Printemps Store

Printemps Store (1B)

Any experienced traveller wants to admire buildings, discover monuments, tour squares, visit museums and, of course, go shopping. Although Paris is full of delightful specialist shops, you must not miss its department stores. In London you would go to Harrods and in Madrid to El Corte Inglés. Where should you go in Paris?

The first department stores to open in Paris were during the period of the Second Empire as a result of the rapid growth of the urban population and the expansion of industry. Les magasins du Louvre and La belle jardenière have now disappeared, but their successors still maintain the same air of yesteryear. Today you can find three big stores to visit: las Galeries Lafayette, the Bon Marché and Printemps.

Bon Marché, at number 24, Rue des Sèvres, is known for being the first department store in the capital and the most chic. It was built by Gustave Eiffel and founded in 1852 by Aristide Boucicaut, a businessman and philanthropist, who has entered the history books for being a great innovator of these commercial centres: he offered promotion to his employees, made advertisements, established set prices and created the first mail order catalogue in 1856. The first Bon Marché was opened on the left bank of the Seine and inspired the writer Emile Zola in his novel “The Ladies’ Paradise”. Today it is not as busy as its rivals on the other bank but it competes in elegance. We would also highlight its famous food shop, La Grande Épicerie de Paris.

On the other side, the Printemps department store is at number 64, Boulevard Haussman. Designed by Paul Sédille, it is one of the masterpieces of Modernism. Its cupola measures 20 metres in diameter and 16 metres height. You should not miss it. The cupola was taken down during the war so that it would not be damaged and until now has undergone many remodellings.

The current management of Printemps look to renowned decorators to give it a younger air and to always be up with the latest trends. In reality it is three stores in one: Le Printemps de la Mode with women’s fashion, Le Printemps de l’Homme for men and Le Printemps de la Beuté et Maison, beauty and home products. Moreover, it has an amazing collection of cosmetics and a well-established line of designer fashion.

To finish, we recommend you visit the Galeries Lafayette, at number 40, Boulevard Hausmann. You must know it, since it is famous the world over. It is two adjacent building connected by a pedestrian bridge over Rue Mogador. They say that it has more than 75,000 own-brand products as well as the largest lingerie department in the world. From its restaurant and flat roof you can also enjoy some fabulous views of the whole city.

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