a German entrepreneur founded the confectionary company HARIBO in Bonn Germany. 2 years later he invented the first gummy bear which he called “dancing bear”. His inspiration for the now iconic bear shape came to him while watching the trained bears he saw at festivals, annual markets and other celebrations in 19th century Germany.  Later when he began mass producing the fruit gum bears for Europe, he made them smaller and re-branded them as Golden Bears, known in France as “L’Ours D’Or”.

HARIBO is a contraction of the inventors name and city  HAns RIegel BOnn.

Haribo-candy-gummy-bear

What does it taste like?

A tasty gummi bear what else? There are several fruit flavours including: green apple, lemon, orange, raspberry, strawberry and pineapple.

3- Chamallows ( By Haribo)

pronounced [SHAW-MAAH-LOW]

charmallows-book

Chamallows is a marshmallow candy produced by Haribo for the French market and like Tagada, it’s a candy which every French person knows by sight and name. The name Chamallows is so engrained in the French culture that it is used interchangeably with the French word for marshmallow which is “gimauvre”- similar to how you might use the brand name “ Kleenex” instead of the word tissue.

Haribo-Candy-Chamallows-2

What does it taste like?

Chamallows are sold in packages mixed with two colours- pink and white which both taste the same. They are very similar to the classic white marshmallow found throughout North America but they don’t quite taste the same and they are less airy in my opinion.

Packing for transport

This is the only candy on the list which runs the risk of getting squished so you may want to throw this in your carry on bag or purse.

4- Dragibus (by Haribo)

pronounced [DRAH-ZsHYEE-BUS]Haribo Candy Dragibus bag

Another French favourite is Dragibus by Haribo– a chewy marble sized fruity candy that come in packages with seven colours: black, green, red, yellow, orange, blue and pink.

What does it taste like?

haribo candy dragibus2

These chewy jewels contain no gelatin and stick to your teeth as you chew them. There is a  lot of debate over whether the colours correspond to the taste. Some say red is strawberry while others say all the colours taste the same. According to the Haribo website, yes there are different flavours however they don’t correspond to the colours. In other words, you could get a red one that tastes like strawberry or a blue one that tastes like strawberry. Each one is supposed to be a surprise.

Packing for transport

These are fairly rugged candies and travel well.

5-Car en Sac

carensac-candy-liquorice

Some people hate them but if you or someone you know loves liquorice, than these tiny multicoloured pill shaped candies called “Car En Sac” might be the perfect thing to bring back from France.  They come in packages with blue, white, red and green and have a chewy liquorice center (not as chewy as gummy bears) and a semi hard sugar coated exterior making them pretty durable and perfect to throw in your luggage.

Haribo Candy Carensac bag

Packing for transport

Car en Sac candy is a rugged candy which will travel well.

6- Carambar

Carambar-Caramel-Candy-France

Carambar, short for “CARAMel en BARre”, is a cult classic in France. It’s one of those nostalgic candies that make many French people reminisce about their childhood.  Created in 1954 by Delespaul-Havez, a French company located in Lille France. Rumour has it that the first Carambar was created by accident when one of the factory machines malfunctioned.

Each 8 Centimetres chewy  bar comes individually wrapped in a yellow and red wrapper and is famous for it’s jokes written on the inside wrapper. There are even whole websites dedicated to Carambar jokes: http://blague.carambar.free.fr/carambar-joke-1

What does it taste like?

Although Carambar looks a lot like a Tootsie Roll, Carmbars’ have a more caramel and chocolate taste to them and a softer consistency in my opinion.

Packing for transport

These comes in small bags of 320 grams. The candy itself is pretty hard and won’t melt in hot temperatures but will get slightly soft.

carambar-candy-bag

7- Chupa Chups

Chupa-Chups

If you’re not into marshmallows, don’t like gummy or chewy candy than a hard candy like a lollipop might be your best bet. One brand that stands out is Chupa Chups which happens to be the world leader in lollipops. Chupa Chups are instantly recognizable by its famous daisy logo which was created by none other than Salvador Dali. Dali even suggested to Enric Bernat, the Spanish inventor of the Chupa Chups loli, to print the logo on top of the wrapper so that it was always visible.

The name of the brand comes from the Spanish verb chupar, meaning “to suck”.

Chupa-Chups-lolis

What does it taste like?

More than four billion Chupa Chups are produced every year in more than 50 flavours tailored to the tastes of more than 160 countries.

Try the crème brulé, banana milk and caramel flavours but orange and apple are by far the most popular.

Supermarkets in France

There are loads of other candies you can purchase at French supermarkets. In fact, there are loads of other supermarket goodies you can buy and bring home as souvenirs or gifts. More on that in another post.

Supermarkets are fairly easy to find in France which makes them a convenient place to buy some pretty interesting but inexpensive gifts, even at the last-minute. Here are the names of a few of the major supermarkets.

MonoPrix [pronounced: MOE-NO-PREE] (Mono prix are usually located in cities or bigger towns. They will can carry food and household items including clothing.)

Intermarché [pronounced: INTER-MAR-SHAY]

Carrefour [pronounced: CAR-FOOR] (Carrefours can be huge and can carry food as well as clothes, paint, school supplies and more).

LIDL [pronounced: LI-DUHL]  (This is a kind of discount grocery store and are usually pretty small.

LECLERC [pronounced: LUH-CLAIR]

Casino

Hyper-U [pronounced: EE-PAIR-U]

Auchan [pronounced: OH-SHYAN]

About the Author

Annie André Is a half Thai, half French Canadian/American freelance writer, digital marketer and author of THE LIVE IN FRANCE GUIDE,, an expat travel and lifestyle blog featuring, destination guides, inspiration, travel tips and personal adventures and advice on living in France.

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