Thousands of people in France are signing up to a Rien de Neuf (nothing new) challenge, which involves trying not to buy any new products and instead re-using and exchanging items and buying second-hand. So, what are the alternatives to buying new in France?
The Rien de Neuf organisation is aiming to get 100,000 people involved in 2019, and nearly 17,000 participants have signed up through the website so far. The objective of the project is to save resources, reduce carbon and send a message to political and economic leaders. The website allows you sign up to the challenge and has a tracker where you can input how many items you have avoided buying new, and see your success over the year. It also offers advice for alternative ways to find items you need. Here are some of ways you could participate in the nothing new challenge in France:
Visit your Friperie
Friperies are second hand shops, similar to charity shops in the UK which mainly focus on the resale of clothing, and where you may find some vintage treasures. Often you can also pick children’s toys, books and other small items.
Mend and Sew
Once buying new items is taken out of the equation you may find yourself keen to mend and maintain your existing possessions. A little effort with glue, a sewing kit, a lick of paint or a bit of polish may perk up your old favourites. But, if there is an item that is too complicated to fix yourself, websites like Repair Cafe will help you find a shop that can do it for you.
Head to a local vide-grenier or brocante
In France, vide-grenier season usually gets under way in spring. The vide-grenier (literally translated as emptying the attic,) is the French equivalent of the British car boot sale. They can range in size depending on where they are held and how much interest there is and there will be variety of items from mirrors, to tyres, to plants, as well as street food to keep you going. A brocante is a similar event with more of antiques-based focus. There will be more on vide-greniers and how to make the most of them, in the upcoming April 2019 issue of Living France.
More on living in France
Share and exchange
Why buy an object for yourself if you are only going to use it once and then have it sit in a corner gathering dust? If it is a book you need, of course you can head to the local bibliothèque. For other items, website smiile.com can help you connect with people in your local area and see who might be able to lend or exchange tools, gardening equipment, computer cables etc. Website, allovoisins.com is a similar site with more of a focus on exchanging services i.e. pet sitting and shelf fitting, as well as exchanging goods. While, mytroc.fr allows people to barter and exchange items with other users further afield.