In Paris, there’s a real art to vintage shopping. And I’ve found that practice makes perfect! When I first moved to Paris, I was on a tight budget, so I did almost all my shopping at vintage, charity and second hand shops and at the various different flea markets. I’m one to love digging around in a pile of stuff to find a treasure and I’m not shy of haggling for a better price either!
Today I still try to do most of my clothes shopping at vintage markets and boutiques, both to keep the price down, and also to try to add some unique pieces to my wardrobe. I’ve always been a fan of buying vintage clothes, and combining them with high-street pieces as well as the occasional extra-special purchase.
And why stop at clothes? Keeping an eye out for vintage or second-second bits and bobs opens up opportunities to source cute finds for your kitchen and home too.
Basically when it comes to vintage shopping in France, you can either hunt down little vintage boutiques (which are mostly tucked away in amidst other boutique shops and regular high-street stores), visit a brocante, take a trip to one of the many puces (flea markets), or check out a vide grenier (France’s version of a car boot sale, minus the car). Here’s my run-down on vintage shopping in Paris:
This is by no means as extensive list of the vintage haunts in Paris, just some that I love. And keep an eye out for vintage salons and fairs too.
Kilo-Shop (your purchases are weighed by the kilo to determine the price)
125 Boulevard Saint-Germain
J’y Troque (good second-hand jackets and often you’ll find Isabel Marant pieces)
7 rue Villedo
32, Rue de Rosiers
Free ‘P’ Star
8 rue Ste-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie
1, Rue de la Verrerie
29 Rue Jean Pierre-Timbaud
There quite a few of these charity shops dotted around Paris (map here).
Les Puces (flea markets)
My tip? To boost your chances of having a successful trip to a flea market, you need to arrive with the right attitude. Sometimes, you’ll find a whole bunch of fabulous pieces and instantly fall in love, other times – you’ll leave empty handed. Best to not have too high expectations – rather, focus on soaking up the atmosphere and aim to have fun.
In the north of Paris you’ll find flea market heaven – the Marché aux puces de Saint-Ouen. Keep a careful eye on your wallets, and be prepared to be overwhelmed at how big the markets are!
Another tip: if you need a break from bargain hunting, the Pierre Cardin museum is located at the Puces de Saint Ouen (open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2pm to 5pm).
Paris (and the rest of France for that matter…I found some fabulous second-hand finds in Bordeaux recently) is home to a huge array of fantastic brocantes. These weekly markets are always packed full of second-hand books, tea cups, beautiful cutlery in perfect condition … really any kind of trinket you could hope for. You can find out when and the where to find the next brocante in Paris here.
Brocantes are usually stocked with good-quality stock (so you don’t have to rifle through odds and ends), therefore this can mean that the price point is higher than your regular vintage market. Although, if you can visit a brocante outside of Paris, you’ll notice a huge drop in prices! I find them especially good for adding to my (never-ending) tea cup collection
Vide grenier season is back! Now that the weather is warming up, keep an eye out for notices advertising local pop-up markets. I’m a big fan of hunting for a bargain at a French version of a car boot sale, and a lot of trinkets in my Paris apartment and kitchen I’ve sourced from vide greniers in my quartier.
I find the Brocabrac iPhone app handy (you can search for the antique markets and vide greniers that are scheduled in your neighbourhood).
Happy bargain hunting!