It’s good for the wallet and good for the planet, as second-hand products are cheaper than new, and – in extending the lifespan of a product – you’re helping the planet, too, by cutting down the number of products being thrown away.
Today, a number of online and high street retailers have cottoned-on to the idea that second-hand shopping is increasingly popular. Amazon has its Amazon Warehouse, Vinted is popular among individuals for buying and selling clothes, Troc is a well-known second-hand retailer, Casino-owned C Discount offers a range of refurbished, pre-loved products, as do almost all the mobile phone and electrical goods retailers.
But where else could you go, and maybe help do some further good by helping a worthy cause?
The term literally means ‘empty attic’, and it’s basically a sales event that offers anyone who goes a chance to get their hands on some serious bargains, from clothes and shoes, to toys, small electricals and heaven knows what else.
Think jumble / car boot sale with added French style. You’ll usually see signs advertising them from late spring to early autumn.
Brocantes/Braderies/marchés aux puces
As well as vides greniers, private individuals can sell items they own at brocantes, braderies, or marchés aux puces – basically, these are all second-hand goods sales, albeit with some slight distinctions.
A brocante is slightly more upmarket vide grenier, and often includes furniture sales, so you may be able to snap up a sofa bargain. It’s also a common term for a shop that sells vintage or second-hand furniture, crockery, or household items
A braderie, on the other hand, is an annual street market. Lille hosts the most famous, but plenty of smaller towns hold braderies – expect to see independent traders selling a few wares at knockdown prices.
A Marché aux puces, meanwhile, is a flea market. You may have to rummage, but there will be second-hand gold in them thar piles of junk.
A charitableassociation founded by French Catholic Priest Abbe Pierre that is, frankly, beloved in France. There are around 175 Emmaus permanent brocante centres across France, where you’ll find all sorts of second-hand furniture, electricals, bicycles, clothes – basically, just about anything you could wish for – for next to nothing.
Emmaus is online, too, at Label Emmaus, and has a clothing retail offshoot in the ever-popular Ding Fring stores.
Le Bon Coin
Le Bon Coin – literally, the good corner – has become arguably the online reference for classified adverts since it was founded in 2006.
You can buy pretty much anything on the site: property, furniture, cars, clothes, telephones, toys, or bicycles – and it’s very simple to use.
A large search bar allows you to filter what you see, according to product, location, price range, size. Then, once you’ve found what you’re looking for, contact the seller via a secure messaging system, or make an offer.
You can even pay for the goods online using the site’s secure payment system. Alternatively, you can pay the seller direct if you agree to meet to finalise the purchase.
Cheaper still than Le Bon Coin, there’s Geev which allows individuals to offer their unwanted products free to a good home. Watch out, too, for similar sites, such as Donnons.org , Recupe.net or Toutdonner.com – who knows? You may find something.
Like Le Bon Coin, you can filter your search – but you must first specify your address. And be aware that there’s no option online for having goods delivered. You have to meet face to face.
And don’t forget eBay, which has been running for more than 25 years, and sells its fair share of second-hand goods, with a 30-day return guarantee.
This site intends to offer more secure, reliable items. Similar to Le Bon Coin, the things you can sell and purchase are broad reaching, but the primary difference is that in order to access this website you must be recommended by other people who are already members. This is meant to make transactions more reliable. You can also buy and offer services, such as babysitting and childcare, on Gens de Confiance.
While Vinted is more geared toward buying and selling used clothes and shoes – with a broad selection of popular and vintage brands – you can also find some household items too.