Galeries Lafayette

27 01 2012

taken from the cafeteria - much more an Opera House than a shop

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.

ground floor makeup area with the iconic interlocked Cs for Chanel, overlooked by the golden arches (real golden arches, not the multinational) and the glass ceiling

the domed glass ceiling - the camera can't catch how spectacular this is


If you liked this post you might also like some more posts from France…..
Arrival in Paris
Caves of Lascaux
Notre Dame
French menus
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
The Louvre
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe
Napoleon’s Tomb
Versailles

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11 responses

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3 02 2012
Janet Devlin

It is beautiful, no doubt, but the downside of all that money changing hands and distracted shoppers and tourists is that it is a prime site for robbers and other thieves, often working in teams. My sister and I narrowly escaped being robbed and fled through the Galleries Lafayette only to find that we were being pursued by another member of the gang who had taken over the ‘lead’ role. We then appealed for help – in French – to store detectives who completely ignored us!! We finally got out of the place hvaing lost our taste for shopping or anything else for the day.

However ….

we had similar experiences of stalking and attempted robbery in various parts of Italy

Buyer beware……………

4 02 2012
Mudmap

wow – I had no idea! I was completely unmolested at Galleries LaFayette (the beggars and hawkers around Eiffel Tower was another matter) How long ago were you there, Janet? And by robbers – were they pickpockets, or did they actually threaten violence?

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