Amongst the various essential places to visit when sightseeing in Paris are its famous stores. Though you can find just about everything in the prestigious historic quarters in the French capital’s centre, they are especially good places to go for clothing and luxury accessories.
Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville (BHV) and Galeries Lafayette
In business terms, BHV and Galeries Lafayette belong to the same group. You therefore find more or less the same items and same brands at both of them (ready-to-wear and haute couture clothing, leather goods, shoes, cosmetics, household decor, etc.). The products at these two renowned and well-known stores are spread over several floors, and both buildings feature rooftop terrace cafés offering panoramic views out over the roofs and monuments of Paris.
Architecturally speaking, Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville is one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris, though Galeries Lafayette is absolutely exceptional in its own right too. This is due to the majestic dome you can see and admire inside the building. Even if you don’t have any shopping to do, it’s still well worth going inside for the opportunity to admire the sheer height of the building and the superb windows decorating the dome. At Christmas time, it looks even more magnificent, with the huge fir tree standing under the dome.
In terms of the practicalities of finding and getting to the BHV Marais, it is located in Paris’s 4th Arrondissement, very close to the city’s famous Hôtel de Ville. The nearest metro station is Hôtel de Ville, which serves lines one and eleven. As for Galeries Lafayette, the main store is located in the 9th Arrondissement, specifically in the Haussman district. It’s very easy to reach via both the RER A rail line (Auber station) and metro lines seven and eight, getting off at Chaussée d’Antin – La Fayette (which is directly in front of the store entrance). Additionally, the Haussmann – Saint Lazare RER E station is only a hop, skip and a jump away. There is also a branch of Galeries Lafayette at the foot of the Tour Montparnasse skyscraper.
The main Printemps store is located close to Galeries Lafayette in the 9th Arrondissement. Printemps also has stores in the Louvre, Place de l’Italie and Nation districts of Paris however.
The Printemps Haussmann is divided into three sections. The first is dedicated to women’s fashions, the second to men’s clothing, and the third is where all the beauty products, store-brand items and children’s fashions are to be found. Here again, the architecture is magnificent, with a superb dome that can be seen from both outside and inside the building. And here again too, luxury products take pride of place. Finally, and here again once more, there is a rooftop terrace offering views out over the French capital.
Le Bon Marché
Le Bon Marché is located in the 7th Arrondissement. The brand comprises the Rive Gauche Le Bon Marché, which specialises in luxury clothing and accessories, and La Grande Épicerie de Paris, which is dedicated to top-of-the-range food and drink. This is one of the best places to come if you’re looking for a typically Parisian gourmet food or drink item to give as a gift.
There are places for customers to dine and eat at all Paris’s famous stores, and they also all offer special services such as the assistance of a personal shopper. Additionally, and depending on the geographical origins of customers, these famous stores offer duty-free deductions on goods purchased. Finally, and no matter which of the famous stores you choose to visit, you’re guaranteed to be able to find something interesting to see either in the store itself or in the local area around it.