When it comes to fashion, I scarcely buy things new. Instead, I frequent vintage shops and thrift stores. They’re the perfect place to find great items for a quarter of the original cost. The quality and pick of items depends on the city the store is in, of course, and when it comes to vintage shopping in Paris, it surpasses the selection of nearly every other city I’ve been to.
No surprise there, given that Paris is not only the city of love – but the fashion capital of the world!
Where in most countries you need to really hunt to find a great, affordable item at thrift stores, in Paris – specifically the area in the 3rd and 4th districts known as Le Marais – they’re a dime a dozen! For less than €20 a piece you can find the likes of Dior button-downs, Zara leather handbags, Levi high-waisted jeans, Converse sneakers, Lee jean jackets… it’s incredible!
While I could wax poetic about all the advantages of shopping second-hand in France, instead I’m going to cut to the chase and let you in on all the fabulous spots I’ve found in Le Marais since relocating to Paris.
61 rue de la Verrerie
Open until 8:30 PM
FREE’P’STAR is the grungiest of the bunch, but by far my favourite, not to mention the best value for money! It is split by a larger location right off of Hotel de Ville, with another, smaller location across the street. In both locations, you’ll find racks of unorganized clothing, small mountains of purses, and rows of shoes, silk scarves, belts, wallets, and other small leather goods.
Here you’ll find brands such as Levi, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Lee, and other big name designers. You’ll also find no shortage of perfectly fitted moto jackets, jean jackets, and fur jackets. You’ll have to really spend some time to pick through everything, though, as there is no organization in terms of size, type of clothing, or whether it’s a men’s or women’s item.
A tip if you want to get the most bang for your buck: In the larger location, everything on the upper floor is a mere €1 per piece, while everything piled at the front of the shop at the smaller location is priced the same.
69-71 Rue de la Verrerie
Open until 7:30 PM
Kiloshop is famed around Paris for its unique selling concept – that is, selling items by weight. Once you enter the shop, you’ll see a colour chart with corresponding prices (for example, red is €20 per kilo, green is €30 per kilo, etc.). All items in the store have a coloured tag, and when you stick it in any of the scales around the shop and press the button with the colour, it’ll display the price of that item. As such, you can get something like a light summer frock for as little as €4, while heavier items like leather jackets will ring up around €30 at least.
There are some items that do have set prices – such as Levi cutoff jean shorts and fancier dresses – but the vast majority work through the weight system. The shop is neatly organized, making it easy to find what you want, whether that be a romantic lacy top, a vintage negligee, a graphic t-shirt, or dress pants. The top floor is for women, while the bottom is for men.
Also worth mentioning is that right across from the mothership store is a sister shop called Kiloshop Kawaii, which is very similar to the regular store but tends to have girlier items as well as more niche items such as Japanese kimonos.
Vintage by Ramin
64 Rue de la Verrerie
Open until 11 PM
Vintage by Ramin is a smaller boutique by Centre Pompidou. It is neat and organized, with every item in the store hand-selected by Ramin himself, who also manages the shop. Here you’ll find a great selection of vintage denim, designer men’s button-downs, well-fitting jackets, and some nice leather belts.
While it doesn’t boast the size or selection of the aforementioned shops, practically every item in the shop is a gem, thanks to its careful selection, and everyone who works there is incredibly friendly and helpful. Its late hours are also a major plus for tourists or locals with odd work or school schedules, and unusual for vintage shops in the area.
In addition the aforementioned vintage shops, if you take a stroll around Centre Pompidou, you’ll be astounded by how many different boutiques you’ll find (especially around Rue Saint-Martin!). I highly recommend poking around – while the above may be my personal favourites, perhaps you’ll find another in the vicinity you love even more!