Dress Like the French: A Guide to Vintage Shopping in Paris

Conde Nast Traveler
Photographer: Marc Piasecki/FilmMagic

The Kiliwatch store in Paris. Close

The Kiliwatch store in Paris.

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Photographer: Marc Piasecki/FilmMagic

The Kiliwatch store in Paris.

Paris, a city known for its sizable population of bobo (bourgeois-bohème) fashionistas, abounds with vintage boutiques—and I always try to find that one special item to bring home from my time in the City of Light. Here are some of my favorite shops:

Free'P'Star and Kilo Shop

A play on the word fripe, which is French for an article of used clothing, Free'P'Star has expanded from its tiny Marais storefront to two additional locations, each packed with racks of trendy fripes, from cut-off Levis to oversized army jackets. I once found a cute 70s frock for only ten euros. Similarly, the newer Kilo Shop, just down the street from Free'P'Star, sells its wares, naturally, by the kilo. You'll get a much cleaner shopping experience here, with merchandise organized by type. In the market for a mink coat? You'll find that at Kilo Shop, too. Free'P'Star: 20, Rue de Rivoli 75004; Kilo Shop: 69-71, Rue de la Verrerie 75004

Guerrisol

For those who truly enjoy the thrill of the find, look no further than Guerrisol. With four locations in Paris (and more than 20 in Tunisia), these enormous bargain depots, revered by genuine bobos and Tunisian grandmothers alike, carry an abundance of treasures. But you'll have to patiently dig through aisles and bins of clothing. My favorite of the locations is 17, Boulevard Rouchechouard in the colorful Barbès neighborhood. 17, Boulevard Rochechouard 75009

Espace Kiliwatch

An enormous storefront steps from the hip pedestrian Rue Montorgeuil in central Paris, Espace Kiliwatch has long been a mainstay for vintage fashion devotees. I'm always drawn to the particularly impressive selection of ladies' boots, as well as the large section featuring up-and-coming designers (for when the immense cache of retro clothing becomes overwhelming). There's a huge selection of men's clothing, too, plus a bookstore with the latest in art and design anthologies. Try not to be intimidated by the impossibly cool Kiliwatch employees. 64, Rue Tiquetonne 75002

Odetta

I'd be remiss not to mention Odetta. Those seeking classic accessories will do well to visit this chic boutique offering designer vintage clothing, jewelry, shoes—even furniture. Considering the quality of its carefully selected inventory, Odetta's prices are surprisingly reasonable. 76, Rue des Tournelles 75003

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