The art to finding treasures in vintage boutiques is one that anyone can master. Dedication and man hours are key but knowing where to look is the real deal-cincher. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice, Paris is a great place to shop for pre-loved clothes that tell a tale. Its streets are inundated with emporiums housing everything from decades-old Prada jackets to unbranded, inconspicuous ‘mom jeans’. Consider these the best vintage shops in the French capital.
Vintage Desir: carefree attitude and classic fabrics
It’s the carefree attitude and constant rotation of new product that makes Vintage Desir in Marais so charismatic. Crammed rails, unorderly cardboard boxes and walkways so slim you have to pass through single-file mean it feels busy even without anyone in it so visit during the week to avoid a frenzied shopping experience. Men’s and women’s fashion is stocked here as well as accessories and jewellery. Jeans are priced at approximately 10 euros a pair and retro leather jackets cost around 50 euros. If classic fabrics are your vice then prepare to be tempted - you might just leave with a whole ‘new’ wardrobe.
Address: 32 Rue des Rosiers, 75004.
Thanx god I’m a VIP: one of the most visually pleasing shops
Unlike most vintage boutiques there’s impeccable order behind the doors of Montorgueil’s Thanx God I’m A VIP (TGV). Clothes are arranged in colour blocks and accessories sit inside a locked glass cabinet. In essence, it’s one of the most visually pleasing shops of its kind and this reflects the calibre of product on offer. Luxury labels are of focus and quality is guaranteed. Fendi, YSL and Jil Sander regularly sit nestled in the rails and have earned TGV a strong local following since it first opened its doors in 1994. Its founders place almost as much focus on music as they do clothing and have hosted after-dark DJ events in-store in a bid to celebrate the Parisian fashion and music scenes at once. There’s also an online shopping and global courier service on offer.
Address: 12 rue de lancry, 75010 | Website
Pretty Box: vintage Chanel
If it’s vintage Chanel that you’re looking for then Pretty Box is the destination for you. Initially founded to encourage a less wasteful approach to fashion consumption, it has since become a popular hotspot for locals, tourists and celebrities. Lily Allen and Bella Hadid are among some of the famous faces spotted browsing the rails in the past. It was founded in 2002 by a womenswear fashion industry professional who placed focus on finding the right pieces for re-sale. She was later joined by a menswear specialist with an eye for the unusual and together they present a collection of clothes that reflect their personal style. Head to Rue de Saintonge and make this pre-loved mecca a must-visit.
Address: 46 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 | Website
Chinemachine: from high end designer pieces to high street hand-me-downs
There’s ample personality behind both Chinemachine boutiques - they place emphasis on experience and encourage customers to relax in store, listen to music and interact with the staff as well as rummage through pre-loved clothes. They operate a buy, sell, trade system and welcome everything from high end designer pieces to high street hand-me-downs. It’s no surprise that you can’t go in to a vintage store with an agenda or a list but nowhere is it more apparent than here; what you find from week to week can be so varied it’s like you’ve stepped into a completely different space, but what better reason to plan a return trip?
Address: 100 Rue des Martyrs, 75018 | Website
Kilo Shop: tallying up the cost of each customer’s haul based on its weight
It’s the pricing strategy that sets Kilo Shop aside from its competitors. The clever concept almost makes a game out of the process by colour-coding items and tallying up the cost of each customer’s haul based on its weight. With shops dotted around the city, it’s a wonder there’s enough donated product to fill them, but full they all are. If you’re limiting yourself to visiting one, opt for the two-storey rue de la Verrerie location but if you’re in the mood to rummage why not commit to a Kilo Shop crawl across the city? No two locations are the same and there’s no danger of coming across the same product twice when you’re browsing second hand goods.
Address: 69-71 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 and 125 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 | Website
Freep’star’s: the absolute bargain hunters
The strange but enticing thing about Freep’star’s three boutiques is that they’re all located just a few minutes walk from each other. Perhaps it’s a commitment to the charm of Le Marais or perhaps it’s a logistical move but either way it’s a fun trail to follow. One for the absolute bargain hunters, there’s a 1 euro bin overflowing with goodies but visit on a quiet day if you want free reign as things can get quite manic at the weekend.
Address: 61 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 | Website
Words: Sarah Leigh Bannerman