The image shows the last floor of Le Bon Marché
Art and culture

The most beautiful stores in Paris

July 20, 2022

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Some of the most fashionable department stores in the world are in Paris. We journey through their fascinating past and discover how tenacity and vision has inspired a new generation of creative design.
The image shows the stairs of Le Bon Marché
© Le Bon Marché

Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche

Intricate wrought iron features provide a clue to the creators of this 1869 department store between Jardin du Luxembourg and Les Invalides. The Eiffel Tower engineer, and architect Louis-Charles Boileau designed the building’s dome, atrium and wraparound balconies, on behalf of owner Aristide Boucicaut, a pioneering fabric trader. Boucicaut implemented fixed prices, created a reading room for husbands to relax in while their wives shopped, and provided pensions and dormitories for staff. Today, visitors come to source original items by French brands Céline and Chloé and browse its 80 artworks by established and emerging artists.

24 rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris

Printemps Haussmann

With its palatial glass dome, Printemps Haussman resembles the Palais Garnier opera house, located two streets east. Named after the French for ‘spring’ to symbolise its fresh products, the store was unusual as most businesses in 1865 were named after their owners or address. Founder Jules Jaluzot introduced innovative ideas such as complimentary violets in spring and selling paperweights made of iron from the Eiffel Tower. In the 1960s, he installed a 40m/131ft ski slope just for fun, while in 1999 he pioneered staff on rollerblades with webcams to assist international customers online.

64 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris

The image shows the second-hand floor of Le Printemps
© RomainRicard
The image shows the roof of the Galeries Lafayette

Les Galeries Lafayette

Europe’s largest collection of department stores dates back to 1895, when it was established by Théophile Bader and Alphonse Kahn. Ferdinand Chanut designed its dome and
Art Nouveau staircases in 1912, which still attract admirers. Today the store is known for its Friday fashion show at 3pm as much as its shopping.  Art exhibitions are on show in Galerie des Galeries, the restaurant has a magnificent view of the Eiffel tower, Les Invalides and Opera Garnier, and its suspended Christmas tree in December is a marvel, decorated every year since 1976.

40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris

Le BHV Marais

Situated close to Notre-Dame de Paris on the bank of the Seine, this department store dates back to 1852. By 1871, the building had become known as Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville, while today it’s dubbed Le BHV Marais. While the name has changed, the eight-storey property retains original features such as a grand dome with reliefs of cherubs above the entrance, which is illuminated after dusk. Once you’ve browsed its collection – which includes the French designers Agnès B and Alexandre Turpault – you may wish to explore its rooftop deck bar, Le Perchoir Marais, overlooking neighbouring rooftops.

52 rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris

Parisian shopping credit Paris Tourist Office Stephanie Rivoal
© Paris Tourist Office - Stéphanie Rivoal
Samaritaine credit Samaritaine Facade Monnaie Street with Showcase
© Samaritaine

Samaritaine

With its yellow murals of peacocks and roses, atrium and sun-dappled interior, Samaritaine on Rue de la Monnaie is arguably the city’s most beautiful department store. Dating back to 1870, when Ernest Cognacq opened a dressmaking shop, it has since expanded to four neighbouring buildings on the River Seine, just two blocks from the Louvre. As well as shopping, taking a guided tour and exploring its leafy rooftop terrace, experience Paris-by-the-Sea until 30th August, 2022, which sees the store transform into a seaside resort with 1970s beach huts, deckchairs and parasols, as well as a postcard postal service.

9 rue de la Monnaie, 75001 Paris 

Once you’ve enjoyed shopping like a Parisian, you may like to explore the city’s many exceptional museums and art exhibitions.

Header image courtesy of Le Bon Marché

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