You're always allowed to bring goods of a certain value back home without having to pay any duty or import tax. But there's a limit on the amount of tobacco and liquor you can return with duty-free, and some countries have separate limits for perfumes; for exact quotas, check with your customs department. The values of so-called duty-free goods are included in these amounts. When you shop abroad, save all your receipts, as customs inspectors may ask to see them as well as the items you purchased. If the total value of your goods is more than the duty-free limit, you'll have to pay a tax (most often a flat percentage) on the value of everything beyond that limit.
If you're coming from outside the European Union (EU), you may import the following duty-free: (1) 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 50 grams of tobacco; (2) 2 liters of wine and, in addition, (a) 1 liter of alcohol over 22% volume (most spirits) or (b) 2 liters of alcohol under 22% volume (fortified or sparkling wine) or (c) 4 more liters of table wine; (3) perfume, coffee, tea, and other goods to the value of about €430 (€150 for ages 14 and under).
If you're arriving from an EU country, you may be required to declare all goods and prove that anything over the standard limit is for personal consumption. But there is no limit or customs tariff imposed on goods carried within the EU except on tobacco (800 cigarettes, 200 cigars, 1 kilogram of tobacco) and alcohol (10 liters of spirits, 90 liters of wine, with a maximum of 60 liters of sparkling wine, 110 liters of beer).
Any pet coming to France must have recent rabies shots (no less than 21 days before departure), all standard vaccinations, and either a microchip or a tattoo. Be sure to have all paperwork on hand at the airport—including the bilingual "Certificat Vétérinaire vers l’UE" (EU veterinary certificate), as customs officials will inspect the animal in question. The form can be downloaded from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website (www.aphis.usda.gov).
Information in Paris
Direction des Douanes. 08–11–20–44–44; 0033/01–72–40–78–50; www.douane.gouv.fr.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection. www.cbp.gov.