Five addresses to share
A paradise for memorable gifts, La Débrouille Compagnie is high up in Ménilmontant, looking down on chic Paris. Halfway between contemporary design and artisanal crafts, everything here is an escape from mass-produced objects, using recycled materials in inventive, stylish ways that change the ways you think about consumption.
It might look swanky, but Bis, opened in Boulevard du Temple in early 2012, offers reasonably priced used clothing in a chic and contemporary setting (despite its airy, New York loft style interior, this is a second hand store). It's also strong on social engagement, with 12 of its 16 positions being offered on one-year contracts to people on job schemes (drivers, sorters, etc.).
The Oxfam concept was imported into France in 2007 with the opening of its first store in Lille. Since then, two further stores have been opened in Paris, one in rue Daguerre the other in rue St Ambrose. The pretty, apple-green shopfronts set the tone for these decidedly activist stores where people donate their books, CDs and DVDs, old clothes and a host of other pre-loved items.
Merci, Paris's latest concept shopping sensation, is housed in an elaborately reconfigured 19th-century fabric factory. Inside, three loft-like floors heave with furniture, jewellery, stationery, fashion, household products, childrenswear and a haberdashery. That's not all. In a move that takes the trend for retailer responsibility to a new level, this most generous of general stores gives all its profits to charity.
Probably the city's largest supplier of eyewear to bearded hipsters, Jimmy Fairly lauched first as a website (in 2011) before opening a store in the Marais in May 2012. Riding a wave of blogger enthusiasm, this Web 3.0 optician offers around 30 retro style designs, produced in Italy. What's more, their 'Buy one give one' model means that for every pair of glasses sold, Jimmy Fairly gives a brand new pair to someone in need.