Paris is one of Europe's best cities for finding high quality vintage – both clothes, bags and furniture. But where do you start? On our last trip to Paris, I travelled with a second-hand expert (young Miss Rucksack) who is super good at finding unique and well-fitting clothes. We therefore went to Paris with half-empty bags to fill them with wonderful shopping finds during the trip. But how do you shop vintage in Paris? Here are our best tips on how to find the right stores and where to find the best vintage stores - friperies as it is called in French!
By the way, here's a map where I marked out about forty vintage and second-hand shops!Bring the map on the streets of Paris and you won't miss any opportunities for bargains. (Link opens in Google maps)
Why shop vintage?
It has probably not escaped anyone that the wear-and-throw model is not a sustainable model for our planet and for our future. Our society and fashion trends are moving towards quality, recycled materials and unique garments that elevate an entire outfit. It took me many years before I got over the threshold of buying second hand clothing, but now I have a lot of vintage finds in my closet and when I neet to buy furniture, I always check auction sites and flea markets first before I even think about buying something new.
Tips to find vintage finds!
Think before you head out on the town and it will be easier to find that unique garment.
One of the hardest things about shopping for clothes in Paris is that they are French sizes. You probably have a solid idea of what size you are in Swedish sizes, but you need to think again when you go shopping in France. The rule is that you need to go up one to two sizes. Size 38 in Sweden is thus (in modern garments) size 40 (or 42) in France.
The ideal of women has also changed over time and you should not always blindly trust the size label on the garment. Hold the garment in front of you. Does it seem to fit? Try on the garment. Don't buy anything you haven't tried. If you are a real vintage fox, you bring a measuring tape with you, so you don't have to try unnecessarily.
Looking for something special? Do your research before!
There are plenty of vintage shops that sells Chanel, Hermès, Celine and Louis Vuitton, but make sure you do your homework before you start hunting. Vintage shops in France know what they are selling and buying quality clothes and bags is not cheap. Compare the prices on eBay and think about how much you think the garment/bag is worth to you before you take the plunge.
Don't go looking for something too specific! Shopping vintage is going on a journey through the history of fashion where you never know what you will find. But you shouldn't forget one thing. Shopping vintage is shopping for what suits your body type and what suits your style - regardless of what you actually thought you'd find and what counts as "modern" today.
Check the patches in the garment. Where is the garment made? What kind of material is it? Are there any washing instructions? A simple rule is usually that the older the garment is, the purer the natural material in the garment and the fewer patches in the garment. The more polyester, nylon and lycra - the newer the garment. Often you can feel if it is a quality garment just by the weight, the feel of it and if there are a lot of fluff.
But how do you know if you should strike? There are four things you always need to check – buttons/holes/discoloration/odor. Start by checking under the sleeves of the garment. Over time, sewing thread can dry and crumble, and it is usually first seen under the arms. This is also the fastest way to see if the garment is discolored. Are all buttons still in place? Do the zippers work? Are all seams intact? Do you see any holes in the fabric if you look through it at a window or lamp (especially in the case of wool clothing that may have had moth infestations)? Does the garment smell good? Do not buy the garment if you do not know that you can fix the defects yourself.
It is often easier to find denim jackets, jewellery, party wear, handbags, belts, sunglasses, blazers, silk scarves, children's clothes and coats than it is to find good everyday clothes (as they are usually used a lot and are more worn).
Where can I find good vintage shopping in Paris?
There are loads of second hand and vintage shops in Paris for all price ranges. We found the finest things in the Marais, in the area south of Montmartre and at the large antique market/flea Marché aux Puces de Paris Saint-Ouen.
Keep in mind that many places only takes cash! So make sure to bring enough Euros for unexpected bargains!
Go to the subway station Saint Paul and proceed from there. Then you just have to zigzag between all the small streets and shops around Rivoli Street / Glassworks Street.
bhumi - 28 rue de Rivoli
Free'p'star – 5 stores around Paris. 20 rue de Rivoli, 61 Rue de la Verrerie
Kilo Shop – Buy vintage by the kilo, 7 stores in Paris – 69-71 Rue de la Verrerie
King of Frip - 33 Rue du Roi de Sicile
Come on Eileen - 40 rue de Rivoli
Tilt Vintage Paris 4th - 8 rue de Rivoli
Guerrisol – 16 stores around Paris – 8 Bd de Sevastopol
A LITTLE MORE EXPENSIVE – Luxury designer bags and clothes (also available online)
Odette Vintage - 76 Rue des Tournelles
Citizen Concept Store - 22 Rue de Thorigny
A car Simone - 6 Rue du Perche
Marché aux Puces de Paris Saint-Ouen
The 150-year-old flea market (marché aux puces) in Paris Saint-Ouen is the world's largest flea market and has over 5 million visitors every year. Here, expensive antiques are mixed with flea market finds and vintage. You can go here every Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Every week all year round.
With an area of 7 hectares, as many as 14 different markets and 1700 exhibitors, there is something here for everyone. An absolutely incredible place that you shouldn't miss if you like beautiful things! I wished I didn't travel with hand luggage when I visited this place, oh oh oh what beautiful things I could have bought for home here! Of course, there are also plenty of wine bars and restaurants here. Amidst the antiques, there are 40 places where you can sit down and think in the sunshine over a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.
Marché aux puces de Paris Saint-Ouen - It is a large area that covers many addresses. We went to the subway station Garibaldi and then followed the signs to the market. It is also possible to go to Porte de Clignancourt, Porte de Saint-Ouen or Saint-Ouen.
Brochure of the market area
The area south of Montmartre
Go to Montmartre and then walk south. Rue des Martyrs has many small shops that are not only vintage, but also shops with new clothes from unique small brands.
By Flowers - 86 R. des Martyrs
Bis Boutique Solidaire - 19 Lamartine Street
Kilo Shop - 10 Bd Montmartre
Chinemachine – 100 R. des Martyrs
A LITTLE MORE EXPENSIVE – More luxurious branded clothing and bags
RoseMarket Vintage - 19 Rue Milton
Retro chic - 57 Condorcet Street
More places to memorize
You may find the best vintage find where you least expect it, but if you are looking for slightly finer clothes and bags, it may be worth going to the addresses below.
A LITTLE MORE EXPENSIVE – More luxurious branded clothing and bags
Thank God I'm VIP - 12 Rue de Lancry
Opulence Luxury & Vintage Ile de Saint Louis - 3 Rue Jean du Bellay
Opulence Luxury & Vintage - 107 Rue Réaumur
Episode - 12-16 Rue Tiquetonne
Kiliwatch Paris - 64 Tiquetonne Street
Do I have your favorite store on the list or am I missing someone? Click on the map to get to Google maps and almost 40 vintage and second hand shops!
Have you been here? What did you think of the destination?
Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.