Let’s take a tour through some of the greatest «not-so-new, pas-de-tout» shopping experiences across the City ofLove Binge Shopping. It’s true that retail therapy releases dopamine, (which is I think something above Butter + Cigarettes on the French Food Pyramid?) but how much further this would joy spread if we purchased more second-hand items? How much more self-congratulations could we wrench from this decadent existence? I’m sure the planet and your bank account will thank you. Plus, ~Woke~. And, leisurely shopping for vintage clothes and enviably freakish 1980s tableware is one of our national pastimes so Frenchify your closet (and pantry) with our VINTAGE DECODER…
Second-hand Clothing Shopping in Paris
MOOD »»» ON THE HUNT
Bievnenue à Paris, global fashion hub, City of Love Binge Shopping. Land of the Chic, Home of the Swank. You get the idea. The Thrift Stores and Charity Shops must be a blast right? Non. Désolée, mes cheries. Pas de tout. There are a few reasons…
Reason Numero Un: Not only is Paris the World Capital of luxe, but downstream there’s a whole ecosystem of Fashion Effluvia awaiting you. The throbbing biome of fashion students and recent fashion grads and burned out former fashion industry pros could fill all the skyscrapers that we don’t have, but envision that we do for just this metaphor. (La Defense doesn’t count — Paris is the only capital city with it’s financial district outside the city…)
That species knows their Maje and their CoCo and their 80’s Balmain and they are not afraid to sharp-elbow their way through the Charity Shops and Thrift stores (they DO exist: Emmaus, Croix Rouge, etc.) to pan for gold. Or to survive if we are to stick with this metaphor. So what’s left at a real, honest-to-goodness Thrift Store is more like questionable housewares, roughly handled baby gear, appliances that work but…, etc. OUI, there is clothing, but it’s not worth the weight in your checked bag.
So…read on as we DECODE how to shop for Vintage Clothing in Paris.
PS: SOME DIRTY LAUNDRY » The same organized crime ring that picks your pockets at the Louvre and on the Metro, and whose seemingly non-threatening young ladies harass you for signatures on petitions (and then cash…) used to, until recently, lower their children into the large metal used clothing collection bins we have in every neighborhood to fish out the bags of donations, which would then be picked apart on the street in the hunt for Dior. The organizations that place these collection boxes had to redesign the deposit slots…to make them childproof. Like, «childproof». Sigh. The good finds would be hawked to the Dépôt Ventes and Vides Greniers! There was one of the 1.0 versions of these collection bins on the corner near a place I lived in the Canal St. Martin neighborhood and I used to watch from my balcony as five year oldswent into the box through the donation slot and started feeding bags out to their parents. Heartbreaking stuff. Oui, enjoy your shopping.
A «friperie» is something similar to what the outside world thinks of as a Second-hand Clothing Shop. It’s not an actual, benevolent, Thrift Store or a Charity Shop (we have those but they are not really worth the effort for clothing as ~Vintage~ is an absolutely SAVAGE industry here, and those are picked CLEAN on the daily by PROFESSIONALS who then *host pop-up vintage sales (see below for some good IG accounts to follow to find out the when/where) OR sell the curated, worthwhile pieces in their dépôts-vente shops (also see below (well, fashion in general is a WHOLE THING in Paris, as you already likely suspected…)
A bit of is a far reach from the regular random jumble you might envision, however. The friperie experience in Paris is more like treasure hunting — it’s exciting and you’re guaranteed some gold by the end. It’s common knowledge in Paris that the best Friperie’s (Friperix? Fripereuax? How about we do you dirty like the French did the word «SANDWICHS») are found in Le Marais and Les Halles Areas, although there are a few around Republique.Bon frip!
Episode — 12–16 Rue Tiquetonne (2nd arr.)
Nice Piece — 76 Rue Charlot (3rd arr.)
Chinemachine — 100 Rue des Martyrs (18th arr.)
RAG Vintage — 81 Rue Saint-Honoré (1st arr.)
Love and Dress — 45 Rue d’Haute-ville (10th arr.)
Kiliwatch — 64 rue Tiquetonne (2nd arr.)
MAD Vintage – 66 Rue Saint-Denis (1st arr.) / 41 Rue de Rivoli (1st arr.)
Free’P’Star – 61 Rue de la Verrerie / 20 Rue de Rivoli (4th arr.)
Hippy Market — 41 Rue du Temple (4th arr.)
Guerrisol — on the way lower end, locations throughout the city, mostly East
Similar to friperies, kilo shops are all about maximizing what you can get with your spend. Regardless of label or look, the price of an item is based solely off its weight. Scattered around these relaxed 80s vibe outlets are scales for the convenience of customers. Highly popular across the main cities of France, kilo shops offer a different approach to second-hand shopping with growing demand. The ability to purchase more for less helps environmentally too, with reduced unwanted clothing going in the trash and keeping it in loving wardrobes instead. Style is completely subjective, which is why kilo shops are a great way to keep circulating fashion.
Kilo Shop — 69–71 Rue de la Verrerie (4th arr.)
Kilo Shop — 125 Bd Saint-Germain (6th arr.)
Kilo Shop Kawaii — 65 Rue de la Verrerie (4th arr.)
Kilo Shop — 10 Bd Montmartre (9th arr.)
Kilo shop — 23 Rue du Faubourg du Temple (10th arr.)
The other wave of vintage shopping is through a more curated, exclusive experience. Loved by Parisian fashionistas and fashion editors alike, these pricier hubs for vintage luxury are sure to return a delightful treat. If you look hard enough, you can find Hermés scarves for under €100, Celine bags for under €500 and even Louboutins for under €50. AND beaucoup lustfully unique pieces NOT in these price ranges…Beautifully organised and aesthetically pleasing, these shops are extremely popular – no surprise!
Pretty Box — 46 rue Saintonge (3rd Arr.)
Mood: appointment only, bébé. Come back next time.
Vintage System Shop — 17 rue Barbette (3rd arr.)
Mood: Freaky and chic family affair
Dépôt Vente ‑14 Rue de la Tour (16th arr.)
Mood: Big Bang for your buck
Opulence Vintage — 107 Rue Reaumur (2nd arr.) / 3 Rue Jean du Bellay (4th arr.)
Mood: vintage designer handbags
Monogram Paris - 6 Rue de la Tremoille, (8th arr.)
Mood: if you get stressed out by over crowded rails, visit Monogram for an organised closet feel.
La Marelle Paris - 25 Gal Vivienne (2nd arr.)
Mood: without a big online presence, you can grab something uniquely French that no one else has.
Cornerluxe Paris — 45, Avenue Bosquet (7th arr.) / 6, Place Moro-Giafferi (14th arr.) / 84, Avenue Mozart (16th arr.)
Mood: affordable Hermès…
Thanx god I’m a VIP — 12 Rue de Lancry (10th arr.)
Mood: Parisian insider approved
En voiture Simone — 43 Rue Charlot (3rd arr.)
Mood: everyday chic
Retro Chic — 57 Rue Condorcet (9th arr.)
Mood: pristine condition Chanel bags
Valois vintage — 8 Rue des Saussaies (8th arr.)
Mood: rare, collectors pieces
Les Merveilles de Babellou — 18 Rue Paul Bert, 93400 Saint-Ouen
Mostly online, these brands quite literally pop up from time to time, to allow customers to get a feel for the clothing and also the brand. This style of shopping creates excitement and attaches a sense of worth to clothing that regular on demand high street stores don’t have. By waiting for the announced pop-up to search for new goodies, you’re probably going to make more meaningful purchases. That means actually buying stuff you need, rather than just want. (Although a shiny new thing isn’t all bad every once in a while).
Now, for the Objects — Brocantes, Vide-Greniers, and Marché aux Puces
A favourite meeting place for les Frenches, marchés (food markets), brocantes (flea markets) and vide-greniers (garage sales, even though a garage isn’t really a thing here) are home to pretty much everything you can think of. From fashion to flowers and carpets to candelabras, Paris has over 90 different popup markets! Captivating all antique and vintage lovers, these markets are absolute gold mines for decorative accessories and some are even solid sources of unique clothing you won’t find anywhere else.
By taking a few extra steps down from the Sacré-cœur, you’ll find yourself at one of the most extravagant flea markets in the world. Rife with trinkets, jewelry, original artwork, vintage clothes, the list goes on. Dating back from the 19th century, Saint-Ouen was the first fashion flea market of its time and brings around 2,500 sellers from Saturday to Monday. It’s known as one the best and biggest in the world of its kind. The variety from stall to stall is unlike you’ll have ever seen, but the general mood focuses on art-deco from every period and at high and low prices. Expect higher standards from this museum-like artefact that is Saint-Ouen.
Side note: head there on a rainy Monday. If it’s less busy you might be able to score some better deals.
ADDRESS: Avenue de la Porte de Clignancourt (18th arr.)
Vanves Flea Market (Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves)
Located in the 14th arrondissement, Vanves flea market is home to over 400 stalls on a weekend. It’s more hidden in the Southern part of Paris and offers a more laid-back alternative to the famous Saint-Ouen. Away from the centre, you’ll find less tourists and might be able to get better prices with less haggling. Round off your trip with lunch at one of our favourite restaurants: Arthur & Juliette for a delicious croque monsieur or Le Jerobam for French cuisine and a great onion soup.
ADDRESS: Avenue Marc Sangnier / Avenue Georges Lafenstre (14th arr.)
Perhaps the less attractive brother to St-Ouen, Montreuil’s flea market still offers some awesome gems, all at bargain prices. From vintage clothing to 19th century fine cutlery and everything antique you can think of. But don’t be fooled by the initial price. Haggling is all part of the French flea market process. Don’t be afraid to say « trop cher! » a few times and argue a lower price. Bonne chance!
ADDRESS: Avenue du Professeur André Lemierre (20th arr.)
OPEN: Saturday & Monday 7a‑7:30p
MÉTRO: Porte de Montreuil (line 9)
Pop-up Brocantes in Paris
Throughout the year you can find Brocantes, also translated to nomadic antiques markets – pop up with all sorts of diamond in the rough. Endless bric-à-brac, should we say. Le Marais area hosts Brocantes often, sometimes lasting a few hours or even across a full weekend. You just have to try your luck, but you can also check the Brocantes calendar on the Vide-Greniers websiteto access lists of sales.
Literally translating to ‘empty the attic’ in French, these garage-like sales are way more casual. Normally, regular people and families sell stuff they’re trying to get rid of in their neighborhoods. Sometimes you can find tasteful antique furniture, books and old clothing. More often than not, you have to be willing to view the items as projects. They need a bit of TLC or a lick of paint. But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure as they say! Brocabrac Paris and Points de Chineare great websites to check before planning your treasure hunt. ps. Prime time for Vide-Greniers in Paris is during Spring time.