The best thing about vintage shopping in Paris? Parisians have not yet discovered a real appetite for second-hand clothes so, unlike in the UK (and especially East London, which is wallet kryptonite), everything is dirt cheap. Most shops have €1 bins piled high with items which are all a steal at (yup) €1.
The best vintage shops are in the Marais (super handy as the multitude of incredible parfumeries in the area act as an antidote to the old clothes smell. Be warned though; if you’re anything like me – aka extremely susceptible to the scent of lavender and the glint of antique glass bottles – give your purse to a friend for safekeeping, because you will want to give those people EVERYTHING.)
Where to shop
The King of Frip, 33 Rue du roi de Sicile (notable for an excellent suggestion of 80s sportswear and some cracking ballgowns)
Free’P’Star, 52 & 61 Rue de la Verriere (there are a few of these around Paris, but we visited the two opposite each other in the Marais)
Kilo Shop, 69-71 Rue de la Verriere (again, these pop up around Paris. Clothes are priced by weight here, which means it can be very cost effective or very expensive, depending on how into sequins you are)
Chine Machine, 100 Rue des Martyrs (my personal favourite – more expensive than the others but there were some real gems here!)
Vintage Désir, 28 Rye Yvonne le Tac (a lot of the clothes here are along the quirky lines so be prepared to think outside the box)
- Be willing to rummage – don’t look, don’t find, and much of the treasure is buried deep.
- Leave your bulk at home – you can’t get up to the elbows in flowery shirts and silk scarves if you’re keeping one eye on your handbag.
- Be polite but determined – try and avoid elbowing the lady next to you in the face, but equally don’t let her walk away with that amazing piece you grabbed first, no matter how charming her smile. Even if she tries to distract you with rapid French.
- Be open minded – you’ll be faced with a lot of crap, but underneath all that nylon may lurk a beautiful one-off piece. But equally…
- … Don’t buy stuff just because it’s a euro – yes, it’s shockingly cheap. But that doesn’t mean you should buy that 1980s Desperately Seeking Susan black and gold monstrosity, ‘just in case’. Put it down and spend that euro on a pain au chocolat.