Thrift Stores in France: The Ultimate Guide
Are you searching for thrift stores in France? Not sure where to look or what they are called? Then, I’ve got the guide for you!
I love thrift shopping and relish a good bargain hunt. Not only is it fun, but I also love that it’s part of a sustainable lifestyle.
It’s amazing what you can find second hand–I think the French often prefer modern decor, so there are a lot of great vintage and antique items for sale.
Furnishing my home in France has been challenging at times. However, it has also been the most enjoyable aspect of making my French house a home (after yeeeeears of renovation).
I’ve learned a lot, and I’m happy to pass on that knowledge here.
Do they have thrift stores in France?
Why, yes they do!
More and more thrift stores are popping up as shopping second hand has become quite popular in France.
Not only is it economical (you can’t beat the bargains!), but it is also a great way to be eco-friendly and sustainable.
What are second-hand shops called in France?
There are a variety of places where you can find used goods, and an equal variety of French terms are used.
Look for the following French words or terms when you are out and about (or to use in a Google search):
Antiques in France
Brocante and antique stores are usually more pricey than thrift stores, but I find it’s a lot of fun to look, and I occasionally find something not too expensive.
- Brocante (bric-a-brac) — small shops that sell items best described as “vintage”, but you can find true antiques as well
- Antiquités (antiques) — this generally means you will find nicer antiques at a higher cost than some of the other sources
Flea Markets in France
- Marchés aux puces (flea market) — there are several famous ones in Paris, but you can find them throughout France
- Vide grenier (attic sale) — similar to a flea market or car-boot sale–includes a little bit of anything and everything (but usually smaller items and clothes rather than furniture)
Thrift & Consignment Shops in France
- Troc (barter/swap) — thrift and/or consignment store where you can find a variety of household goods, occasionally clothes, and usually a large selection of furniture
- Recyclerie (a place to recycle stuff) — yep, another term for thrift store; has a little bit of everything (you never know what you will find)
- Vide grenier permanent (permanent store for an attic sale) — a store full of individual booths of random household items, clothes, books, etc. for very cheap prices; franchise stores: Au Vide Grenier & Occaz’Store
- Magasin or Boutique de charité (charity shop); example: Secours Populaire (people’s welfare) — this is a nationwide association in France; they have thrift shops / charity shops where they sell donated items to fund public assistance. Another popular association is Emmaüs.
Vintage Clothing in France
- Friperie — a thrift store or booth at a market that sells second-hand clothing — most for under 10 euros a piece
- Ding Fring–a chain of clothing thrift stores throughout France
Although there are a few other terms out there, the ones above are the most commonly used in regards to second-hand shops.
- Chiner — to bargain hunt
- chineur/chineuse — bargain hunter
- Occasion — used; sometimes in store names or signs; example: if you want used furniture, look for meubles d’occasion
Thrift Stores That Also Sell Online
I find that this is the best of both worlds: brick and mortar shops that list their items online.
You can browse what they have for sale online before going to the actual store.
This can save you some time and give you an idea of pricing.
Although, I think it’s always more fun to look in person!
Are there online second-hand stores in France?
Yep! And some really good ones too!
Online Shopping (Only)
My favorite is LeBonCoin, which is similar to Craigslist in the USA. In fact, I get a daily alert for new listings of household items within 20 kilometers of my house.
You can buy pretty much anything on LeBonCoin. Generally, you can negotiate prices and go see the items in person if you want beforehand. Conversely, you can have most items shipped to you if you prefer.
I bought a really nice low buffet (Louis XIII/Louis treize style) with a marble top for 35 euros. We went to the house to look at it and paid the owner in cash.
Besides LeBonCoin, there are some similar notable websites that include Selency (available in English), Lucky Find, and Youzd.
If you want more high-end pieces, Design Market is focused on designer furniture.
They all have a wide range of goods for sale but tend to be a bit more pricey and not as popular as LeBonCoin.
Best Stores for Used Furniture
I have had really good luck thrift shopping for furniture. The quality of the pieces you can find at a troc are truly amazing sometimes.
Of course, there’s a lot of junk too, but that’s part of the game when you’re bargain hunting!
Troc.com has been really great. I love that I can look online before traveling to a store because there aren’t any stores near my village.
Since we currently have to rent a car and/or a truck for those excursions, it’s good to know what the possibilities are ahead of time.
At Troc.com, prices vary from store to store, so that’s another good reason to look online before visiting.
Best Thrift Stores for Small Home Goods
For smaller items like dishes and decorative items, there are lots of great options.
Secours Populaire stores can be found throughout France. These are the closest I’ve seen to American thrift stores.
Vide greniers, recycleries, and LeBoinCoin are also great for household goods. I find amazing things all the time.
When we first were able to stay in our house and had nothing in it, I was able to get a couple of dining chairs for 3 euros a piece, so we’d have a place to sit.
It was also handy to get some utensils and kitchen linens for super cheap.
The best part? The kitchen towels are just what you think of when imagining beautiful French linens. Score!
How to Find Thrift Stores in France
The easiest way to find places for thrift shopping is to do an online search. One thing I have found is that you will get different lists depending on your search terms even though the places are similar in nature.
Use the words in the section above for your search. Be aware, though, that the information online is not always accurate. I suggest calling beforehand to check for hours and availability.
Of course, if you know any locals, make sure you ask them for recommendations too! Not all places are online.
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Until next time…