French handbag brands

12 Best French Handbag Brands In 2024

Let’s just be honest: shopping for a new designer handbag is often as exciting as going on a vacation. And especially if on the tag of the bag it says “Made in France”.

Renowned for its rich history of artisanal excellence and unparalleled attention to detail, France has been a go-to destination for luxury handbags for decades. Need proof? Just look at the impressive number of French designer brands that have risen to fame thanks to their bags. I mean, Hermès is arguably best known for its Birkin Bag. Louis Vuitton – for the Neverfull. Dior – for Lady Dior. And the list goes on.

Are you dreaming of adding a French designer handbag to your collection, but are afraid of the possible price tag that may come along with it? Fear not, as the French savoir-faire tradition extends beyond luxury houses. See for yourself, as you scroll through the list of the best French handbag brands. From the timeless elegance of Chanel to the contemporary appeal of Leo & Violette, these are the 12 best French handbag brands to have on your radar!

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1. Chanel

Opening up the list of the best French handbag brands with none other than Chanel. Founded in 1910 by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, this iconic French Fashion House has revolutionized the handbag industry by introducing the shoulder strap together with the launch of their 2.55 bag in 1955.

As the story goes, in the 1920s, Coco Chanel got tired of having to carry her handbags by hand and decided to design a handbag which could be worn over the shoulder. And she succeeded, designing the handbag that we all know and love till this day. Much like we love the Chanel Classic Flap, Karl Lagerfeld’s version of the 2.55.

2. Louis Vuitton

When talking about the most iconic French handbag brands, a name that instantly comes to mind is Louis Vuitton. Established in 1854 by, at the time, young and ambitious Louis Vuitton, Louis Vuitton has initially risen to fame thanks to its luxury trunks and luggage featuring a distinctive LV monogram pattern.

Today, however, the brand is best known for its bags. In particular, the Keepall, the Speedy and, of course, the Neverfull, which was introduced in 2007 and has grown to be one of the most popular French designer handbags on the market. In fact, you now have to join a waitlist, which is around 2-3 months long, to buy one directly from the boutique!

3. Hermès

Started out in 1837 as a harness workshop in Paris, over a span of nearly two centuries Hermès has gone on to become one of the most celebrated French handbag brands in the world, renowned globally for its impeccable craftsmanship, and, of course, the iconic Birkin and Kelly bags.

If you are into handbags, you’ve likely heard of the Hermès game. A jargon among Hermès aficionados, this commonly refers to the amount of money you have to pre-spend at Hermès in order to be offered a chance to buy a quota bag (Birkin, or Kelly). Yes, you can’t really buy any of those bags by simply walking into a Hermès store. Which is also, in my opinion, a big part of the appeal.

4. Celine

Celine is a French luxury fashion powerhouse established in 1945 by Céline Vipiana and her husband, Richard. The brand initially gained recognition as a made-to-measure children’s shoe business, but in the early 60s, the focus was shifted to ready-to-wear fashion, shoes and accessories, which remain the main focus of the brand to this day.

Most of us, however, learned about Celine in the late 2000s, when Phoebe Philo became its creative director. Philo then introduced a minimalist and modern aesthetic that resonated with the consumers. She introduced timeless classics, such as the Celine Classic Box Bag, Celine Luggage Tote and Celine Belt Bag, which we love and wear to this day, even despite Philo leaving the brand in 2017.

5. Goyard

Likely, no other French handbag brand evokes as much mystery and prestige as Goyard. Founded in 1853 as a continuation of “Maison Martin”, a trunk-making business founded by Pierre-Francois Martin in 1792, Goyard is renowned for its extraordinary craftsmanship, as well as a somewhat old-school approach towards luxury: the brand till this day doesn’t sell online, nor advertise.

That didn’t deter them, however, from becoming one of the most popular French handbag brands on the planet. Goyard’s Saint Louis Tote, in particular, has gone on to become an iconic symbol in the world of luxury fashion, often reselling over retail through the pre-loved market.

6. Moynat

Moynat is a French leather goods brand that was established in 1849 by Octavia & Francois Coulembier, making it the oldest French trunk maker. Though, after a period of decline, the brand was forced to close its original boutique in 1976, remaining relatively dormant until LVMH, under the leadership of Bernard Arnault, revived it in 2011.

And it’s very good that they did, as Moynat has a rich history of crafting luxurious, bespoke trunks and leather goods. I mean, just look at their stunning Gabrielle bag, which echoes the sleek lines of the brand’s historic Limousine Trunk!

7. Dior

It’s hard to talk of the most iconic French handbag brands without mentioning the House of Dior, founded in 1947 by Christian Dior. His first collection featured the revolutionary “New Look,” which marked a departure from wartime austerity to full skirts, nipped-in waists, and femininity in general.

Today, however, fashion lovers from all around the world best know Dior for its iconic Lady Dior. A favorite of none other than Princess Diana, the Lady Dior bag was created in 1995 and features a distinctive quilted pattern called Cannage, inspired by the Napoleon III chairs that Christian Dior used in his first fashion show in 1947.

8. Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent, synonymous with Parisian elegance and rebellious chic, stands as a paragon of modern luxury fashion. Founded by Yves Saint Laurent in 1961, the Maison has since become an emblematic force in the industry, known for its groundbreaking designs and innovative contributions to women’s fashion. 

YSL, as it is fondly referred to, effortlessly marries classic sophistication with a daring edge, exemplified by its iconic tuxedo jackets, sleek tailoring, and timeless accessories boasting the brand’s iconic YSL plaque. The brand’s Kate Bag, in particular, is renowned for being one of the most popular designer bags of all time, selling in tens of thousands of units globally.

9. Chloé

Chloé initially disrupted the fashion landscape by introducing the concept of luxury clothing ready to be worn off the rack. However, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that they transformed into a top handbag brand. And you’ve guessed it, it happened thanks to Phoebe Philo!

Much like Celine, under the creative direction of Phoebe Philo, Chloé experienced an upward trajectory. Philo introduced a number of iconic styles, incl. the now-legendary Chloé Paddington bag, which quickly became a sensation thanks to its slouchy silhouette and a distinctive oversized padlock.

10. Longchamp

Longchamp’s story began in 1948 when Jean Cassegrain took over his father’s tobacco shop in Paris. Originally a producer of luxury leather-covered pipes, Longchamp has fairly quickly evolved to offer a wide selection of fine leather goods, incl. handbags, shoes, luggage and various travel accessories.

Today, however, the brand is best known for its Le Pliage tote. An iconic design in the world of luxury, the Longchamp Le Pliage is a foldable and lightweight nylon tote adorned with a distinctive leather flap and handles. Introduced by the brand in 1993, it remains the bestseller to this day, beloved by everyone from luxury fashion lovers to students for its practical design and affordable price tag, which starts at around €100.

11. Polène

Founded in 2016 by three siblings, Polène delivers what many other contemporary handbag brands don’t: unique designs and impeccable craftsmanship. The brand quickly rose to fame thanks to its distinctive style combining minimalism and creative expression, as well as a fairly affordable price range (most Polène bags are priced at under €500).

I personally own 2 Polène handbags: Numéro Un Nano in Black Textured leather and Numéro Huit Mini in Camel. However, particularly popular among the influencers at the moment are the brand’s Numéro Neuf and Dix bags. The former is shaped like a dumpling, whereas the latter features a more minimalistic design with rounded shape and foam padding.

12. Léo et Violette

Léo et Violette is another relatively new French leather goods brand founded in 2013 by Léo Dominguez and Violette Polchi, two young Parisian lovers. The brand specializes in minimalist and high-quality leather bags, emphasizing timelessness and elegance.

All of their bags are thoughtfully designed in-house, at Studio Léo et Violette in Paris, while the production takes place in Italy and Spain under the stringent supervision of the brand. Popular styles include Le Dalia, Le Laurence and Le Gianni.

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