Here is your guide to all of the best French handbag brands. Whether you are looking to treat yourself, are in the market for an evening bag, or are after a tote that’s perfect for the office, in today’s article, and being French, I’ve gathered a complete list of the best French handbag brands to have on your radar.
Many may be names you are already familiar with; Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Hermès, but in this round-up, you will also find lesser-known brands and new names to know in the world of French handbag brands. Also, if you’re looking for more affordable brands, I have got you covered too. Keep scrolling to see and shop my edit of the 25 best French handbag brands out there.
1. Amélie Pichard
Amélie Pichard used to be a fashion designer for clothes who were feeling uncomfortable in this “fashion” world. She wanted to do something that could be more artisanal, and that is why she decided to create her eponymous shoe and handbag brand.
The designer adopted the “made-to-order” model to prevent overproduction and waste, standing against the culture of encouraging customers to want more and more newness at rapid speed with seasonal sales.
The Iconic Amélie Pichard bag
The Abag, launched in 2012, is the brand’s icon, a true staple piece. Made in a very limited edition each month, by a Portuguese family’s workshop, this classic piece is entirely molded by hand through a process involving a piece of leather (or not) pressed against a wooden structure.
A.P.C. is a French ready-to-wear brand founded in 1987 by the Tunisian fashion designer Jean Touitou in Paris and stands for Atelier de Production et de Création.
While the French brand first gained renown for its classic jeans in raw denim, the label now offers a complete collection of women’s clothing and accessories that embodies simple, casual elegance.
The Iconic A.P.C. bags
Jean Touitou always uses both classic and noble materials to offer quality pieces with timeless cuts. Look out for signature Demi-Lune, Genève, and Betty bags in a host of earthy hues. It’s one of my favorite French handbag brands!
Celine was founded by Céline Vipiana and her husband Richard in 1945 as a made-to-measure children’s shoe boutique that was located at 52 rue Malte. Soon she was persuaded by prestigious clients to create “haute couture” shoes for their children and, encouraged by this success, extended the service to the women themselves.
In the 1960s, she created the first line of leather goods and accessories, before a natural progression to design the “sportswear” collection in 1968.
The Iconic Celine bags
The Classic (2011), the Triomphe (2018), and the Belt are all Celine iconic handbags.
Around the age of 18, Coco became interested in fashion. It all really started in 1909. At the time she was the mistress of a businessman named Étienne Balsan, he gave her the financial support she needed to open a hat-making shop in Paris in 1910.
In the 1920s, Coco Chanel became a true style icon, known for her simple but sophisticated outfits, styled with great accessories. She introduced the perfume Chanel No. 5. in 1921, the Chanel suit in 1925, and the little black dress in 1926.
The Iconic Chanel bag
In 1955 she created the Chanel bag 2.55 that took over the world. She wanted a practical handbag made for women on the go with a long strap. Today, this bag is probably one of the most iconic fashion handbags of all time.
The Maison Chloé was founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion, an Egyptian-born Parisienne who wanted to liberate women’s bodies from the stiffly formal fashion of the time through a luxury ready-to-wear offering.
The Iconic Chloé bag
The most famous saddle bag of them all, Chloé’s Marcie tote has been a celebrity favorite for over a decade.
Since the founding of his House in 1946, consecrated by the New Look revolution, Christian Dior’s visionary spirit has never ceased to glorify women all over the world. Dior’s collection of women’s bags reflects the brand’s timeless elegance and style, which can be found in every model.
The Iconic Dior bag
With its wickerwork stitching and charms, the sophisticated and very feminine Lady Dior bag is probably one of the most iconic bags of the Maison.
7. Fauré Lepage
Emile Henry Fauré Le Page established the Maison in 1865, although operations began in 1717, and was known as “Pigny”. The company was founded by Le Page’s ancestor Louis Pigny, and it was originally a firearms maker for French kings and nobility.
In the 1920s Fauré Le Page began making leather goods for hunting in the form of cartridge cases and satchels. But it was only in 2009, that Fauré Le Page started to manufacture leather goods.
The Iconic Fauré Lepage bag
The Daily Battle Tote was the first bag produced for the revamped brand. This sturdy shopper bag is characterized by its adjustable-length leather straps by way of 17 punched holes on one side, giving it a lot of carrying versatility.
8. Gérard Darel
It was in 1971 that the couple Gérard and Danielle Darel founded the Gérard Darel brand. Talented and passionate, they throw themselves headlong into the manufacture of ready-to-wear and inaugurate 1987, their first shop at 174, Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris.
But the success of the brand will take an international dimension in 1996 when Gérard Darel buys at auction the famous necklace of black glass pearls that Jackie Kennedy wore during the advertisement for her husband John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
The creator will then have a genius idea by republishing it in several colors (known as the Double Jackie necklace). Success is at the rendez-vous, and the Americans discover this little Frenchman interested in their culture.
The Iconic Gérard Darel bag
In 2003, the Parisian label created the “24 hours” bag. The success was immediate for this model which is today an iconic handbag.
Maison Goyard, or simply Goyard, is a French trunk and leather goods maker established in 1792 as Maison Martin in Paris; the company also operated as Maison Morel, before becoming Maison Goyard in 1853. The house quickly became a favorite with the French aristocracy.
The Iconic Goyard bag
Few bags are more recognizable than Goyard’s Saint-Louis tote. With its striking chevron canvas and minimalist design, it’s no wonder that the tote is highly sought-after. Entirely made in unlined supple Goyardine canvas allowing for lightness, the Saint Louis tote is completely reversible.
Hermès is definitely one of the most iconic French luxury handbag brands. In 1837, Thierry Hermès first established Hermès as a harness workshop on the Grands Boulevards of Paris. Originally, his intent was to serve the needs of European noblemen by providing saddles, bridles, and other leather riding gear.
Over the following decades, Hermès developed into one of the most famous saddlery retailers. They also began to produce leather bags to feed the horse, house the saddles, and carry other accessories for riders such as boots, whips, and riding hats.
The Iconic Hermès bags
In the 1930s, Hermès introduced the now iconic Kelly bag; originally called the Sac à dépêches and renamed the “Kelly bag” after Grace Kelly.
In 1984 the Birkin bag was introduced, after a conversation between the then CEO Jean-Louis Dumas and Jane Birkin on a flight from Paris to London, who articulated to Dumas that she needed a medium-sized bag. Today the Birkin bag is one of the most iconic bags of all time.
Jacquemus is a French luxury brand, founded in 2009 by Simon Porte Jacquemus. The fashion house is known for its play with proportions, seductive silhouettes, and eye-catching accessories such as its signature “Le Chiquito” bag.
The Iconic Jacquemus bag
Jacquemus mini bags started trending in 2018 after the French fashion designer first exhibited his Jacquemus Le Chiquito bag at the spring-summer 2018 show.
Founded in the bustling Faubourgs area of Paris in 1876, Lancel has a rich heritage of craftsmanship. Aligning aged-honored craft with creative flair, the label’s bags are as striking as they are functional.
The Iconic Lancel bag
Taking inspiration from its archives, Lancel creates the “Premier Flirt” (First Flirt) in 2000. It’s definitely one of the most iconic bags of the Maison.
13. Le Tanneur
In 1898, Sir Bonnardel, a creative craftsman, and Sir Bornex, an outstanding tanner come together to establish a new leather goods company: Le Tanneur.
The Iconic Le Tanneur bag
The first creation of the brand nicknamed “Le Sans Couture” wins the silver prize in 1900 at the Universal Exhibition in Paris. Still manufactured today Le Sans Couture has become the icon bag of the Maison.
Longchamp, founded in 1948 by Jean Cassegrain, is one of the few French luxury companies that are still family-owned. In the late ’50s, Jean Cassegrain turned his Paris tobacco shop into an accessories business.
The Iconic Longchamp bag
Showing true innovation and technique, Longchamp was the first company to create bags out of nylon. In 1993, Longchamp launched Le Pliage; an incredibly lightweight and durable bag making it the perfect travel accessory or daily-use bag. In France, this bag is the number one best-selling bag among women of all ages.
15. Louis Vuitton
Since 1854, Louis Vuitton —one of the oldest French luxury handbag brands— has been synonymous with unique design, technical innovation, and craftsmanship, values that still ring true today.
The Iconic Louis Vuitton bags
Because the company suffered from plagiarism a lot, in 1888 the “Damier Canvas” pattern was created including the trademarked logo reading “marque L. Vuitton déposée”.
Throughout the 1900s Louis Vuitton’s son Georges expanded the business by introducing new bags: the Keepall in 1930, and the Speedy in 1932. Today bags like Noé, and Alma are still iconic.
Founded in 2016 by Victoire de Villiers, Louvreuse is a French high-end leather goods brand inspired by art history. The brand offers arty and colorful collections with beautiful materials and noble finishes in an accessible and responsible luxury approach that promotes sustainability.
Each handbag is made in their workshops located in the heart of Choletais in the West of France. Composed of carefully selected leather in Italy, some bags require nearly four hours of manufacturing and ninety assembly steps.
The Iconic Louvreuse bag
With its pyramidal design combining structure and femininity, the Cleo bag is the iconic model of Louvreuse, a true prowess of French leatherwork know-how. This triangular bag will be a remarkable companion for all your evening soirées.
17. Moreau Paris
Moreau Paris’s history began in Paris in 1882. Martin-Guillaume Biennais, a revolutionary cabinetmaker and official supplier of Emperor Napoleon I, affirmed his expertise within the exclusive circle of luxury leather goods manufacturers.
The iconic pattern of Maison Moreau is inspired by the intertwining of wicker stems, which formed the structure of different travel goods in the late 19th century.
The Iconic Moreau Paris bag
The combination of a modern design and traditional details makes the Saint Tropez tote a timeless and must-have item. This iconic handbag of the Maison is crafted in the signature Moreaunette with calfskin details.
Moynat has been a trunk maker in Paris since 1849 thanks to the audacity and determination of a visionary woman, Pauline Moynat. The Maison’s graphic progression can be attributed to painter and illustrator Henry Rapin who was Moynat’s artistic director from 1905 to 1930.
Rapin created the signature motif by forming alternating lines in the letter “M.” Rapin’s creation has since become the house’s toile initial.
The Iconic Moynat bag
Made from a durable and reinforced cotton canvas and linen blend, The Oh! tote bag was released in 2018. Since then, it has become a mainstay in the monogram canvas collection of the brand.
Polène is a Parisian leather goods brand founded in 2016 by two brothers and a sister. Inspired by the work of designers such as Madeleine Vionnet, Mariano Fortuny, and Madam Grès, folds were incorporated into the handbag collections.
Polène works with famous French, Italian and Spanish tanneries who have been supplying for several decades the most regarded names in leather goods.
The Iconic Polène bags
In my opinion, both Numéro Un and Numéro Sept are part of Polène’s most iconic handbags. It’s one of my favorite French handbag brands.
20. Roger Vivier
Ever since the opening of his inaugural Paris boutique in 1937, Roger Vivier, known as the Fabergé of footwear, created shoes that looked like works of art. The Maison created heels for Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot, and Queen Elizabeth II.
More creations were to follow, all equally spectacular: The Choc heel in 1959, the 1963 Virgule heel, vinyl thigh boots in 1966, and then leather versions in 1967.
Nowadays, the Parisian brand strives to keep Monsieur Roger Vivier’s creativity and vision alive, reaching beyond shoemaking expertise to embrace bags, leather goods, and jewelry.
The Iconic Roger Vivier bag
The Viv’ Choc bag is Roger Vivier’s newest signature bag. Handcrafted in leather, it is adorned with a reinterpretation of the signature crystal buckle.
21. RSVP Paris
Craftsmanship is at the heart of creations by the RSVP Paris design studio, which is established in the center of the French capital, in the Marais district. Based on a principle of limited editions of 500 numbered pieces, RSVP Paris collections blend tradition and modernity.
The Iconic RSVP Paris bag
Both Low Five and Munchkin are iconic bags of the Parisian label.
22. Saint Laurent
After working as Christian Dior’s design assistant and taking over as creative director when the founder died suddenly in 1957, Yves Saint Laurent decided to found his namesake fashion house in 1961.
He introduced a revolutionary take on women’s clothing by taking traditionally masculine items and to make them work for a new kind of womenswear. “Le Smoking” (the tuxedo) remains one of his signature styles.
The Iconic Saint Laurent bags
In my opinion there are three Saint Laurent iconic bags: the Sac de Jour (launched in 2013), the Shopping tote bag and the Manhattan shoulder bag.
23. See By Chloé
Launched in 2001 as the sister label of fashion Chloé, See By Chloé is a somewhat younger interpretation of the main line’s aesthetic. For well over a decade it has continued to produce collections of easy-to-wear pieces that embody an effortless and “I woke up like this” sense of chic.
The Iconic See by Chloé bags
Joan, Mara, and Hana are the three most iconic handbags of the brand.
If you’re a faithful reader of LC, I’m sure you’re already familiar with the French clothing brand Sézane, created by Morgane Sézalory in 2013. It has been several years now that the Parisian label offers a selection of high-quality handbags and small leather goods. More than 2/3 of their models are produced in Europe.
The Iconic Sézane bags
In my opinion, Farrow bag and Heritage Victor bag are two of Sézane’s most iconic handbags.
25. Vanessa Bruno
Vanessa Bruno created her eponymous brand in 1996 with the vision to support and sublimate women in their daily lives by offering them a modern and elegant wardrobe, reflecting the chic and effortless Parisian.
The Iconic Vanessa Bruno bag
For her, a cotton canvas, a few sequins, and a simple shape were enough to transform an everyday object into a timeless and essential fashion accessory: the iconic Cabas tote. She imagined a bag that would accompany her throughout her daily busy life, something practical yet elegant.
Et voilà! I hope this guide to the best French handbag brands will help you find your next dream bag. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.
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Bonjour and bienvenue (welcome) to Leonce Chenal, a modern lifestyle platform created and curated by a French woman for lovers of everything French. My name is Leonce, and I’m originally from Annecy, France. I created Leonce Chenal to share my love for France and the French art de vivre (the art of living) with you. I genuinely hope my enthusiasm for this beautiful country encourages you to experience its wonders for yourself. Merci for visiting. Bien à vous, Leonce.
I have just recently purchased the Polene Numero NEUF in taupe.
It is tres chic..
Hello you forgot to talk about Lanvin bags (Happy bag) and Balmain.
Hello Leonce, do you know the Designer Handbags brand called Ateliers Auguste ?
It could please you 😉