While traveling to any foreign country or city you will find that the shops selling souvernirs near any major tourist attraction will have higher prices than little shops along a non descript street.
If you want to make a few purchases of the usual souvenir to take back to family or friends then have a small list of those items and be on the look out while wandering the city.
I've personally found that many of the items I have want to or have purchased I have found in less busy areas of Paris.
Souvenir shops abound as you can imagine, and on the Rue Rivoli on the 1st Arrondissement they seem to have you taped as soon as you walk in the door!
Unique Suggestions: Souvenirs are great to take back as a memento of your stay but I do recommend that you take a closer inspection of anything you purchase because in the heat of the moment you may find you have been sold something which, when you get it home, is a bit of a disappointment!
I had made the classic error of letting myself get all starry eyed and didnt check the detail of a handbag which I had purchased for a not too small sum of money (the better the address the higher the price, but not necessarily the quality!). When I got back home I found that a small bolt/nut holding the handbag handles together was missing, and the thing promptly fell apart! I have sort of fixed it now but it just made me realise that i had been buying in a bit of a souvenir hunting frenzy that day and overlooked it.
It took the shine off it for a moment but all the other souvenirs were just fine (fridge magnets are just wonderful, so portable and at my age it seems like my friends find these to be the perfect gift! haha the marvels of getting older!)
1- Do not take a taxi, only if its absolutely neccesary. ( they usually drive around in order to charge you more, most of the places of interest are close to each other).
2. Buy a map, and use the Metro, For example: Palace Versailles, you do not need a tour, take the metro, 2 directions depending where you are. Then you can spend time in such a beautiful city such as Versailles as long as you want to; buy souvenirs, have dinner, etc.
Unique Suggestions: Go to the Louvre on Wednesday, it is the only day when they close at 10:00 pm.
It's a great deal!
When searching for that 'perfect' gift, whether it be a miniature Eiffel Tower or a small replica of Rodin's "The Kiss," keep in mind that the nearer you are to a major attraction, the greater the price will be. As you travel further away from that attraction, and duck into souvenir shops down the road, the prices will lower.
Unique Suggestions: Rue de Rivoli is a great place to shop for souvenirs. But, you must continue to price compare between the souvenir shops...some are outrageously expensive while others are ridiculously inexpensive.
(Located across from the Louvre and the Tuileries Garden.)
When purchasing souvenirs, be careful!!! The closer a shop is to a certain monument (i.e., Notre Dame, etc.), the more expensive the merchandise. Walk down the street a bit, checking prices. By Notre Dame, for example, we saw postcards for $.30, then a few shops later we found some for $.15.
I found the souvenir prices a little expensive, just remember to go to the open air market where you will find all the same souvenirs at better prices. I bought a keychain at the Eiffel tower that cost me 40 francs, when I walked across the bridge there were guys selling the same keychain for 5 francs....ouch.....that hurt!!
Eiffel Tower crap is for sale all over the place. You can also find scarves (some nice, some crappy and made in China) and of course, berets.