Jennifer was on a quest to find the best vintage clothes in the Marais. As soon as we were planning the trip, Jennifer began researching names and locations of vintage clothing stores. Then, she decided to narrow it to the Marais. With that limitation, she and I could map out the stores and create a route for the day, with some culture and a snack or two along the way.
Jennifer is an expert at vintage clothing and has a collection that rivals the best shops anywhere. Whether in New York, Miami or London, Jennifer has found exceptional quality at vintage clothing stores. Along with clothes, she shops handbags, jewelry, shoes, luggage, and hats.
On the trip in January, Jennifer packed 3 vintage berets that she sported jauntily in our evenings out. Also in her suitcase, she packed vintage dresses from Yves St. Laurent and Givenchy, vintage Gucci heels, vintage clutch, and bags full of vintage earrings and jewelry. (She was stunning each night!) Her motto is save for something spectacular and timeless, and do not waste money on trends at retail stores. With that goal in mind, she set our mission for the day of shopping at vintage clothes in the Marais, and we were off.
Start at Saint Paul for Vintage Clothes in the Marais
First, we took the Métro up to Saint Paul station. After walking past some of the beautiful foods offered at shops along the way, we arrived at Tilt on the rue de Rivoli. Jennifer went in to check out our first shop of vintage clothes in the Marais. A few minutes later, she returned to the sidewalk without making a purchase. Her assessment: not high end, not really vintage, more of a resale shop. Nice sales people that were helpful. At the end of the day, she added that Tilt is not crammed and jammed like the ones on the rue des Rosiers (more to come about those).
Fit in a Little Culture and Some Great Food
From Tilt, we walked to the Picasso Museum and saw his personal collection on the top floors. Then, we walked around the corner and ordered crêpes to go from Breizh Café annex – next door to the sit-down restaurant.
We walked across the street and had a picnic at one of the tables in the park behind/in front of the Picasso Museum. Along with our to go boxes, the cutlery and packaging were all biodegradable. (An example of Paris really trying to be green.) This was a completely perfect way to enjoy a delicious Breton crêpe in the Marais!
Bio c’ Bon
Now that we were fortified, we could start our shopping in earnest. But, Paris has many diversions, even if it is a grocery store. On our walk, we passed a store, Bio c’ Bon and I went in to get a bottle of water. It turned out to be an amazing store of 3 floors of only organic products. From brimming meat cases to stunning produce, to everything else in a regular grocery store – all organic. A great find – and they are all over Paris. Add it to your list.
Place de la République
We kept going up to near the Place de la République to find the shop, Nice Piece. It was supposed to open at 12:30 pm, and we got there right at 12:30. We looked in the window for a few minutes. Jennifer said it looked good and worth checking out. We waited, then walked up the street and looked at Place de la République, took some photos, then back again. Still not open.
Onward to High-End Vintage
Time was ticking, so we walked over to the end of rue Tournelles. Two vintage stores are down the block from each other: Odetta and Fabri & Co.
From the outside, each one looks like a high-end boutique – small, tasteful, luxe. Jennifer and John were in Fabri & Co. so long that I was sure Jennifer was making a purchase. Finally, they came onto the street without a bag. But, Jennifer was very impressed. She said the shop owner was super friendly, high-end vintage, the quality was great, clothes were in great condition, lots of beautiful jackets and matching skirts or pants from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Also, handbags and some shoes.
Next, they went into Odetta and did not spend as much time. Jennifer said it was extremely high end with a salesman to match. The shop is a sparse boutique with a well-edited collection. Clothes are beautifully made, along with handbags and jewelry, all in great condition.
As we made our way down the street, we saw a café and stopped in. It was Chez Janou. A café with a super-great Parisian feeling. A beautiful rounded zinc bar, a friendly bartender, a lively crowd and an excellent looking menu! We ordered a celebratory drink – Jennifer a glass of Champagne, John a kir and me a glass of red wine. Maybe you wonder why celebratory? It is Paris and that is reason enough to celebrate!!! Plus, Jennifer was feeling especially optimistic about our next stops. After our pick-me-ups, we started out again.
More Beautiful History
On the way to the next store for vintage clothes in the Marais, we had a few stops to make. First, we walked in and around the Place des Vosges. We sat on a bench for a few minutes admiring the amazing architecture and calming square. Even without any leaves on the trees, it remains one of the most beautiful squares in Paris.
Then we made our way down the narrow streets to the corner of rue des Rosiers and rue des Ecouffes – falafel central of the Jewish quarter. John had been waiting for a snack here. He got a falafel stuffed pita and we all had a bite of the falafel – deee-licious. It is always a great place to go on each visit to Paris for a reasonably priced and delicious meal (or snack). When making plans, remember that most of these restaurants are closed on Saturdays in observance of the Sabbath.
While we were walking for a falafel snack, Jennifer saw a second-hand store, the Kilo Shop, and went in. Jennifer’s assessment: some vintage clothes, fur coats, men’s and women’s jackets, shirts, and jeans. Minimal accessories and the store was packed with things. Here, shoppers buy by weight – an interesting idea. Later comment – Kilo Shops are all over Paris with thrift-store quality.
More Like Thrift Stores
Another find was right off of the falafel corner. Vintage Desir (or Coiffure – looks like a leftover sign from a previous haircutting place) is a second-hand shop and Jennifer went in. Her assessment: slightly more upscale thrift shop quality. Much more wear to the clothes, both men’s and women’s clothes, everything from jackets, to bins of scarves, purses, hats. Some hidden gems. Kind of a free-for-all inside with the shoppers.
Free’P’Star was the last store of vintage clothes in the Marais on Jennifer’s list. It is in the next block from Le BHV with a Kilo Shop next door. Jennifer’s assessment: claustrophobic, free-for-all, thrift store grade, knock-off purses by the load. Once she got in, she had a hard time getting out. It is two stores, one across the street from each other. I only looked in the window and it was a mob scene.
Place de l’Hôtel de Ville
After the raucousness of Free’P’Star, that was it for the day. We walked to the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, satisfied our craving for a Nutella Crêpe, saw Yellow Vests marching down the rue de Rivoli, then headed back to the hotel for a nap. No purchases, but Jennifer took us on a great tour and we found out a lot about vintage clothes in the Marais!
Take a tour of vintage clothes in the Marais, but add some spice and spend the day. Here is a map with directions for this walking tour of vintage clothes, history, art, and food.
8 rue de Rivoli
5 rue de Thorigny
109 rue Vielle du Temple
76 rue Charlot
Fabri & Co.
82 rue Tournelles
76 rue Tournelles
2 rue Roger Verlomme
locations around Paris
32 rue des Rosiers
Florence Kahn Bakery
24 Rue des Ecouffes
61 rue de la Verrerie