Archive for November 29th, 2018

November 29, 2018

Galeries Lafayette, Paris of course!

Now, let me tell you about a store , a story , history and chic beauty of what France is all about. You have come here I am sure one time or another, we all have. I came here way back in my first encounter with Paris in 1972,and been back ever since, even a cardholder.

I like to tell a bit on the Galeries Lafayette, that beacon of French fashion and department store à la Française.

Galeries Lafayette is a brand of department stores belonging to the Galeries Lafayette Group. The flagship store is at Bd Haussmann in Paris.

The description and style is a must to visit and enjoy it. It was my first dept store visit in Paris even back in 1972 and has been our favorite, I am a card carrying member and do shop even online! Paris chic at its best ,even if some tells you tourists are many but that is because they go to the main store in bd Haussmann, and you go elsewhere you will tell the French do shop there too ::)

The ramp style of the main staircase is directly inspired by that of the Opéra de Paris. Overlooking the store at 43 meters in height, the huge dome built in 1912 of the main hall becomes the emblem of Galeries Lafayette. Its neo-Byzantine-style stained glass windows allow the rays of the sun to pass through the Great Hall in a warm light. The first vocation of Galeries Lafayette has always been the alliance of fashion and novelty. To do this, it acquires production units in order to create its own brand of clothing. It later made sewing pieces at the forefront of fashion in order to sell them at prices much more affordable than its chic competitors. It democratized the access to fashion and made its stores the indispensable address not only of the bourgeoises of Paris, but also of the sewing workers. The aisles such as “men’s clothing”, “interior decoration”, “Toys” and “Table art” are added to the classic aisles dedicated to women’s clothing. And for maximum loyalty, annual appointments are established with customers, such as the famous “3d”, created in 1958 and allowing to acquire current and good quality items at unusually low prices for three days. The department store subsequently hosts prestigious events by presenting creators or major artists of our time. In order to strengthen its link with fashion but also with the creation of all kinds, the store opens the gallery of galleries, a space located on the first floor and free of access to all that highlights the intrinsic links that exist between the fashion , art and design. In 1951, Edith Piaf gave a concert in front of the galleries of Boulevard Haussmann where is inaugurated the highest escalator in Europe!

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And the story I like is….

Théophile Bader and his cousin Alphonse Kahn joined in 1893 to take over a new store and open their first store in 1894 at 1, rue La Fayette in a room of 70 m2 which they call les Galeries. Both are Alsatian Jewish traders coming from the world of confection, while their competitors Boucicaut, creator of the Bon Marché, or Jaluzot, founder of Au Printemps, were previously sellers in stores. Their store (now the “Galeries Lafayette Haussmann”) initially 70 m² grew as it went along with the purchase of the entire building three years after its opening. The store is then renamed Galeries Lafayette. In 1905, the buildings of 38, 40 and 42 Boulevard Haussmann, as well as the 15 rue de la Chaussée D’Antin, are also acquired.

After the 1940 debacle, Galeries Lafayette underwent a “aryanisation” treatment: Théophile Bader, Raoul Meyer, Max Heilbronn, the store’s administrators and 129 Jewish employees were forced to resign. The Bader, Meyer and Heilbronn families are dispossessed of their property. Protected by the Nazis, the Swiss Aubert and the French industrialist Harlachol led the whole group Les Galeries Lafayette. Heilbronn and Meyer then engage in the French resistance and they were arrested by the Gestapo, then deported to Buchenwald, Max Heilbronn returned to France in April 1945. After many clandestine activities, Raoul Meyer took an important part in the liberation of Paris in 1944. As a result, a special board of Directors of Galeries Lafayette meets on September 20, 1944, Aubert and Harlachol are returned and Galeries Lafayette handed over to Raoul Meyer, hoping for the return of Max Heilbronn. In the meantime, Théophile Bader had died in Paris in 1942, paralyzed and despoiled of his property. Today, the Galeries Lafayette are the last French department store led by the direct descendants of its founder!!!

A bit of the spread of the group: Since 2014, Galeries Lafayette have been developing an offer of destocking with Galeries Lafayette Outlet stores, which today number eight in France. There is a total of 54 stores in France. The next project is for the 52-60, avenue des Champs-Elysées, which houses a monoprix and until 2013 a Virgin Megastore, was bought in 2012 by Qatar and Groupama. It is renovated from 2016 in order to welcome in 2018 a store of Galeries Lafayette in place of the Virgin. Outside of France you have stores in Berlin, opened in 1996, the first abroad. Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Open in 2009. Jakarta, Indonesia: Opened in June 2013. Beijing, People’s Republic of China: opened in 2013, Istanbul, Turkey and forthcoming openings in Doha, Qatar; Luxembourg, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; Shanghai, in the People’s Republic of China, Kuwait City, in Kuwait. and Milan, Italy.

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And the future is bright!

The Galeries Lafayette are preparing to hire. And not just a little. The group of department stores launches a large recruitment campaign in this month of September 2018 to hire 700 people in permanent jobs, reveals Le Parisien.newspaper. The group will indeed in the next few months open two department stores in Paris. First a point of sale of 6500 m² under the Galeries Lafayette on the Champs Elysées (see above) in lieu of the former Virgin Megastore for which she seeks 400 people. Then a large Italian specialty store called Eataly. Located in the Marais district, this store for which Galeries lafayette are looking for 300 people is the first of its kind in France. It is an Italian brand that the French group will exploit in France. Eataly will offer a large restoration area that should serve 2500 covered per day. Both stores are to be opened between the first and second quarter 2019.

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my boys on Virgin, the future Galeries Lafayette on C-E

Some webpages to help you visit and enjoy this icon of Paris are

Official Galeries Lafayette

Official Galeries Lafayette Group

Tourist office of Paris on Galeries Lafayette Haussmann

In all , a wonderful experience that I have not even gone into the top floor terrace and restaurant and the soon to come Christmas 2018 celebrations. Awesome a must to visit, Galeries Lafayette.

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And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

 

 

November 29, 2018

Trading in Paris! Bourse de Commerce.

So here I am humid rainy cold windy day and night as I write. Rather mild temps around 12C or 55F thus. We are clearly into Autumn and Mr Winter is calling. I am cruising end of the month routine.

I like to bring you to light another wonderful building in Paris seldom seen yet I know it well in business and very few pictures allow. Let me tell you about the Bourse de Commerce or Trade exchange house of Paris.

The Bourse de Commerce de Paris is a circular plan building topped by a dome located on Rue de Viarmes, in the neighborhood of the Halles of the 1éme arrondissement or district of Paris.

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A bit of history I like

At the approximate location where the Bourse de Commerce or trading stock market is today was the hotel de Soissons, which belonged to Jean II of Nesles at the beginning of the 13C. Having no heirs, he gave in 1232 the property to Saint Louis, who offered it to his mother, Blanche of Castile, to make it her residence. Philippe le Bel, who inherited it, offered it in 1296 to his brother, Charles de Valois. The hotel then passed to the son of the latter, Philippe de Valois, who gave it to Jean of Luxembourg, son of the emperor Henry VII of the Holy Roman Empire and himself King of Bohemia.

His daughter, Bonne of Luxembourg, heiress of the hotel in 1327, married Prince Jean de Normandie, the future king of France under the name of Jean Le Bon. Their son, Charles, ceded it to Amédée VI of Savoy in 1354. He then took part in Louis, Duke of Anjou and son of King Jean. His widow, Marie de Blois, sold it in 1388 to Charles VI, who offered it to his brother Louis, duke of Touraine and Orléans.

On the proceedings of the confessor of King Charles VIII, Jean Tisseran, he created in 1498, in part of the hotel, a convent of the repented daughters while the rest of the buildings were shared between the constable and the Chancellor of the Duke of Orléans.

From 1572, Catherine de Medici suddenly abandoned the palace of the Tuileries, which she had built and acquired a hotel called Albret, consisting of various mansions that adjoined the convent. She settled there and began the development of what was to become the Hôtel de la Reine or Queen’s Hotel. The Queen Mother bought from 1572 the buildings surrounding the hotel of Albret to integrate them into her residence. The property thus obtained did not suffice to her needs, she obtained the convent of the repented daughters by exchanging it against that of Saint Magliore, property which she owned at Rue Saint-Denis. The space thus cleared became the vast garden which extended to the Rue de Grenelle (today rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau). The fluted astronomical column, also known as the Medici column, 31 meters high, is the only surviving vestige of this hotel. It was raised from 1574 in one of the angles of the courtyard which gave on the rue des Deux Ecus. In 1601, after long succession problems related to the debts accumulated by Catherine de Medici, the heirs of the Queen ceded the hotel to Catherine de Bourbon, sister of Henri IV. On the death of the latter, it was acquired by Charles de Bourbon, Count of Soissons, who gave it his name. The latter died in 1612 and his wife, Anne de Montafié, Countess of Soissons, continued to acquire many properties around the hotel until 1644 date of her death. The hotel de Soissons then showed its appearance and its final look. It then passed to her daughter, Marie de France, wife of Thomas of Savoy, Prince of Carignan. Their son Emmanuel-Philibert inherited it, then his successor Victor Amédée de Savoie, Prince de Carignan, in 1718.

This latter establishes in the hotel, in 1720, the Paris stock Exchange. Ruined by Law’s bankruptcy, he had to sell the property in 1740. The prevost of Paris bought the land and destroyed the buildings in 1748. The column, sold separately, was acquired by Louis Petit de Cachaumont who then donated it to the city of Paris.

France built in 1763 its wheat market, on the banks of the Seine: two concentric galleries, open on the outside by twenty-four arcades, and surmounted by a vast vaulted attic. The building becomes the Bourse de Commerde of Paris or trade exchange in 1885. Before this date it was held at the Palais Brongniart (see post on it) . The ensemble was inaugurated on September 24, 1889. The city of Paris transferred ownership of the building to the Chamber of Commerce, for a symbolic French Franc in 1949.

Almost all of the monument is now occupied by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris which manages it and proposes, in particular, services to the creation of enterprises, the center of formality of companies and numerous proposals to support small businesses. Exhibitions are held regularly in the space under the dome.

However, in 2016, the businessman François Pinault and the Mayor of Paris announced the departure of the Chamber of Commerce and the installation and presentation of a part of the art collections of Mr Pinault, managed hitherto by what was presented as a Foundation Pinault, in the circular building.   The foundation intends to propose   a multidisciplinary programming, with numerous experiences at the crossroads of the visual arts, music, theatre, literature and cinema. The official end of the work is scheduled for December 17, 2018 and the opening to the public start 2019. More info here: Foundation Pinault

Brief Description of the Bourse de Commerce:

The monumental entrance opens with a portico, located to the west of the building facing the Rue du Colonel-Driant, summoned by a pediment carried by four fluted Corinthian columns, which surmount three allegorical figures, representing the city of Paris flanked by Abundance and Trade.   The interior is decorated with painted panels representing characters symbolizing the four cardinal points, and monumental frescoes evoking the history of trade between five parts of the World ,America, Russia and the North, Asia, and Africa as well as Europe.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Paris on the Bourse de Commerce

City of Paris on the Bourse de Commerce

Another wonderful building in my eternal Paris. Indeed hope you enjoy it.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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