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  • 53'
  • Author : Laura Sahin
  • 18-03-2018
  • Master : 2733

SOUVENIRS, SOUVENIRS: THE FRENCH ARE FIGHTING FOR THEIR HERITAGE | TF1 | Reportages

Who could ever resist the temptation of a souvenir ? Nearly one out of every two tourists brings back a souvenir item in their bags. While the majority of souvenir sellers in France get their supplies from Chinese factories, certain players in the French market are standing up to resist the throttling effect of Asia: French people fighting to take their heritage back.

Antoine is only 29 and yet he created the souvenir object “Made in France”, which is proving a hit all around the world. “I got the idea of drawing the outline of a photo of Marseille at sunset. At the time, I was working with a company that did laser cutouts in steel. I asked them to cut out this drawing. And people loved it right away.” For the second year of his company’s existence, this young man plans to widen his range: from Paris to New York, Antoine will have to resist the competition and stand out, in particular at the International Maison & Objet Fair, where he makes 70% of his annual turnover. The future of his company depends on it.

Nicolas Pagnol will try to launch a range of souvenir products as a homage to his famous grandfather, Marcel Pagnol, in one of the most touristy cities in France: Marseille. The heir is counting on opening a boutique store in the highly popular Panier district. “We have key rings, T-shirts and here we have two colored metal plates that I’m quite proud of: it’s a display that I found at my grandmother’s, an idea for a poster, which will evoke not only Marseille with the Bonne Mere., but also the famous game of petanque that stops the tramway: “Are you shooting or setting up?” This project should enable the family to finance in particular the restoration of the cult films by Pagnol, now 80 years old.

Jeremy and his brother, Mathieu, took over the souvenir business run by their grandfather at Berck, in the Pas-de-Calais. They have to face one of the worst summer seasons since they became owners of their trinket store. “We sell simple, but cute little souvenirs… magnets for instance: people put them on their fridges… they see them every day and that reminds them of their vacation…” With their teams, the two brothers will do all they can to tempt the customer to buy souvenirs from them.

Jenny Yé develops typically French souvenirs… made in China! We discover the secrets of her success, which is still attracting so many retailers: 80% of souvenirs sold in France are purchased in Asia. “These Eiffel Towers are ready to be shipped to France. They’re for a souvenir retailer. What’s funny is that it will probably be Chinese tourists who will buy this Eiffel Tower and it’s made right here in China!” A fact that really annoys true French craftsmen…

And one of them is Claude, a defender of “Made in France” and producer of bowls with a first name on them in St Gilles Croix de Vie, in the Vendee. A tradition dating back to 1907. “The bowl with the first name was invented in the Vendee, by us. Then it was copied by the Chinese, and Asians in general, and because they’re not any more stupid than we are and we haven’t put any barriers, well the trade no longer exists in France!”

We follow the everyday lives of these creators of dreams, who allow us to bring a part of our vacation home in our bags.