The many Brico’s of France

  The Google translation of BRICO = DIY.  I fancy myself a “DIY’er” so when we moved in I took it upon myself to tackle the little fix-it jobs around the apartment.  I had no idea was how difficult it would be to:
1. Find all the items I needed in French;
2. Find the correct store which had those items (There is also a lot of overlap of what stores have so it’s difficult to know where to go for what type of item (lights versus nails verus trashcans versus appliances).
3. Figure out what the best price was.  We all know that a little hardware store in Cole Valley or Queen Anne is going to price for convenience and Paris has that down in spades.  Nevertheless, I wanted to be an educated and frugal shopper and know when it was worth to spend more for the convenience and not just because I was being lazy.

What ensued next was the maze of the BRICO’s store of France.
Mr. Bricolage (I got yelled at here by a sales person for returning items I had bought that morning.  She said “why don’t you make up your mind before you buy!”)  I had no rebuttal and just left with my money.

Hybrid Stores — DIY, kitchen/bath/closet remodeling and home furnishings (usually lighting, baskets and even picture framing)
Leroy Merlin: This is where I bought my first 10L of paint.  It’s an enormous store in the heart of the 3rd Arrondissement.

Castorama: I was watched at this store by a security guard as I tested out a new metric measuring tape.  Apparently you have to ask permission for even touching those!

Home Furnishings
La Redoute: (online only but there may be a store somewhere in France — I posted about them earlier and their archaic shipping practices)

Conforama: I have not bought from this store but from what I understand it’s a step or two up from IKEA.

Darty: I felt the most comfortable navigating this store as it was grouped by appliance type.  It was scaled down Circuit City with actual helpful employees.  

This store gets its own heading because they have everything.   Scarves, beautiful clothes, shampoo, art supplies, cooking gear, appliances, matresses, hardware equipment, paint, fountain pens, closet organizing. But you pay the price!  I bought my new hairdryer there and granted I had fantastic customer service and was allowed to plug them in and try, it was 15€ more than at Darty.

In closing, this post may not be useful to those comfortably living in the States with a Home Depot or Target nearby but if you happen to be heading to Paris for any extended period of time, you may want to bookmark this post for any repair emergencies while traveling!

ps, I’m still looking for cheesecloth to poach some fish!

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One Response to The many Brico’s of France

  1. Trish Johnson says:

    I’ll mail you some cheesecloth. Love Mom Johnson

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