There are hundreds of vintage stores around Paris, but you can save time and taxi fare by focusing on three main areas: the Marais, Palais Royale, and Left Bank. Start out in the northern Marais at Quidam de Revel (by appointment only), where sixties designers like Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin still reign. For a minimum of $250, the store will rent you a vintage designer outfit—a forties Balmain gown, say—for a night on the town or a weekend away at a country château.
In the Palais Royale, Didier Ludot spreads his impressive vintage collection throughout three shops: one for accessories and ready-to-wear Dior and Givenchy; one dedicated to museum-quality haute couture by Vionnet, Schiaparelli, and Madame Grès; and one, called La Petite Robe Noire, for the perfect little black dress. Just a few doors down, Gabrille Geppert (31-34 Galerie Montpensier; 42-61-53-52) is beloved by the fashion crowd for its well-edited selection of vintage Chanel and Louis Vuitton accessories (from $500) as well as cheaper finds from unknown designers.
Tiany Chambard (32 rue Jacob) is a jewel box of a store on the Left Bank, filled with Lucite and Bakelite jewelry from the forties through the eighties. Nearby, former fashion model Anouschka sells pristine vintage couture right from her apartment (6 avenue du Coq; 48-74-37-00; by appointment only). Les 3 Marches de Catherine B has an enormous collection of Chanel and Hermès clothing and accessories, including a selection of over 50 Kelly bags ranging in price from $2,500 to $6,000.