Walking into vintage store Free’p’star can be overwhelming for some, thrilling for others, welcoming for others still. If you fall into the latter, the moment you walk into the store you’ll find a strange comfort in the smell, the piles of clothes, even the feel of other shoppers pushing against one another in the attempt to find something special. Ready to dig through the enormous piles of gently, or not so gently, used clothing, head towards the back of the store, up the rickety stairs that lead to what seems like a precariously positioned loft area where everything you will find in this section to be priced at a sweet 1€ per item.
For those less enchanted by the prospect of rummaging around unorganized piles of dresses, pants, shirts, and coats (yes, the store even offers some winter coats up to the 1€ section), it’s best to stay on the first floor, where things are a bit more nicely laid out on racks that run through the middle of the space. Although be aware, the selection in this part of the store runs a bit more expensive, with prices starting around 10€.
The selection really varies on the time of year, with heavy winter jackets, thick sweaters, and polyester slacks obviously appearing in the winter months, and piles upon piles of vintage Levi’s jean shorts arriving in the summer.
Free’p’star is located in the heart of Le Marais, one of the trendiest areas in Paris. The neighborhood is filled with small winding streets lined with couture boutiques, pop-up shops, cafés, art galleries, and of course vintage stores. Known officially as the Jewish quarter, Le Marais is one of the oldest sections of Paris, and was included within the fortified walls of the city from 1240 on. It is located on the Right Bank, and spreads across the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. Le Marais is also known as the center of LGBT culture in Paris.
There are plenty of vintage stores to choose from in Le Marais, but few have managed to maintain the cool balance between a second hand charity shop and a well curated vintage boutique like Free’p’star has achieved. The name comes from the French term friperie, meaning thrift shop. There are 3 locations around Paris, so it’s up to you to pick your favorite, but beginning at their 52 rue de la Verrerie is a good start.