To find the rooftop observation deck of the Au Printemps department store, you have to go into their building at the corner of Boulevard Haussmann and Rue du Havre. This is not the building with the cupola, but the other one, the one further west. You’ll know you’re in the right building when you see a big display of children’s perfumes on the ground floor. (I’m not making this up.)
The escalators are not designed to get us up to the roof in a hurry. You have to walk around in a circle on each floor to get to the next escalator going up to the next floor. But with some persistence you can make it all the way up to the roof.
Unlike the roof of the nearby Galeries Lafayette, where there is plenty of room to walk around, the roof of Au Printemps is taken up mainly by a restaurant and café. But even if you don’t want to sit down and consume, it is still possible to walk around the edges and look at the views.
Second photo: People and tables on the roof of Au Printemps.
Third photo: Looking towards Montmartre and Sacré-Coeur. The older-looking church steeple in the center of the photo is the Trinité.
Fourth photo: Looking west towards the Arch of Triumph.
Fifth photo: Evening on the roof of Au Printemps, looking towards the Eiffel Tower.
Next review from October 2013: Signposted bicycle route # 1
Approximately one block away from the nicest department store (in my opinion), Galeries Lafayette, is another grand magasin (dept. store): Au Printemps.
It's multi-storied as Galeries Lafayette, but it doesn't have the same old-style feel and the same atmosphere. Generally Au Printemps carries the same items as Galeries Lafayette. However, the selection is not as extensive.
There are separate sections for fashions: men's, women's, children. Also there is a housewares section, accessories section, etc. All in all Printemps and Gal. Lafayette rival each other in everything.
There is also a restaurant on the sixth floor called Cafe Flo.
What to buy: You can buy anything that you would normally find in any department store worldwide. Of course, for me, the handbags are a good buy.
What to pay: Prices are average for Paris and they are similar or exactly the same as at Galeries Lafayette.
Another big expensive store that we visited for other than shopping reasons :)
The building itself is beautiful, in art nouveau style, it was built about 100 years before!
We only checked the prices at perfumes (more expensive anyway), the clothes seem (according to the females of our group) but also pricey. There is something for everyone (men, women, kids, jewelry, accessories) but a good credit card will help.
So we just took the lift up to 9th floor where they have a nice café/restaurant with amazing view over the city (Eiffel Tower included of course, check pic 3). There is outdoor seating at the terrace but also a nice small bar inside if you visited during winter like we did (pic 4).
The prices were normal…
The store is open Monday-Saturday 9:35-19:00, night opening on Thursdays to 10 p.m.
There are 4 Le Printemps stores in the Paris City center:
-Printemps Design au Centre Pompidou at 19, Rue Beaubourg - 75004 Paris.
-Printemps Haussmann, The Main store at 64, Boulevard Haussmann - 75009 Paris.
-Printemps Italie 2 at Centre Commercial - 30, Avenue d'Italie - 75013 Paris.
-Printemps Nation at 21-25 Cours de Vincennes - 75020 Paris.
What to buy: Your everyday household needs.
The two department stores Au Printemps and the Galeries Lafayette are both on the same street, Boulevard Haussmann. They are both in large historic buildings with Art Deco cupolas. And they both sell the same fashionable products with prestigious brand names that everybody except me has heard of.
It turns out that Au Printemps is the older of the two stores, having been founded in 1865. Galeries Lafayette wasn’t started until thirty years later, in 1895.
From a purely touristic point of view, I would say Galeries Lafayette is the one to visit, because of its beautiful interior and its rooftop observation deck. Au Printemps is also attractive, but by comparison it is somewhat less remarkable and at present looks a bit bedraggled except for the dedicated brand-name areas.
But what struck me in Au Printemps (which means spring in French) is that the customers look fantastically elegant and well dressed, more so than at Lafayette. This might be because Lafayette does a lot of advertising in English to attract tourists, whereas Printemps concentrates on its French clientele. Or it might be that Printemps is simply the place to go for serious fashion shopping. But this is all just speculation on my part, so I’d be interested in getting comments from any fashionistas or other knowledgeable people who might happen to read this tip.
Second photo: The downside of having elegant customers is that they tend to arrive in elegant cars, so it comes as no surprise that Printemps has a voiturier service, known in English as valet parking. Readers of my voiturier tip may have noticed (reading between the lines) that I am very much opposed to this sort of ‘service’, since it only serves to generate unnecessary motor traffic in the public streets, with the resulting noise, congestion and air pollution.
Third photo: On the first floor of Au Printemps (i.e. one flight up) there is an area devoted to whatever sort of products are sold under the brand name of Louis Vuitton. This is the one brand name that I instantly recognize, thanks to a lovely Swedish soprano called Anna Ryberg, who since 2004 has been a member of the opera ensemble in Frankfurt am Main.
In the Rossini opera Il viaggio a Reims, which I have described in one of my Frankfurt tips as The world’s first tourist opera, Anna sang the role of a delightfully capricious and fashionable French lady called the Countess of Folleville (‘Folleville’ meaning ‘crazy city’). Towards the end of the opera there is a scene in which all the characters make suggestions about what the topic of the final song should be. The others propose serious topics like Joan of Arc, the citizens of Reims or the Battle of Tolbiac, but Anna always got a laugh by suggesting Louis Vuitton.
Of course this was not in the original libretto from the year 1825. There the Countess of Folleville suggested San Luigi (Saint Louis), which wouldn’t have gotten a laugh even then.
The winning suggestion turned out to be “Charles X, King of France”, which was not surprising since the opera had been specially commissioned for his coronation. Tradition has it that the new king fell asleep during the world premiere of his opera, but it may be that he was just all tuckered out after a long week of being coronated.
Fourth photo: The cupola in Printemps is similar to the one in the Galeries Lafayette, but somewhat smaller and less spectacular.
Fifth photo: Under the cupola in Printemps there is a restaurant which is recommended by VT member breughel in his tip on Au Printemps.
Roof of Au Printemps
Roof of Galeries Lafayette
Next review from July 2013: The other Hôtel du Nord
Even if you don't want to do some shopping the architecture of the Printemps department store at the boulevard Haussmann makes the visit worthwhile on the outside especially at the corner of the boulevard and the rue du Havre leading to the Gare St Lazare (ref. photo) and inside having lunch at the Brasserie Printemps under the large cupola from 1923 made of tainted glass and steel. (Open Mondays to Saturdays from 9.35 am to 8 pm • Women's Store, Floor 6).
I had a few times lunch there but what I ignored is that the cupola was dismantled and stored at Clichy in 1939 to avoid the risk of destruction by bombing. It was restored only in 1973. The façade and cupola of the building are registered as historical monuments.
I was told about this place from my art teacher.
You have to go to the cafe at the top of Printemps, it was built in 1923 in an Art Nouveau style and is a stained glass dome consisted of 3,185 panes of glass with a diameter of 20 meters. Luckly they had the foresight to protect this jem during WW2 so it's still here today.
The cafe does great ice cream too.
For Individual Travellers
Upon presentation of your foreign passport and under certain conditions, department store will be pleased to offer you a 10% discount card at the Welcome Service, ground floor, Printemps de la mode.
Remark: It is free! In the Printemps department store go to the 9th floor (take the elevator to the 8th floor, go through the luggage section, and take the escalator up towards La Terrasse restaurant). Walk through the restaurant and exit through the glass doors. You will find yourself on a large outside rooftop terrace that provides an amazing view of many Paris monuments: look to the left and you will find the Opéra, the Grand Palais, the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Looking right you have a superb view of la Butte Montmartre. The terrace is not so well known, so it is not too crowded.
On the same day I was on my way to the Chapelle Expiatoire, I also stopped by Printemps at one of their outside vendors to buy a floral silk scarf (100% soie/silk) bordered in navy blue for a scant 15€.
Not to be outdone by their neighbor, they also decorate for the holidays but I prefer Galeries Lafayette's light display!
However, Printemps has a much prettier building.
Photos: November 2007 & February 2006
Founded in 1865 by Jules Jaluzot, the Printemps was designed by Paul Sédille, perfectly executing the modern and daring spirit of its founder.
Monday to Saturday from 9:35 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Night opening on Thursdays to 10 p.m.
What to buy: Men's fashion, Women's fashion, Children's fashion, beauty care, home decoration.
You name it, they have it.
What to pay: From budget, affordable to the exquistely expensive
Similar to Galeries Lafayette Printemps is a great place to find just about anything. It's a multi-storied shopping complex which carries approximately the same types of items Galeries Lafayette does.
There are a few locations throughout Paris and they have fashion for men, women, children and they also carry a wide range of housewares, jewelry and accessories.
There is also a cute restaurant on the sixth floor called Cafe Flo.
What to buy: Just about anything can be purchased here but I usually like to check out their uinque women's clothing and their women's lingerie department.
Check out Cafe Flo located on the 6th floor.
What to pay: Prices are about average
Perhaps the most beautiful shopping mall I have even seen . And that day i could only do window shopping because I didnt know places are closed on Sunday . Sigh
So sis, dont blame me for not getting an LV or Versace for ya . I was there but it was closed.
Right next to Galeries Lafayette on Blvd. Haussmann. Between the two, you could shop for days.
This huge department store occupies several buildings-- there is a separate store for men's clothes. In the main buildings you can shop for women's clothes, cosmetics, home furnishings, furniture, etc.
On the 6th floor of the Magasin de la Mode (the section of the store with women's clothing) you will find Café Flo, under the beautiful stained glass dome. This is a great place for a quick bite in the middle of your shopping spree.
What to pay: As much as your heart desires.
Pulled by a woman from shop to shop, the exhausted man had, at last, a small compensation: the beautiful building composes a classical ambiance for the myriad of shops and stalls.
Excuse-me! That's up to her.
By the way... where the hell did she go?
4 huge buildings and almost 10 floors of high quality shop, shop, shopping.
And beautiful at Christmas.
One of my alltime Paris vt favorites mariev has a beautiful tip and foto of the view of the Sacre Coeur from the Printemps 9th floor terrace.
What to buy: I don't shop on holiday (typical male). I like the building and even had a snack once in the cafe there (just an average sandwich, definitely nothing to write home about, but the ceiling was kind of cool)
What to pay: beaucoup