1) Free 'P' Star
There are two of these in Paris and they're both in le Marais, the uber hip gay area. My favourite was Rue de la Verrerie because there was an awful lot more space. It's a vintage shop plain and simple, with a great selection of everything. One of the many wonderfull things about it is that it's open till 11pm during the week, just in case you realise you've absolutely nothing to wear just before you go out. Never once did i enter this place without buying something. It's ridiculously good value. They have a great €3 box that is nothing short of a treasure chest. My only warning is to avoid it at the weekend. These are not big shops and they will literally be packed with people trying things on in the middle of the floor. There is only one changing room, so dress appropriately.
Top €3 and skirt €5. Playsuit €3 and belt €5.
Free 'P' Star, 8 Rue Ste-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie, 75004 and 11 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004, Paris.
Now, as Free 'P' Star is a fairly conventional vintage shop, Guerrisol is not. They don't have charity shops per se in France so this is the next best thing. And, unlike Free 'P' Star, they are all on the outskerts of the city. They are very large warehouse style shops crammed with old clothes, shoes and bags. It's a very different experience from shopping elsewhere as many people shop here out of necessity as opposed to just wanting to find a fabulous bargain. I used to frequently run into the bum who begged outside the bakery up there, lovely guy. It is however the place to find the real bargains. Pair of lovely shoes for €1.50 and gorgeous shorts for €2, thanks very much.
Navy dress €2 and shoes €1.50. Shorts €2 and top €2.
Guerrisol, 31 avenue de Clichy and (my favourite one) 17 bis boulevard de Rochechouart, 75009, Paris.
3) Puces de Montreuil
French markets are famous and for good reason. I am conviced that this place is where vintage shop owners come to buy up all the amazing leather bags. It's not a particularly pretty market but it is well worth a visit if you have a bit of time. It's on the periphery of the city, as with all the large markets but it only takes about 20 minutes on the metro from the centre of the city. I would advise everyone to avoid the more famous Puces de St Ouen because it is just enormous and as with many of the markets, just a little too ghetto for my liking. Just remember, be prepared to haggle if you want a real bargain. I have an awful habit of getting very excited when i see something i like and destroy all chances of getting a bargain.
Both bags €8 each.
Skirt worn as dress €2 and tassle belt €3.
Puces de Montreuil, Port de Montreuil, 75020, Paris.
4) Troc en Stock
Now, this is serious stuff. Depot ventes are where wealthy Parisian women dispose of their clothes when the season is over. It's just like the old swap shops that used to be around Dublin, they leave the clothes in and take away a percentage of the profit when they're re-sold. Chanel pumps for €100, pristine condition Marni dress for a measly €200. If you just love designer clothes but do not have the budget for it then these are just perfect. Not to mention the fact that they are all over Paris, so there is plently for everyone. My favourite is Troc en Stock, which conveniently enough, i could see from my bedroom window.
Pjama dress with suede elbow patches €20 and hat €10 from Montreuil.
Troc en Stock, 6 Rue Clauzel, 75009, Paris.
I never actually bought anything here because it was a little out of my price range. That's not to say it's expensive but, i was a poor student after all. My favourite thing about this place is the layout. The clothes are organised by colour and hang on rails around the room. The shop is how i imagine my dream home - my bed surrounded by all my clothes neatly arranged around me. It is part of No Good Store on Rue des Martyrs which is a concept store/gallery. It threatened to close down while i was there but luckily is still going strong.
Wochdom, 72 rue Condorcet, 75009, Paris.
For even more great shops in Paris, look here.