There is a big difference between vintage shopping and thrifting – especially in Paris.
Go vintage shopping in the Marais or other trendy parts of the city, and you’ll be coughing up quite a few euros for that fantastic leather jacket or luxurious fur coat. While this is fine if you just want to find a few one-of-a-kind pieces, do it on the regular and you may start breaking the bank.
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous – and looking to save some money – there are alternatives where you can find items that are just as fabulous but for a fraction of the price. I’m talking popular French brands like Isabel Marant, Comptoir des Cotonniers, The Kooples, and Saint James for as little as €1.50 a piece.
Called friperies in French, these shops specialize in second hand goods and clothing and are frequently associated with charities. Better yet, you can find them in just about every district in the city, so you don’t have to go far to get a good deal.
Emmaüs is a charitable organization that, in addition to accepting donations, has a host of secondhand shops open across France. There, you can find quality clothing, shoes, books, and even home decor for very reasonable prices.
In the market for a French press coffee maker, paperback book, interesting art print, down jacket, leather booties, or handbag? You’re likely to find that and more at any one of the Emmaüs boutiques in Paris. In addition to scoring a great bargain, you’ll also feel great knowing that the funds from your purchase are going towards a good cause.
I myself frequent Emmaüs whenever I’m looking for an interesting vase, new read, or 100% cashmere sweater. While I find some locations are better than others, it’s rare that I wander into one and come out empty-handed.
Guerrisol par Guerrida
Guerrisol is a chain of friperies that specializes exclusively in second hand clothing, bags, and shoes. While admittedly a bit rougher than your average Emmaüs boutique, there are still plenty of treasures to be found in Guerrisol shops, so they’re definitely worth a peek if you’re feeling up to it.
Guerrisol is my go-to when I’m in a thrifting mood but not looking for anything in particular. While I tend to spend a lot of time sifting through so-so items, it usually results in something spectacular and unexpected like a camel hair coat, patent leather heels, a vintage clutch, or perfectly aged perfecto motorcycle jacket.
A word of warning: Trips to Guerrisol typically involve a lot of rummaging through bins and racks upon racks of clothing which tend to vary wildly in quality. You’re as likely to find a tattered sweater as you are a silk shirt. But with prices scarcely going above €5, it’s well worth the time sifting through things.