The vintage stores of Paris are all located in the fashionable district of the Marais, with the occasional shop perhaps in one of the other fashion or luxury goods ‘quartiers’ (Blvd. Haussmann, Place Vendome / Rue Rivoli, Blvd. St Germain, and of course Rue de Montaigne/ Champs-Elysees). If the Marais (literally the ‘swamp’) were located in New York, this would be the Village, Soho, or Tribeca. However, when vintage shopping in Paris, the largest concentration of vintage stores can be found in one street. The street goes really from one street into the other, a street which begins as the Rue du Roi de Sicile, but which ends up as the Rue de la Verrerie. Your best bet to get there is by Metro on the Central Line 1, and get off at the St Paul stop.
A vintage man’s fashion tour through this street would start at the Rue Roi de Sicile with a cozy and quaint shop under the name ‘King of the Frip’. In fact, the word FRIP in French stands for VINTAGE and up to this day, even after asking several French natives, I still do not know what it means or where the word comes from, and its origins to remain shrouded in mystery. But that is France. Clear answers you will never have. Part of the charm but it takes getting used to.
All the vintage stores mix things for men and women, and I have not found one vintage store just for men. That being said, each store the sections for men and for women are divided, although sometimes the divisions leave it to your imagination to find where the women’s section stops and the men’s section begins or vice versa.
I was able to buy a beautiful Italian Fedora at King of the Frip, a hat which clearly had been put on the wrong stack of hats, because I only paid 10 euros for it (original retail price after checking turned out to be like 175 euros). Wow, now I can actually afford to start a Fedora collection. And I can finally look like Indiana Jones.
Then you can walk down the narrow street (a back street to the lesser well known part of the Rue Rivoli in fact) and right when the name of the same street changes into Rue de la Verrerie, on your right you will see the FRIP’IRIUM. Again that obscure word FRIP, and this time as part of a larger name which in English would undoubtedly be Friperium. In the ‘etalage’, the window, the right side is being used for men’s vintage, the left side for women’s. The place looks better at night by the way.
A little further down on the right in the same street you will come to a must-see curiosity shop, the irreplaceable and irrepressible VINTAGE BAR, where no clothes are sold but luxury accessories in all its incredible wild shapes and forms. All vintage, nothing new. Of course the best and beautiful old brands for women feature in the two level curiosity cabinet (most shops have basement in Paris): Dior, Chanel, YSL, etc. and some accessories you see you would never actually believe to exist for the brands that made them,. For men indeed there is a small section with vintage accessory items which is going to make you feel like a young Alain Delon or a Jean-Paul Belmondo in one of those flight jackets – mostly sunglasses and other items from the fifties and the sixties. But hey why not grab a vintage watch to go with it. Do not pass by this shop because it looks like a Punk Rock store from the outside. Go inside. It is ‘très fàçonnable’.
TO BE CONTINUED with Vintage Shopping in Paris Part 2.
Posted By: Sandro