Vintage Paris

Take a trip down memory boulevard with our guide to the Paris of yesteryear, ranging from vintage shopping to classic cinema



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It's been something of a vintage year for vintage: judging by the bars and fashion boutiques that have appeared this year, the Parisian appetite for old-school cool is bigger than ever. Magazines are talking about it, hipsters are dressing in it, galleries are exhibiting it. Needless to say, the vintage craze hasn't passed us by, and we've been busy compiling a feature covering the very best places in Paris to get in on the retro action – whether by hunting for second-hand garments, buying a rotary phone dial that you'll never use, or heading to one of Paris's centuries-old eateries to sample a classic recipe concoted in a bygone era. To put this all in context, we've also come up with a list of our ten favourite old films set in the capital, and a collection of before-and-after photos of Parisian locations to help you decide whether 'vintage' Paris really was better than the city of today. So without further ado, don your sepia goggles and scroll down...

Paris then and now

Gaze at the bureaucratic monstrosity of the Tour Montparnasse, or the chaotic vortex of Citroëns that is Etoile, and you'll find it hard to suppress a little hiccup of nostalgia for the Paris of old – the city of quaint neighbourhood markets and horse-drawn carts familiar from belle époque art. Yet, as we all know, memory is an unreliable beast; and so, to determine once and for all whether the 20th century has been kind to the capital, we're presenting you with cold hard photographic evidence. We've mucked about with our cameras and our HTML to give you 16 pairs of matching photos of different spots in Paris – just toggle between the old and the new by sliding the red bar in the middle. So, which do you prefer: colour or sepia?

Vintage shopping

Retro interiors

  1. 25 Rue de Sambre-et-Meuse, 10e
  1. 18 Rue Jean Macé, 11e
  1. 23 Rue Faidherbe, 11e
  1. 40 Rue Riquet, 10e
More furniture

Old-school attire

  1. 118 Rue Oberkampf, 11e
  1. 29 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 11e
  1. 8 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 4e
  1. 19 Avenue de Clichy, 17e
More clothing

Second-hand bargains

  1. 100 Rue des Martyrs, 18e
  1. 65 Rue Daguerre, 14e
  1. 102 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 6e
  1. 23 Rue des Blancs Manteaux, 4e
More second-hand shopping

Classic gastronomy

A spot of retro décor

  1. 78 Rue Montorgueil, 2e
  1. 6 Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 6e

1903 • Angelina

  • Rated as: 5/5
  1. 226 Rue de Rivoli, 1er
  1. 5 Rue Daunou, 2e

Sample the classic dishes

  1. 15 Quai de la Tournelle, 5e
  1. 115 Rue Saint-Lazare, 8e
  1. 59 Avenue de la Motte-Picquet, 15e

Choucroute at Chez Jenny

  • Rated as: 3/5
  1. 39 Boulevard du Temple, 3e

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