Paris designer bag reviews (Fendi, Prada, & newer Goyard totes)

goyard artois anjou st louis tote reviews comparisons paris france This post is long overdue, but better late than never, right? I've been getting some handbag questions lately (especially on Goyard) that reminded me to dig this out of the drafts folder. The last time I visited Europe, I did a good amount of purse "research" and wanted to share more photos and info on my favorites! I reviewed some smaller, petite-sized bags earlier and saved my favorite larger totes and handbags for this post. In case you missed it, here are the previous posts in this series:

Part 1: Saving on designer goods in Paris (including VAT refund tips)
Part 2: Petite designer bag reviews (Chanel, Celine) + Louboutin

goyard bag shopping in paris
Goyard can be rather polarizing (just take a look at the very, shall we say..."spirited" discussion on this post from my early blogging days). I totally get that not everyone cares for the pattern or wants to fork over $$$ for canvas bags. But the old lady in me loves the practicality of their totes, their hand-painted chevron pattern, as well as the brand's deeply-rooted history as a French trunk maker. Sentimentally, it's also the first (and perhaps only) brand of handbag I've received as a gift from my husband. If you don't care for their popular Saint Louis totes, there are two more recent options that I love and wanted to review for you guys!
camel trouser pants tweed jacket work outfit
St. Louis tote packed pretty full, styled for work // outfit from this blog post

Goyard Saint Louis (shop preowned options)
The two (relatively) newer styles are variations on the Saint Louis, so I'll start with a little info on this original tote. It comes in two sizes, PM and GM, and you can see all my outfits here styled with the smaller PM. This was actually the original bag Nick surprised me with 6 years ago, and I had so many qualms about the style that I actually exchanged it for another one (which is now too structured for my needs, but that's another story)! I didn't like how the Saint Louis was open without a zipper, how it has no shape, and I questioned the durability of the canvas and handles.

Years later, I found myself inexplicably drawn back to the bag I had returned. The lack of structure actually makes it very comfortable to carry and helps it fold completely flat for travel. To combat the lack of a zipper, I typically use a large zippered pouch (like a laptop sleeve) to keep loose items contained, in addition to the small detachable wallet pouch that the bag comes with. After schlepping so much of my stuff for work, travel, errands, you name it, the Saint Louis has proven itself as a truly versatile and useful bag (first impressions sometimes can be changed!).
casual travel outfit madewell tee white jeans gray goyard st louis
St. Louis tote loosely packed, styled for travel / casual wear // outfit from this blog post

Goyard Artois
The most common complaints with the Saint Louis are probably about bottom corners wearing out (you can get leather corner patches for about $250, if need be) and the lack of a zipper. Enter...the Artois bag. It's basically the same bag with those issues addressed, and a slightly longer handle drop for greater ease of use. Had the Artois been available when I bought my first Goyard, it would've spared me a lot of headache and unnecessary purchases/returns!
goyard artois tote bag review st louis with zipper paris france shopping
Goyard Artois PM tote (with an unusual choice of monogram on the floor model)

Unlike the Saint Louis, the Artois has a top zipper, reinforced leather bottom edges, and free monogramming at the time of purchase. This takes about 3-4 days and would typically cost $150 and up on other bags. The added structure from the leather bottom edges helps the Artois stand up better on its own (but isn't so structured that it feels boxy), and makes the tote look more professional as a work bag. It has a buttoned pocket (pocket is lined with Goyard chevron) on the inside, in lieu of the detachable pouch in the Saint Louis.
buying goyard st louis bags cheaper in paris france st honore store
A rainbow of Goyard Artois bags, monitored by Mr. Michael Jackson Glove. 

Goyard Anjou
The Anjou is basically the Saint Louis with a fun, reversible design that goes from solid leather on one side to their signature painted canvas on the other. When it came out in 2014, I literally watched this video ad and squealed, then cursed it for also not being available back when I bought my other Goyards. The leather throughout gives the Anjou more structure, however it doesn't add too much weight, and still feels soft and comfortable when carried and is pretty quick to flip.
goyard anjou reversible artois tote review paris flagship store
Goyard Anjou PM tote

Example pricing:
Goyard pricing is much more favorable in its home country of France, however this brand enthusiast has sadly never taken advantage. They have two sets of pricing for every item: a base price for "classic" colors including black/black and black/brown, and a 20-30% higher price for "special" colors (all the other colors) for pretty much no reason other than to agitate customers who like colors.

Note these example prices below are subject to change. Factors like brand price increases, fluctuating exchange rates, customs taxes at the airport, and different VAT refund rates will affect your total price. Please see my post here for more info on VAT refunds! Below calculations use an example exchange rate of 1.15 USD per EUR, assuming a 12% VAT refund.

Goyard Saint Louis PM
Classic Colors (add ~23% for Special Colors)
820 EUR * 1.15 conversion * (1 - 0.12) VAT = $830 in Europe vs. $1200 in the US

Goyard Artois PM (zippered w/ leather corners)
Classic Colors (add ~23% for Special Colors)
1090 EUR * 1.15 conversion * (1 - 0.12) VAT = $1103 in Europe vs. $1635 in the US

Goyard Anjou PM (reversible leather)
Classic Colors (add ~23% for Special Colors)
1650 EUR * 1.15 conversion * (1 - 0.12) VAT = $1670 in Europe vs. $2160 in the US
goyard anjou reversible leather tote cheaper at flagship paris store
Goyard Anjou PM in navy and gray

buying longchamp handbags discounted in paris france
On the topic of lightweight and practical totes, let's hop on over to Longchamp. This brand is ubiquitous on the arms of students and working women alike, and for good reason. Their bags are workhorses for securely toting around lots of stuff, and are versatile and appropriate for a wide rage of ages! When traveling, I also like using my Longchamp as a protector bag to carry-on more delicate designer purses.
longchamp le pliage neo bags in paris france
Longchamp Neo bags collection (I have the largest size in black)

I have one of their regular Le Pliage nylon totes as well as a more structured, substantial-feeling version (now called their "Neo" collection), and both my mom and MIL have Neo bags for everyday use. Since it's a French brand ... you guessed it, pricing is much more favorable in Europe (and it also makes a great gift or souvenir).

Longchamp Neo Large Tote
115 EUR * 1.15 conversion * (1 - 0.12) VAT = 116$ in Europe vs. $190 in the US

*Sale alert ~ For those of us not going to Paris anytime soon, Bloomingdales is having a pretty good sale right now on several Longchamp styles and colors!

shopping in paris europe cheaper prada bags
prada saffiano cuir small large comparison review paris shopping
Prada Saffiano Cuir tote, small (left) vs. medium (right)

If you're looking for an elegant, classic larger handbag that's fairly low-maintenance, the Prada Saffiano Cuir is without a doubt one of my favorites. I did a video review a while back, but often get questions on sizing. And it's no wonder ... because the small and medium Cuir bags look SO similar to me, even when I'm holding them side-by-side. When I purchased mine, the deciding factor was that the medium is just big enough to fit my old Macbook air, which is critical in making it a more versatile bag for both meetings and travel. I believe the Cuir also comes in a third, larger size, which I haven't tried on.

Prada Saffiano Cuir Double Bag, Medium (shop pre-owned options)
2100 EUR * 1.15 conversion * (1 - 0.12) VAT = $2125 in Europe vs. $2780 in the US
prada saffiano cuir tote bag small medium comparison review paris prices

fendi selleria bag review in paris
The Fendi Selleria Peekaboo bag is one I've been eying for quite some time, but haven't mentioned on the blog. It's right up my alley in terms of structured leather handbags with convertible straps. I love that it has just a little bit of slouch, and I also like this size and shape against my frame. The pebbled leather is beautiful and thick, but as a result does add some weight to the bag.

Fendi Selleria Peekaboo bag (shop preowned options)
3600 EUR * 1.15 conversion * (1 - 0.12) VAT = $3643 in Europe vs. $4850 in the US (nuts!!)
fendi selleria peekaboo tote bag review paris shopping
I have to admit, I was probably only drawn to this bag in the first place given its resemblance to the timeless Hermes Kelly. The price is pretty steep (since Selleria is Fendi's premium, handcrafted line), so as I slid further along this slippery slope, I kept asking myself "oh, why not just go for the original?"

Which leads to to my last post in this series. Check back soon for my Hermes hunting adventure at their flagship store!

37 comments:

  1. Ah, so gorgeous. I just wish these weren't so expensive and out-of-my-budget!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

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  2. "Mr. Michael Jackson Glove" hahahaha!!!!! Love that!!

    Rebecca
    xx
    www.peppermintdolly.com

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  3. Hi Jean! Do you have a favorite wallet that is on the smaller side, that is also roomy enough for everyday use? thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi there - I actually don't use a wallet currently ... just some small pouches like the one that comes with my Goyard bag. I do like Prada's zip wallets in saffiano leather, though!

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  4. Your bags look absolutely beautiful Jean!

    I hope you're having a great weekend,
    Michael
    https://www.mileinmyglasses.co.uk

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  5. Your blue coat in this post is gorgeous! Where is it from?

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    Replies
    1. Not Jean, but thought I might help out. I think that coat is from Ted Baker. Been eyeing it for a while =)

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    2. Hi Anon - Melissa is correct about the navy coat being a Ted Baker. If you go to Part 1 in the series, which Jean linked in this post, she has another link to the original post with details on the coat. Hope this helps!

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    3. Thank you guys so much for helping respond! It's one of my favorite coats! : )

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  6. Absolutely love it!

    www.evdaily.blogspot.com

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  7. Hello Jean, since you have both of these bags, between the Prada Cuir tote and the Prada lux (caramel color) tote which one do you like more? can you do a pros and cons on them? thanks Jean

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    Replies
    1. She did a comparison in the video she noted above. :)

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    2. I like the Cuir more - it's better quality and feels more structured, but unfortunately is also pricier as a result. Please do check out the video mentioned!

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  8. That Prada Saffiano is to die for! Dreaming of the day when I can purchase one <3

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  9. I love your choices. I myself am an avid Goyard fan. But, I would not get the tote nowadays only because there are so many who just buy it for the "brand" and not really knowing the story of the brand or loving the brand itself with appreciation. It's all over like the LV neverfull now. But, yes <3 I Love your Fendi the most !

    XOXO //
    SINCERELY OPHELIA | NYC Petite Fashion Blogger

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  10. I have a goyard bag I bought at a consignment store years ago. I believe it is authentic but the problem is the straps broke awhile ago and I don't know where to take it to get fixed ( due to it being secondhand). I took it to a local tailor and they said they could repair for under 200$ but they would not give a guarantee about the work . Thoughts?

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    Replies
    1. You should be able to take it or mail it to a Goyard store for repairs! Unfortunately it might take a while for them to complete it, but they should be able to do it for not much more than what you were quoted. It doesn't matter if it's secondhand, as long as it's authentic.

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  11. Love this post, Jean! Very informative and helpful. I love the Longchamp for its simple yet chic design!

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  12. I own two Goyard Saint Louis totes, as much as I adore how they look- I find the straps a tad too thin especially when my bag is filled to the brim (let's admit that happens more often than not). The straps literally dig into my shoulder when I'm wearing something strappy. It's a lot more comfortable to carry wearing coats. Longchamp totes are functional but if you like me, live in Singapore- LITERALLY EVERY SECOND WOMAN CARRIES ONE.

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  13. These bags are amazing and comfy!
    xx

    http://www.mybeautrip.com

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  14. Thank you for the this post! I'm going to Paris soon and will definitely have to check out Goyard now! xxAllie
    www.theallthatglittersblog.com

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  15. All so beautiful! I would take any of them, but I have major heart eyes for Prada! :D

    xo, Katie
    Willow and White

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  16. Goyard AdmirerMonday, June 19, 2017

    Hi Jean,

    Thanks for this informative post! I don't think I'll be visiting Europe anytime soon to purchase Goyard bags in store, so do you recommend buying them online from the French website, paying in Euros with my American debit/credit card? I believe most banks charge 3-5% transaction fees, but I think that should still be cheaper than paying the US price! Please let me know!

    Best,
    Goyard Admirer

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    Replies
    1. Hi there - hmm, I was told that one can't purchase Goyard from France and have it shipped to the US, but that may or may not be true? I also didn't realize they sold their bags online in any country! Either way I wouldn't recommend buying a bag over there and having it shipped because you could be subject to some very high custom taxes / duties.

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  17. Goyard AdmirerMonday, June 19, 2017

    Hi Jean,

    Second question! I live in Boston too and was told that the Artois is sold only in Paris and New York. If I buy the back in New York and have it shipped to Boston, would I have to pay tax? I don't think Goyard is in the Boston Barney's anymore.

    Best,
    Goyard Admirer

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    Replies
    1. Good question! I think due to the Barney's shop closing (sad!) you might not be subject to sales tax anymore, but I would call the NYC store to ask!

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  18. I have 2 Longchamp bags that I bought a few years ago and I love them! They are the nylon material but they really have stood the test of time. I have a weekender bag that I take with me every time I travel.

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  19. This is such a helpful post--and so timely! I am going to Paris on Friday and was planning to buy a Euro-brand leather work tote while I'm there. Based on your review, will probably go with the medium Prada (now just have to decide on color...). Thank you!

    www.thepolishedblog.com

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  20. Loved how helpful this post was. I just love Goyard!
    www.allthatjae.com

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  21. I love investing in bags that can work with casual and fancier outfits. My Stella McCartney ones are my faves!
    Julia・Little Miss Haute Couture

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  22. I never really thought much of Longchamp bags UNTIL I made my way to Paris for the first time a couple of weeks ago and saw so many ladies using it. Glad to have gotten it in Paris where it was definitely cheaper.

    http://www.ticketforadventure.com

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  23. This is a great post! The Fendi Peekaboo is definitely my favorite :)

    www.pennyanddash.com

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  24. Great post! The Prada bag is my fave! It's versatile and it's structure is just perfect. Love it

    https://officiallychic.com/

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  25. I've been a long time Goyard fan! Out of the ones I have I get the most wear out of my grey PM and my solid black Cap Vert! I appreciated this post..very informative and totally makes me miss Paris ❤️

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  26. My main assumption of the "unusual choice of monogram on the floor model" of the Goyard Artois PM tote is that it's to prevent people from stealing it. Usually any combination of letters would do, but that's one heck of a stigma to carry if you did manage to successfully steal that bag from the store.

    That said, those initials could very well be mistaken for your initials (if you had a middle name starting with the letter E, haha).

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  27. Jean- a question for you on the Goyard PM: are the straps long enough to wear over the shoulder with say a winter coat or blazer? I cant have a bag that I can only carry over the arm or holding in my hand. What is your experience?

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