Geneva, Switzerland – I must confess; the font of knowledge in our household vis a vis Geneva thrift stores, is my husband. He’s an avid shopper and a true bargain hunter who found several thrift stores while waiting for us to join him in Switzerland and who continues to find great bargain basements in the Lake Geneva region.

I like two thrift stores in particular: The Salvation Army store or Armee du Salut in Geneva a no-frills storehouse which always has treasures in plain-sight, and the Caritas brocante in Plan-les-Ouates which also has great deals and is very well organized and welcoming.

Bienne, Switzerland (Le Temps, Fre) – Time moved on in the world’s watchmaking capital yesterday when the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry voted overwhelmingly, after 26 years of discussion, to tight the rules for their Swiss-made label. Under the new agreement the group will insist on more of the work and production of a Swiss watch being done in the country. The current requirement for movements to be 50% Swiss made, for example, will rise to 80% for mechanical watches and 60% for electronic and quartz movements.The greatest impact will be felt with mid-range watches, SFr150-2,000, where prices are likely to start at 250-300, writes Le Temps, if the new agreement goes into effect. Consumers have time to think about buying watches under the new rules: the association must first

convince the federal government to back the change, then the
European Community must be consulted. If the change is approved, the
industry will have five years to adjust to new regulations. With or
without new rules, watchmakers have told the Swiss newspaper, the
problem of counterfeit labels remains.

The industry exports watches worth SFr1.26 million a month. It is
the country’s third largest export industry and in 2006 its exports
rose 3.3%, according to the federation.

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Window shopping at a second-hand store in Geneva

Thrift stores are called brocantes, which is also the name given to privately-owned antique stores selling high-end and expensive items.


The list I provide here, are charity-run stores not antique shops. If you are interested in leaving your clothing for sale on consignment or buy fine second-hand clothing follow the link up top.

List of second-hand shops or thrift stores in the Lake Geneva region



  • Caritas in Geneva has one huge brocante, several boutiques, one specialized sports and bookstore, and one kids’ consignment store
  • Its big thrift shop is located in Plan-les-Ouates, and within walking distance of the CSP shop so plan on visiting them ensemble. This is a bright, two-story warehouse full of paintings, kitchen items, furniture, beautiful old plates, loads of books and a small boutique on the second floor
  • Opens non-stop from Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00-17:00 (new schedule updated Oct. 2010).
  • Address: chemin de la Milice 19, 1228 Plan-les-Ouates. Tel: +41 22 884 9999
  • Cards are accepted for purchases over 30 francs
  • The Caritas’ sports and bookstore, called Le Bric-à-Brac is located in Plainpalais and has one of the largest collection of winter sports items available. For example, buy your skis and have them adjusted in the same place. Cash only at this store
  • Caritas also has several stores throughout Canton Vaud

CSP (Protestant Social Center)

  • CSP has two large warehouses in Canton Geneva with all kinds of household items, books and personal items. The one in Meyrin is the largest thrift store in the canton, it is new and carries all sorts of items including a large selection of books in all languages
  • The brocantes open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00
  • Located at Rue Alphonse-Large 19, 1217 Meyrin, and at Chemin de la Cartouchière, 1228 Plan-les-Ouates (near the Caritas store)
  • Only cash cards are accepted and for purchases over CHF30
  • Throughout the city there are several CSP boutiques dedicated exclusively to selling clothing, porcelains and smaller items, but at higher prices. These stores accept cash only
  • The CSP has stores in Lausanne, Morges, Montreux and other cities in Canton Vaud


  • It has almost everything you might need and a large selection of English-language books
  • Opens Monday thru Friday 13:30-17:30 and Saturday non-stop from 9:00 to 16:30
  • Address: 5 Route de Drize, 1227 Carouge. Tel: +41 (0) 22 301 5757
  • No cards are accepted at their store in Geneva
  • An additional store is located in Etagnieres in Canton Vaud, Switzerland
  • Emmaus also has two oversized warehouses in Annemasse, neighboring France, dedicated to selling everything imaginable. The prices are even lower than those in Geneva, a true bargain hunter’s paradise. Unfortunately, public transportation is not very convenient and their hours of service are a bit spotty. Credit cards are accepted in Annemasse starting at 20 Euros, no Swiss francs are accepted

Salvation Army

  • It carries almost everything from kids books to refrigerators, merchandise changes often
  • It is open Tuesday through Friday from 8:30-12:00 (10:00-12:00 on Wednesdays) and from 14:00-18:30; Saturdays non-stop from 10:00-17:00
  • Address: Route de Chêne 18-20, 1207 Geneva. Tel: +41 (0) 22 736 15 80
  • Cards accepted for purchases over CHF20
  • Two special sales, including vintage and brand name sales take place each year, find out when by checking our Events page regularly
  • The Salvation Army has additional stores in Nyon and Lausanne

Vet’Shop Stores

  • The Geneva Red Cross runs several boutiques including a costume rental shop, a fine children’s clothing and toys store, and a second-hand brand-name women’s shop
  • All stores open Monday through Friday from 10:00 to 19:00 and Saturday from 9:30 to 17:30
  • The largest shop is in Plainpalais, at 2 rue Leschot, 1205 Geneva. Tel. +41 (0) 22 321 8384
  • The shops sell Vet, or vetements, only. No household items for sale
  • Cash only

Lausanne’s second-hand shops

If you are looking for second-hand shops, clothing and specialty-items stores, charity and consignment stores, find them on the page created by the city. Stores are not divided in categories.

With this list in hand we hope you enjoy your treasure hunting in Geneva, Vaud and neighboring France!

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