Let's go shopping in Paris
My name is Sam, I am a driver in Paris.
Through my experience, I have collected the best department stores to visit in Paris.
I will present to you the 4 major department stores and explain the history behind these huge, luxurious buildings in Paris center.
Le Bon Marché - Left Bank
Le Bon Marché was built as one of the very first department stores on earth.
Historical, maybe, but the Bon Marché is stylish, modern, luxurious and the opposite of old-fashioned.
It is nice to know that this first Au Bon Marché store was founded in 1838 and the current building was built in 1869 built by the same genius, Gustave Eiffel, who built the Eiffel Tower.
This eccentric building is located on the southern part of Paris, in a very expensive quarter: the price per square meter is the highest in Europe.
Le Bon Marché family rhymes with style and luxury, art and design, French made high-end products.
The savoir-vivre (Good Taste) à la française can be felt and observed in the deco of the150 boutiques: Louboutin, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Dolce & Gabana, Jimmy Choo, Fendi, Kenzo, Balenciaga, Berluti, Céline, Miu Miu, Prada, Valentino.
You will find many departments : Luxury, Women, Men, Children, Beauty, Home, Book & Stationery, Gallery of Imaginationand many refined restaurants for truffle, exotic imported coffee, lunch with champagne, great selection of tea...
We can also go to "La Grande Épicerie de Paris" across the street to see the largest and the most elegant gourmet food store in France, if not in the world!
BHV - Le Marais
Opened in 1856, just four years after Le Bon Marché, the capital's first department store, the Bazar de l'Hotel de Ville (which means the Shop of the Town Hall, and became BHV Le Marais in 2013) is not only one of the oldest shops in Paris, but also the one of the most emblematic.
A small family bazaar that quickly grows big!
Seeing that the businesses of his street vendors are working incredibly well at the Jewish Quarter of Paris, François-Xavier Ruel, Parisian merchant, and his wife Marie-Madeleine settled at the corner of the beautiful rue de Rivoli and rue des Archives (Le Marais) and opened their shop there.
It was the very first hosiery counter in 1856.
Ideally located next to the Town Hall, the small family store at 54 rue de Rivoli did not take long to prosper and expand.
François-Xavier Ruel diversified in 1860 into hardware and the sale of toys and knick-knacks and acquired the adjacent shops barely two years after the opening of his first business.
In 1866, ten years after its creation, the brand took the name of Grand Bazar de l'Hotel de Ville and became the very first Parisian establishment to offer labeled items, sold at fixed prices and low enough to attract a large clientele.
Middle and even popular classes. Little by little, and until his death on January 30, 1900, François-Xavier Ruel continued to develop his business by diversifying and acquiring all the buildings between the streets of Archives, de Rivoli, du Temple and de la Verrerie. In 1895, the brand already claimed to be "the largest and cheapest in the world"!
In Art Nouveau style, the imposing dome is still the standard and emblem of the department store today.
The rotunda was inspired by the architecture of Haussmann, who renovated all Paris and especially Rue de Rivoli under the order of Napoleon.
The glass, the immense metal frames, and its neoclassical architecture provide a sumptuous decor to this new building which was the first investment in Paris to attract strollers inside a department store.
Some Parisian come simply came to admire the elegance of the building, the external decoration during the holidays, which changes often.
Le BHV sell everything! The locals go there every weekend to buy beautiful things for their homes :
Perfumery, hardware, jewelry, ready-to-wear for men and women, garden center, DIY, household items, the BHV has gradually established itself as the boss of compulsive shopping...
the Alibaba bazaar where you can find whatever we are looking for!
This is not a department store, this is a magical place at the heart of Paris center.
This is where the Parisienne women used to shop during the Belle Epoque.
It is one of the largest Parisian stores: 20,000 restored square meters, 7 floors, a facade looking like Louisiana, New orleans, a mix of French Art Deco and Art Nouveau, with beautiful arabesques on one side, and on the other, you can see the River La Seine.
La Samaritaine was recently bought by the richest man in France, Bernard Arnault. He is also the owner of Louis Vitton.
Thanks to Mr Arnault, La Samaritaine reopened its doors on June 23, 2021, after six years of fine work, like in museum, to restore the colors, the beauty and now, Bernard Arnault intends to regain its letter of nobility.
Boldness, lights and modernity mark this central building of Gallery Lafayette.
The remarkable history of Galeries Lafayette begins in 1893, two Alsatian cousins, Théophile Bader and a *Jewish Parisian entrepreneur Alphonse Kahn, who invest to set up a novelty store in a small 70 square meter haberdashery, at the corner.
*Alphonse Kahn is an Alsatian Jew, French entrepreneur born December 9, 1864 in Kolbsheim and died May 25, 1927 in Paris. Learn more about the Jewish history of France with Flora Goldenberg
The name "Aux Galeries Lafayette" is born from the Street name called Rue Lafayette, and the configuration of the cute stores, where circulation takes place along the winding shelves, people strolled in small and endless galleries.
The location was ideal: the store benefits from the proximity of the Opera Garnier and the attracting Grands Boulevards.
From the nearby Saint-Lazare train station attracting French from all the north of France, a crowd of Parisians and provincials flock in every day, attracted by the fine products of gallery Lafayette.
In 1896, the company bought the entire building at 1, rue La Fayette...
The first years of the company was obcessed by expanding and buying a large real estate perimeter, unified by an architecture and adapted to the needs of the trade.
Today, the luxurious department store is the second most visited monument, after the Eiffel Tower.
It is a privileged stopover for the Chinese tourist and the famous people of the world who come to shop from la creme de la creme.
I hope you enjoyed my shopping list!
I hope to see you soon in Paris.
If you have a Layover in Paris, we can do shopping during my Paris Layover Tour
You can know me better here and read my profile as a driver in Paris.
Let me know about your thoughts and contact me.