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Recycled arts & crafts

Where to convert your junk into artisanal jewels

Buy, chuck, buy, chuck - such is the vicious circle of consumerism, destroying the environment as it eats up your money. Enter Paris's ressourceries, or recycling outlets, whose mission it is to break this pattern by accepting your unwanted items and turning them into artisanal goods. Striking an enticing middle ground between car boot sales, vintage boutiques and recycling plants, they've triggered a mini-revolution in Parisian retail, proving that there's treasure to be found in trash. Read on for our pick of the lot...

Bric-à-Brac Riquet

Recommended

A fabulous bric-a-brac store with low prices and excellent taste, this place was a gamble by the Emmaüs Défi anti-poverty charity that is really paying off. Nearly a hundred previously unemployed people work the huge site, which is only open on Saturdays. The former market space has lost none of its character, now encompassing an area for furniture, a corner for games and books and changing rooms made out of butcher’s fridges. The prices are adapted to the clientele, with day-to-day items and basic furniture at giveaway rates for local families and high quality vintage furniture and clothing...

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19th arrondissement

La Petite Rockette

Recommended

’70s ties for €0.50, skirts for €2 and coats for €5 – La Petite Rockette makes living cheaply easy. A venue for locals who prefer to give things a new life rather than throw them away, the association that runs the store also lays on a range of activities as well as an enthusiastic welcome from its workers and volunteers. A former artist’s squat, the new car boot sale-shop-exhibition space has kept in touch with its origins – also on offer are dance workshops, yoga, sewing classes and the popular ‘Tri Tes Doigts’ creative recycling session for 3-12 years olds. La Petite Rockette collects everything that people donate...

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11th arrondissement

Studio-Carton, Ma ressourcerie

Recommended

A hop and a skip away from the dwarfing mall on la Place d’Italie, this secretive little den offers an altogether more interesting shopping experience. The family-run Studio-Carton operates on the simple premise that trash can be turned into treasure with a little imagination.The idea is that you bring unwanted items – belts, bike tyres – out of which a team of resident artisans then build chairs, jewellery, furniture, whatever. These are then put on sale alongside ‘conventional’ second-hand items (we picked up a handful of retro vinyls for €3 apiece, and a dress for a paltry €4). As well as yielding some uniquely charming curios...

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13th arrondissement

Recycl'ère

This agreeable little post-industrial boutique offers up a range of elegant accessories and idiosyncratic curios, all centred on an urban theme. Line, the effervescent Canadian owner, fabricates most of the goods herself out of recycled materials: old flags, used tyres, anything. Ask her to show you how to fold up a 400m­­2 sheet of canvas, or how she fabricated the shop counter out of tin cans, and she’ll certainly oblige. Alternatively, peruse her range of sturdy, attractive bags (€70) and suitcases (€150). Those on smaller budgets aren’t left out – €10 will stretch to a cute purse made out of an old Vélib air chamber...

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18th arrondissement

L'Interloque

In a huge space near the 18th arrondissement town hall, l’Interloque manages to fill every corner. You’re not very likely to unearth any valuable treasures here (apart from the smiles of the staff), but you will find plenty of car boot classics: DVDs, crockery, home electrics and cheesy 12-inch records – plus, there's a bike repair and resale point. The labelling of items is inconsistent, so feel free to bargain if the price isn’t displayed. Given the opportunity, prices tend towards those of a second-hand store rather than a car boot – €6 for four glasses, €20 for a hi-fi, €12 for a lemon squeezer or €10 for a cotton t-shirt...

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18th arrondissement

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