Emmaus is a charity, which has shops all over France, as well as 37 other countries including the U.K. It was founded in 1953, although the idea stemmed from post war problems in 1949, and the idea was to create aid for those people who could not afford housing, and to attempt to give some kind of dignity to those people that lived in the streets.
Today, Emmaus is going from strength to strength, and provides a great deal of choice to customers in their shops, which are very similar to other charity shops, although the mainstay of French charity shops.
The founder of Emmaus, Abbe Pierre, died this year, and the Nation mourned him, remembering the work that he had done in educating people in the field of homelessness and its causes, and of devoting his life to those less fortunate than himself. Such is the message here in France that people give anything that they find surplus to requirements to Emmaus in an effort to help. There is no payment involved, and every donation is displayed in their shops.
Emmaus offers furniture at prices that people can afford, electrical goods, household items, and a huge range of books, records, and clothing. The constant flow and turnover of the shops is amazing, and on a week to week basis, one can find so many different items of usefulness, whilst also adding to the money which is used towards homelessness issues.
Items that can be found :
Shoes in almost new condition
Sweaters and separates
Suits and ensembles
Articles for the home:
Vacuum cleaners and electrical goods
Rugs, soft furnishings
Doors (both internal and external) and structural salvage
There are many treasures to be found in the many Emmaus shops. The atmosphere of the shops is a thriving one, with enthusiastic staff, and my experience of the shops is that they offer people a chance to buy items at reduced prices and have wonderful choice.
Split into separate shops for larger household items and clothing, I frequent the clothing shops more often than the household ones, and find that the arrangement of the clothing is well organised, colour coded, and cared for. It is all washed and sorted before being put into the shop, although I do wash mine before using, since storage does tend to make clothing smell stale. The value for money in these shops always amazes me, and the quality of the goods that can be found amongst the strange mixture of modern and old never fails to turn up some treasure. I particularly like the section that sells material, since material is very expensive in France, and here is ideal for those who, like me, want to find patchwork materials.
I admire this charity shop. I admire its cause, and its growth, and said a prayer for the founder and was saddened that the world lost such a humanitarian man, although he lived to a ripe old age, and was able to witness the good that his work did. If you pass by a shop with the name Emmaus, think of the homeless, take a peek behind the doors, and bag yourself a bargain, not only enriching your own life, but enriching the life of someone less fortunate than yourself. It is certainly worth a visit. Summary: A good cause amongst many.