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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrIt can be difficult to see everything you want to visit in Paris. The world’s most-visited city is home to plenty of activities, hundreds of monuments, tons of restaurants, and loads of bars.
Why would you go to a department store? The Galeries Lafayette is not only a fantastic example of architecture. It also has plenty of departments and something for everyone!
History and HeritageThe original site of Galeries Lafayette was actually a haberdashery on Rue La Fayette and Chaussée d’Antin. This was opened in 1893 by Théophile Bader and Alphonse Kahn, two cousins who’d moved west to Paris from Alsace .
Bader and Kahn purchased various other properties on rue La Fayette, Boulevard Haussman, and Chausée d’Antin before refurbishing the building on Boulevard Haussman and opening the current location of the company’s flagship store back in 1912.
The store on Boulevard Haussman serves as Galeries Lafayette’s flagship, a 10-storey building which was an ambitious and risky project that obviously paid off. When the store opened in October 1912, the public was given their first glimpse of the now-legendary glass dome and the store’s grand hall. The building was designed in such a way as to illuminate the products and bathing them in natural light, making them more appealing and therefore selling more of them.
The skills of architect Ferdinand Chanut were employed to create the Paris Art Nouveau style as seen throughout this magnificent building. The gorgeous stained glass in the windows was completed by Jacques Gruber, who employed a Neo-byzantine style. Louis Majorelle designed the banisters on the staircase and took inspiration from the famous Paris Opera House in addition to being responsible for the work done around the balconies.
The Great Depression couldn’t bring down this retail giant and nor could Nazi occupation. Today you can visit the Galeries Lafayette in all its glory right in the heart of Paris!
The FashionParis is one of the most fashionable cities in the world and the Galeries Lafayette certainly reflect this. Fashion has always been one of the Galeries Lafayette’s main priority and the shop even opened workshops in the 1920s in order to promote fashion and encourage collaborations from renowned designers.
This dedication to fashion for everyone is the driving force behind the shop and has even resulted in visits from plenty of movers and shakers and some of the world’s most important and famous people.
The FoodWhile it may not be cheap, the food in the Galeries Lafayette is arguably some of the best. The food hall caters to plenty of different cuisines from around the world, making sure there’s something everyone will enjoy.
5 JotasLive the dream by enjoying typical Spanish cuisine in the heart of France! 5 Jotas brings you a range of different Spanish dishes. In addition to the jamon ibérico, the famous acorn-fed ham which comes directly from Andalusia in southern Spain, 5 Jotas also provides various other delicious Iberian food. You can also enjoy pulpo a la gallega (Galician-style octopus), Spanish stew, as well as various different cheeses and desserts.
La Table du FromagerCheese is one of France’s finest exports and a must-have dish when visiting anywhere in the country. At La Table du Fromager you can enjoy a specialized cheesemonger in the heart of the city in the beautiful surroundings of the Galeries Lafayette.
MavromattisMavromattis has been dealing in Mediterranean cuisine since the early 1980s and can now be found in the Galeries Lafayette. You should consider picking up some of their specialties including: moussaka, vine leaves, or aubergine caviar.
PetrossianFine dining and caviar go hand in hand and Galeries Lafayette is no exception. At Petrossian in Lafayette Gourmet, you can get caviar as well as crab, herring, and salmon.
Pret a MangerIf you’re looking to spend a little less, you can always head along to the Pret a Manger in Galeries Lafayette. You can always pick up a sandwich or soup from within the store.
Getting to the GaleriesThe flagship store of the Galeries Lafayette can be found at 40 Boulevard Haussman in Paris’ historical and cultural 9th Arrondissement. Traveling around Paris is simplified by the expansive metro system and this is the easiest way to make your way to the department store. The Chaussée d’Antin - La Fayette metro station is the nearest to the store and is served by the Parisian metro lines 7 (the pink line from La Courneuve - 8 Mai 1945 to Villjuif - Louis Aragon and Mairie d’Ivry ink) and 9 (the green line from Pont de Sèvres to Mairie de Montreuil).
There are a number of other metro stations within the vicinity and all within walking distance of the Galleries Lafayette so make sure to check if alighting at any of these stations and simply walking is easier than changing and heading to the store’s namesake station.
If you are traveling to the Galeries Lafayette from further afield, you can take the RER (Paris’ commuter trains) to either the Haussmann - Saint Lazare station on the RER E line (the purple line) or to Auber on the RER A (the red line).
Similar LandmarksLondon also has a flagship department store: Harrods and New York City has Macy's Herald Square.
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Author: JP_Translation. Last updated: Mar 04, 2015