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Tips for finding that perfect European souvenir

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Photographs by Rick Steves’ Europe/RICK STEVES

Artisans like this alabaster sculptor in Volterra, Italy, keep the local craft alive and provide meaningful souvenirs for travelers.

With each trip I take, I look for cultural souvenirs -- experiences and memories are the gold nuggets of travel. Shopping is never my priority, but I find the best souvenirs come from local entrepreneurs and craftspeople. These days, Europe's modern shopping arenas are also fun spots to witness a slice of contemporary life. In moderation, it can be fun to immerse yourself in the retail culture of Europe's grandest cities. Here are some smart places for shopping, places where you're experiencing culture rather than collecting things.

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European department stores (such as Galeries Lafayette in Paris) can be glamorous platforms for top fashion and people-watchi... + Enlarge

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