When in Paris…..shop, shop, shop!
But Galeries Lafayette is not any normal shop. Set in what appears to be a former Opera House, it is spectacular – worth visiting just to gape! The shop is laid out around a central staged area which looks upwards to a spectacular domed glass ceiling. Each floor has gilded arches looking out into the central space, each detailed as you would expect in an Opera House.
The shop itself has a huge range of top designers – not great if you are anything above the slim sizings of Parisian women. But great to look at – and handbags, scarves and makeup fit anyone!
I had lunch on the second or third floor, sitting in one of the domed arches watching the shoppers on the ground floor and admiring the architecture, as I ate my baguette and macaroon, and drank my cafe au lait.
In the end I didn’t buy much – I bought more in their second store which is situated underneath the Tour Montparnasse (look up – it is the only high-rise building in central Paris). A backpack-style handbag that was very useful for travelling, and a purse that I get comments on all the time. Do I tire of saying “I bought it in Paris”? Not at all! I did end up buying some soft suede shoes and some silky socks for my poor over-worked tourist feet, which somehow never recovered from the shock of suddenly spending entire days walking.
The other really notable thing about Galeries Lafayette is that they provide free maps of central Paris with all the major tourist attractions and the metro marked, as well as their stores. These are available at Charles de Gaulle Airport and many metro and train stations.
Galleries Lafayette is available online. For the tourist, they have a section in the basement where you can organise your paperwork to claim your duty-free allowance back.
If you liked this post you might also like some more posts from France…..
Arrival in Paris
Caves of Lascaux
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe