Back in the US I frequently visited my local thrift stores, mainly just to see what was newly stocked and if there was anything interesting. I soon spent less and less time in the clothing section, as I had already built up my wardrobe to a happy place, and I spent more and more time in other departments such as home, shoes, or kitchens. When I travelled Europe I spent a lot of time visiting thrift shops around the continent as well, notably in Copenhagen when I realized I had left my jacket on the plane and June in Copenhagen is the weather equivalent to December in Texas (no joke!).
Anyways, coming to France was no different. I started (re)building my wardrobe and searching for pieces and clothing which would both keep me warm and make me happy to wear. After a while, I started to get a bit bored of the clothing aspect and desired to find yet again the homewares. I had found plenty of shoes, but home goods was the final touch that was missing.
In my search to expand, I came across my first ressourcerie, the Bric-a-Brac Emmaus Defi located in the 104 center in the 19 arrondisement of Paris. This location is the smaller of the two, but I was happy to see at least a few plates and a wider range of items to look at. It was at this store that I learned there was another location just a 5 minute walk away. I innocently went there and what I found was exactly what I had been looking for! A huge location with multiple departments and almost guaranteed to have at least something you are searching for. Since that initial discovery, it’s been easier and easier to find the type of shop I am looking for, which brings me to the whole point of this post today: Ressourceries.
A ressourcerie, sometimes known as “recyclerie“, is — guessing from the roots of the word– a place for resources and using them. It is part of the circular economy to reduce waste by either donating, repairing, or buying (second-hand or “d’occasion“). A ressourcerie is a general term when a shop sells multiple types of items (books, clothings, furniture, and kitchen for example), as opposed to a recyclerie which specializes in one specific type of good (for example, clothing and textile). Ressourceries are also typically non-profit institutions which also help “re-insert” people back into the workforce (if they had been homeless or in a difficult situation before). It’s hard for me to think of any reasons that aren’t a win, it’s really a win-win-win. Reduce your waste, buy cheaper, help multiple good causes. How can you lose in any way??
My Favorite Ressourceries
Emmaus Defi Bric a Brac
My obvious favorite is the first one I ever encountered. It is also probably the biggest within Paris intra-muros (I.e. within the city proper). It is divided into several departments and each department or area there is a a table with a person who will count up and bag your items in exchange for a slip of paper. You’ll go around to each department, each time bagging up your items in exchange for your receipt until you are finished and ready to pay. You go to the “caisse” or the register and pay for all of your items at once. Each slip will get a stamp marking that you paid and then you can return to each table and collect your items. It’s a little strange to do so the first time, but I think it’s a pretty good system considering how easily messy it could become otherwise. LINK
La Ressourcerie l’Alternative (Emmaus)
Right now I live in Paris Centre (comprising of arrondissements 1, 2, 3, 4) and this is the only ressoucerie in the center of Paris, so I will go pretty often just to check. They have a small variety of items ranging from clothing, accessories, shoes, kitchen goods, home linens, decoration, but also a small boutique or “gallery” like area which displays how you can use goods that would otherwise be thrown away to make new things or new art. Last I saw they were using paper and old books to make poufs to sit on. I believe they sometimes hold ateliers (workshops) as well. Product-wise, this probably isn’t the best ressourcerie, but it is definitely the most convenient to go to location-wise. LINK
La Petite Rockette
Located in the 11th arrondisement near the cemetery Pere-Lachaise, this ressoucerie is both eclectic and filled with a cool assortment of items. They also host a variety of ateliers (workshops) and other community events. This shop never fails me! There is always something cool and unique to find here and many items are “prix libre” which means you choose the price! It can be a little awkward at first, but it can be especially useful to those who do not have much to spend. I usually try to think about what I would expect the price to be at another similar shop and pay that. LINK
La Textilerie is techically a recylcerie and it resembles a typically clothing thrift shop more than anything, but what I like about this shop is it also has a section dedicated to sewing and reusing fabric. They have a treasure chest of fabric that has been donated and you can buy a big or small cut of it. They don’t always have amazing selection of fabrics, but sometimes you can find a steal. They also have new fabric for sale, though it is definitely on the pricy side. Additionally, they have some second-hand sewing accessories for sale that you may find just perfect for your next project. LINK
Here I listed out my 4 favorite shops to go to, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out all of them! La Ressoucerie Creative is another shop I loved that was apart of the space “Le Grands Voisins”, but now it is closing and moving to a new location nearby. I’m not sure how it will look, but I’m curious to check it out! LINK
There are of course many ressourceries I have yet to go to, the biggest restraint being the distance. Check out the links in the next section to find the exhaustive list of all ressourceries and recycleries in both Paris and all of Ile-de-France.
Also one last shout out to: Solicycle! It is an organization dedicated to repairing bikes, teaching people how to work on their own bike, and contributing to the circular economy. You can find your local workshop at the link below and go to the location for more information to set up a rendez-vous (appointment) or to get involved. I personally went one day just to use a particular screwdriver and get my kickstand tightened. They helped me on the spot! For larger and more complicated fixes, I recommend going and taking an appointment. LINK
The City Hall of Paris has a web page for you to learn more about the ressourceries around the city, their mission, and where to find them. It is all in french, so make sure you are using the Chrome translate extension (or similar extension in another browser). LINK
Les Joyeux Recyclers also has another list that includes all types of ressourceries and recylceries (organized by type of good sold) in both Paris and Ile-de-France. LINK