Galeries Lafayette, Paris
The Galeries Lafayette on the boulevard Haussmann (there is another one at Montparnasse) is actually a monument where one can buy all luxury products for all uses.
Lafayette is especially enchanting in the Christmas period with the huge Christmas tree under the famous "coupole" glass dome. The windows on the boulevard Haussmann show sceneries with automats for children form 7 to 77 years old.
Lafayette is located in 3 buildings on the bvd. Haussmann. Most famous for its architecture and glass dome is the one called "Lafayette Coupole" on the corner with the rue de la chaussée d'Antin. My wife took me here as there are 4 floors of women's fashion, cosmetics, jewelry, maroquinerie (leatherwear).
A number of luxury brands have their own boutique with guards limiting the numbers of persons admitted inside. I must say that women and men selling products at Lafayette are all very smart. At the entrances of Lafayette are security guards who kindly say "bonjour" to the visitors.
The next building is Lafayette Homme with 3 floors on men's fashion. I managed to avoid this part and went to the Lafayette Gourmet Food hall and Wine Library so much more interesting!
On the other side of the boulevard is the Lafayette Maison - Home.
Something that on each of my visits to the "shopping Paris" struck me is the extreme luxury of the shops and the misery of the SDF "sans domicile fixe" homeless sitting against a wall of the same boulevard with a board saying "j'ai faim - I'm hungry".
In 1893, two cousins, Théophile Bader and Alphonse Kahn decided to open a novelty store at the corner of Lafayette and Chausée d’Antin in the active shopping district near the Opera, which recently opened the Saint-Lazare train station fed by a continuous flow of travellers from, Paris’s suburbs and the Provinces.
The excellent location of the store in the heart of an active shopping quarter brought a large clientele each day, to the point where expansion became unavoidable. From the start, Galeries Lafayette attracted with equal appeal the ladies of the high society and working women, those shop and office employees, seamstresses and other area workers who made time during their lunch breaks to go shopping.
Today, the flagship Haussmann store is as visited as the Eiffel Tower.
Visit the Welcome Desk on the ground floor of the main store near the Mogador entrance. You can have your questions answered, pick up your maps and discount card (with proof of International citizenship).
What to buy: The women's Fashion department is entirely dedicated to bring you the best, the latest and the most variety in high quality fashion clothing and accessories for today’s modern women.
Galeries Lafayette has been given exclusive distribution rights to 45 brands within all of its France stores, and 180 brands which are exclusively available at the Haussmann store.
Creative fashion can be found on the first floor, trendy fashion on the second floor and seductive fashion on the third floor. Each level offers the best of fashion with over 260 brands ranging from the most luxurious to less expensive brands, from the most famous to less well-known labels, there is truly something for everyone!
A large area has been devoted to accessories, from hats to shoes, and its surface now takes up one third of the first floor of the department store with more than 100 labels.
What to pay: From nothing to bankruptcy!
On my way to the Chapelle Expiatoire down the Boulevard Haussmann, I stopped at the vendors outside Galeries Lafayette to buy a 10€ *cashmina* scarf in blues & greens. It may not be real cashmere but I love it nonetheless and it has a wonderful feel to it. A nice, not too expensive purchase, plus a lovely remembrance of the trip.
The Galeries Lafayette is also a quintessential part of Christmas shopping when they have their department store all decked out in beautiful Christmas lights! I stopped by one night to take several photos of the lights on the buildings as they faded in & out of brilliant kaleidoscopic fashion (see photos 1-3).
Photos: February 2006 & November 2007
Tourist, esp those on tour groups, tend to be introduced to the luxury brand boutiques in Galeries as it is a convenient stop for tour groups. Its also a central meeting point for most locals. Thus, the departmental store is always crowded. The luxury brand boutiques are worse, esp on weekends and holiday periods. You need to fight for the attention of the sales personnel and grab whatever you need in the shortest possible time (otherwise you would be shoved away!). Thats no way to decide on your latest LV or Prada!
Try the luxury boutiques on Champ Elysees instead. You are bound to go there anyway. They are quieter and you get to look around at ease. The variety is also better.
Although I tend to shy away from large department stores, I must say that les Galeries Lafayette are quite exceptional. The initial formation of the department store began in the late 19th century, but it wasn't until the early 20th century that the Galeries Lafayette became known internationally as a trend setter, in direct competition with neighbouring le Printemps. It was during this Belle Epoque that stores around the world copied its model. Today, les Galeries Lafayette continue to be one of the most important department store conglomerates in the world, where one could purchase nearly everything possible. Les Galeries Lafayette on boulevard Haussmann often have the most amazing display of decorations during Christmas time. Well worth the visit around the holiday time.
It looks wonderfull, both from out and inside.
But quite expensive I must say.
However, I am sure that most of the ladies would love this place!
What to buy: You have everything.
I bought lovely Speedo backpack from the upper floor.
This is the epitomy of department stores! Not only can you purchase clothing, shoes, purses, sunglasses but a floor just dedicated to food! What an amazing place. We were fortunate to go when it was decorated for the holidays.
What to buy: What ever you like if you can afford it.
Is the best shop to buy things if you into shopping and i think all ladys are... As a woman i have to say i got bored there as i'm not to much into shopping but for all other ladys is a joy to be there... Lots of parfumes as you are int the counrty of parfumes, alot of good clothes and "names" so you just need to have a full wallet...
TOTALLY FABULOUS PLACE TO SPEND ONE'S TIME CHECKING OUT ALL THE BEAUTIFUL MERCHANDISE AND ALSO THE INTERIOR OF THE OUTRAGEOUSLY BEAUTIFUL DEPAPTMENT STORE....ALSO THEY WAS SOME GREAT LOOKING FOOD THERE!!! SOMETHING THAT ALWAYS CATCHES MY ATTENTION!!AND ALSO OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO THERE WAS GOING TO THE ROOF AND SEEING THE PARISAN SKYLINE AND THE BUILDING NEAR BY ...THIS BUILDING REMINDED ME AS IF TO BE IN A CONCERT HALL WITH THE MERCHADISE DOING THE PERFORMCE....... .I DO REMEMBER SEEING A VERY SIMPLE CHAIR FOR OVER $ 2000 !!!!! OUCH!!!! THIS BEAUTIFUL STORE STARTED IT JOURNEY IN 1893. .THEN IN 1896 HAD ARCHITECT Georges Chedanne AND ALSO LATER HIS STUDENT Ferdinand Chanut DESIGN A NEW STORE . ..wow !!!!!!!!!!
What to buy: SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN AFFORD!! OR GO FOR THE GUSTO AND ENJOY YOURSELF...:)
What to pay: A LOT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Like most national department stores, the Galaries LaFayette are not only beautiful and have a wide range of products and brand names, the Galaries are quite expensive. But, for the latest french fashion, I would recommend no other department store, especially if you want to splurge. Sale periods at the Galaries LaFayettes are always worthwhile.
Even if you do not intend to buy anything, the building, located close to Opera, is absolutely beautiful, especially at christmas time, as you can see from my picture. I would definately pay the Galaries a visit!
What to buy: The latest fashion and fashion related brand names are available here, as well as sections for the high street stores.
What to pay: Prices totally depend on the brand of the item of clothing you will buy. I guess the cheapest thing you could buy is a t-shirt from a high street store section, which would cost about 8 euros.
Galeries Lafayette was founded in the late 19th century and contains 7 floors of fashion, home decor, gourmet food, books, kitchen, perfume, makeup, accessories and souvenirs. There is a rooftop terrace where you can have a meal and enjoy the panoramic view over Paris. The glass dome is not to be missed. There is a second part of the store next door. The main store is mainly fashion, accessories and haberdashery with souvenirs, electronics, luggage, cosmetics and jewellry. There is also a tax free area. The annex has the home decor and food, more men's fashion and appliances.
What to buy: You name it, they've got it! Excellent place for Paris souvenirs, they claim they carry items not found anywhere else. Won't be cheap though! Worth a visit just to look at the architecture and see the view from the roof.
Well... The Galeries Lafayette and the entire quartier (area) is a great place to shop especially during the sales. I've taken many many relatives and friends on shopping sprees there. The best time is obviously during the winter and summer sales. But all year around you find really beautiful clothes and leather goods. Not cheap unless there is some special bargain on. But really nice things. I love the shoes and leather bags. The leather bags are on the ground floor as are all the cosmetics (Guerlain, Dior, Chanel, Lancome, Clinic too...) what's nice about these HUGE stores is that you find every brand, every make and samples of everything. If you are lucky you can get your face done up for free, or try new perfumes or new drinks (yes, once I was there and they were handing out a new type of fizzy 0 calorie drink), depending on what is being promoted that week.
Grand Magazin is the French term for department store. In France in the early 19C, these were preceded by covered passageways with shops and stalls having varied merchandise on a permanent basis. These were successful because of the arrival of public transport (like parking lots and malls today). The Galeries Lafayette and the Au Printemps next to it were not the first Grands Magazins(those originated in 1866), but they are worth a visit, especially the Galeries (1907).I am sure others have written of its wares; we have used it and the VAT refund many times. But we must recommend eating lunch at the top floor "cafe" for good food at a good value. Nearby is a section with fairly priced souvenirs and a staircase ,which leads one flight higher, to a viewing platform (free) for a different examination of the Paris skyline with rooftops and famous sites. (see our separate Tip under Walking Around). As you enter the East Galerie building you see the spectacular Art Nouveau glasss and metal dome. As one picture shows (taken in November) the center area can accomodate a giant Christmas tree.
What to buy: Anything
What to pay: More than you can afford
Apart from the main stores in Boulevard Hausmann there are more Lafayette stores close to Montparnasse Tower lighty more cheap(I mean,less expensive).
Although you are not going to buy anything it's worth to enter in,above all now in Christmas.Under the dome is big,beautiful tree and all is luxurious.
If you have money...you can spend allllll day in here. For others...this is still a great place to poke a peak...its just beautiful. Even the foodcourt was amazing, serving good quality food, wine, bread, pastries. The best part is not having to eat them with a plastic fork and on a paper plate. But this sure cost them lots of money...we heard many plates breaking!
What to pay: Expect to pay LOTS!